08/27/2012 2:33PM

Remington Park: Billy Two Hats returning to turf


Billy Two Hats zipped five furlongs on turf in a blazing 55.40 seconds when last seen at Remington Park. That was just over a year ago, and on Wednesday night he returns to the Oklahoma City track to make his second start on the grass, in a turf sprint allowance worth $40,000.

The card is the first of five during an extended Labor Day raceweek that runs to Saturday night, breaks on Sunday and resumes Monday with a special afternoon card that starts at 1:30 p.m. Central.

Billy Two Hats is part of a 10-horse field in Wednesday night’s seventh race. She Digs Me, winner of the Grade 3 Sapling at Monmouth in 2011, will be making his turf debut, while Pure Tactics, who is 3 for 3 in turf sprints, invades from Louisiana Downs to start as the probable favorite for trainer Morris Nicks.

Billy Two Hats had turned in some strong efforts on dirt before making his turf debut last August at Remington. He won by a length after taking the lead through a half-mile in 43.80 seconds. Billy Two Hats, who is by Aragorn, a multiple Grade 1 winner on turf, equaled his best Beyer Speed Figure, an 85.

“I think that was probably the best race of his career,” said Kelly Von Hemel, who trains Billy Two Hats for Thunderhead Farms. “We’re excited to get him back on turf. We finally got that opportunity, and we’re pretty excited to see him run Wednesday.”

Billy Two Hats enters off a fifth-place finish in the $60,000 Prairie Express in the slop at Prairie Meadows on May 25. Before that race, he won a $100,000 optional claiming allowance at Arlington Park on May 4, and was second to Grade 3 winner Riley Tucker in a $62,500 optional claiming race at Oaklawn on April 12.

“The mud race was a fiasco,” Von Hemel said of the Prairie Express. “He didn’t handle the track.”

Billy Two Hats shows some strong works for Wednesday night, when he breaks from post 9 under Alex Birzer. Von Hemel looks for the horse to be stalking the pace, then “making a good run at them.”

Pure Tactics, whose lone loss in four starts came in the $75,000 Black Gold at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf at Fair Grounds in March, comes off a five-length turf sprint allowance win at Louisiana Downs, for which he earned a Beyer Figure of 95.

Trainer Steve Asmussen sends out She Digs Me and Light Up the Score. She Digs Me is by Henny Hughes, who gets 13 percent debut turf winners, and out of Stage Stop, who was a stakes winner on the grass. Light Up the Score, meanwhile, last raced at Santa Anita in January and was fourth in an allowance won by Capital Account, who on Sunday captured the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien at Del Mar.

◗ Remington canceled the last two races on its card Saturday night because of severe thunderstorms in Oklahoma City.