02/13/2002 12:00AM

Pin Oak won't be sending two fillies head to head


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Bedanken, winner of the Dixie Belle Stakes on opening day at Oaklawn Park, will skip the track's Martha Washington on Monday and point instead for the $75,000 Honeybee on March 9 to avoid a conflict with Gilded Wings, who will run in the Martha Washington. Both 3-year-old fillies race for Pin Oak Stable.

"They don't want to run against themselves, and I don't blame them," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Bedanken. "We won't mind the extra time getting ready for the Honeybee."

Gilded Wings could go favored in the Martha Washington, a six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies that had five probable starters as of Wednesday. Trained by Steve Asmussen, she has won two of three career races, and is perfect in two starts at six furlongs, a distance over which she won her maiden as a 2-year-old at Churchill Downs in a rapid 1:08.99.

Bedanken has won her last three starts by a combined nine lengths, and for the Honeybee will stretch out around two turns for the first time. "I think she sure has the bloodlines for it," said Von Hemel. Bedanken is by Geri, and out of the Strawberry Road mare Danka.

Others probable for the Martha Washington are For Rubies, Flying Gal, French Lass, and Gotta Jiboo.

Chorwon to go in Connally for new barn

The venerable Chorwon, who has not raced since finishing sixth to Fantastic Light in the Breeders' Cup Turf last October, will make his 8-year-old debut Feb. 23 in the $200,000 Connally Breeders' Turf at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston. He won the race in 1998 and 1999.

The Connally will be Chorwon's first start for trainer Tom Amoss after having been trained his entire career by Hal Wiggins. Under the direction of Wiggins, Chorwon won 13 of 42 starts and $1.1 million. The horse has changed barns in the last month, and the move marks a new direction for the stable of Mrs. Thomas C. Mueller following the death of her husband, who bred and raced Chorwon.

"Hal did a great job, and is a wonderful man. We just made a change," said Mark Basinger, who is Mrs. Mueller's son and who manages her stable from his offices in Fort Smith, Ark.

Basinger said the Connally was chosen for Chorwon's comeback because of the success the horse has had at Sam Houston. When he won the Connally there in 1999, he set a course record for 1 1/8 miles that still stands, covering the distance in 1:47.65.

"He has been working strong, so it will be interesting to see what he does," said Basinger, who added that Chorwon's dam, Nomo Robbery, was to be bred to Cozzene on Thursday. The resulting foal will be a full sibling to Chorwon.

Others probable for the Connally, which will be the richest race in the country Feb. 23, are defending champ Candid Glen; Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap winner Mystery Giver; Grade 1 winner Vergennes; $300,000 Dallas Turf Cup winner El Gran Papa; two-time stakes winner Royal Spy; and Orleans Road.

Mr Ross, who passed the $1 million mark in earnings at Sam Houston in January when he won the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup, is under consideration for the race. Von Hemel, who trains the horse, said he is also looking at the $75,000 Essex at Oaklawn on Feb. 23, and the $500,000 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds on March 3.

* A well-matched field of eight fillies and mares will go six furlongs in the Friday feature at Oaklawn, an allowance worth $31,000. The fast Cinderella Story, to be ridden by leading rider James Lopez, and Lady Virginia, a three-time winner over the strip, will start as an entry for trainer Cole Norman. The race has also drawn two-turn stakes winners Rodeo Fan and Darlin Dixie.

* Anthony Lovato, who sustained bruises when he was kicked by a horse last Sunday at Oaklawn, took off his mounts Wednesday, and was not named to ride any horses for Friday.

* Balkan, winner of the $50,000 Groovy on Texas Champions Day, headlines the featured allowance race Friday night at Sam Houston.

* Oaklawn will expand its simulcasting hours Friday and begin taking nighttime signals.