10/26/2011 3:03PM

Remington Park: Now I Know tries to stay perfect in Lassie


An investment trainer Don Von Hemel made back in 2006 could reach a pinnacle Friday night if Now I Know wins her stakes debut during the Oklahoma Classics program at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. She will be seeking to remain undefeated in four starts in the $90,000 Lassie, which is one of the night’s eight restricted stakes worth a combined $1 million.

All of the Classics races are for horses bred in Oklahoma. The program is topped by the $175,000 Classic, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up that drew defending champ J J’s Indy. She’s All In is the marquee name in the corresponding race for females, the $130,000 Distaff.

Now I Know is one of the flashiest entrants on the program, with a 3-for-3 record. All of her success has come at Remington Park, but her story started long before she won a maiden special weight race at the track on Aug. 24. Back in 2006, Von Hemel had purchased Now I Know’s dam, Now U Know, for $20,000 at Fasig-Tipton in Kentucky.

“I bought that mare as a yearling, and she fractured a hind seismoid at Arlington Park as a 2-year-old and never started,” Von Hemel said. “So, she was unraced.

“She was a beautiful filly when we bought her, and she was by Maria’s Mon out of a Pine Bluff mare – the breeding was what we liked.”

Von Hemel and Wayne Stockseth, who bought into Now U Know, decided to keep the gray filly for breeding purposes, and her first foal – also a gray – has been a hit. Now I Know, who is by Pure Prize, has won her three starts by a combined eight lengths. She defeated open company in a first-level allowance Sept. 14 and will come into the Lassie off a cruising, three-length allowance score Oct. 12. Now I Know covered the six furlongs for statebreds in a sharp 1:10.40, while winning in hand under regular rider Perry Compton.

“She stumbled leaving the gate and still made the lead,” Von Hemel said. “I told Perry not to ride any harder than he had to. We knew this race was coming up shortly, and everything worked out real good.”

Now I Know will break from post 2 in the field of 12. Her chief rivals include stakes winner Soonerette, who is returning to dirt after setting the pace over yielding turf last out in the Grade 3 Jessamine at Keeneland.

WATCH LIVE VIDEO: Oklahoma Classics program at Remington Park

J J’s Indy back on dirt for Classic

J J’s Indy had a productive summer on turf with two allowance wins, but on Friday he will be returning to his winningest surface – dirt – for the Classic. He was 1 1/2-length winner of the race in 2010, when he wired the field. But this year, J J’s Indy will be taking on some new faces and could get a stalking trip behind Fifth Date, Evansville Storm, and Ninilchik.

Luis Quinonez has the mount for Marvin Wooldridge and trainer Brent Charlton.

She’s All In defends title in Distaff

She’s All In is back to defend her title in the Distaff, which will be run at one mile and 70 yards. She was an 11-length winner of the race a year ago and comes into the 2011 edition off back-to-back wins. She’s All In won the $100,000 River Cities at Louisiana Downs in September, then rolled to a three-length win in an allowance prep for the Distaff on Oct. 8. Glen Murphy has the return call for Robert Zoellner and trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

◗ Strategic Leader will be seeking his fourth win in the $130,000 Turf. The field of nine includes Motion Approved, a 10-year-old seeking his second stakes win this year behind the $50,000 Red Earth at Remington in August.

◗ Gleaming is a leading contender in the $130,000 Distaff Sprint, a six-furlong race that drew eight fillies and mares without Shotgun Gulch, the Grade 1-winning Oklahoma-bred who has been pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

◗ Ted’s Folly will be seeking his fourth straight win when he starts in the $90,000 Juvenile.

◗ Miranda Diane, a multiple sprint stakes winner who romped by nine lengths in a rare two-turn appearance last out at Remington, will be seeking her first win on the grass in the $130,000 Distaff Turf. The field includes defending champ Skedee.

◗ Okie Ride, winner of four of his last five starts, meets defending champ Specialfite in the $130,000 Sprint.