06/26/2008 11:00PM

Surgeon turned trainer aims for stakes


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Kamal Sheena is a general surgeon who went on sabbatical to write a book back in 2000. He ended up training racehorses, and is in the midst of a productive meet at Lone Star Park. Sheena has a four-horse stable led by Gold Wonder, the winner of a high-class allowance in his most recent start who will run next in one of two upcoming turf stakes at Lone Star.

Sheena, 71, said he has just finished writing his book, which he described as a book about medicine that is also an autobiography. He began training horses in 2000, but is not new to racing.

"I've always had horses, and had somebody else train them for me in New York before Texas had racing here," said Sheena.

Sheena owns all of the horses in his stable, and said he likes the challenge of training them.

"But it's not only the challenge," he said. "When you see a horse come down the stretch and go past the finish line, it's very exciting. If I didn't like it so much, I would go back to medicine. And I love medicine and I miss it."

Sheena, who teaches at Baylor College of Medicine in his hometown of Houston when he is racing at Sam Houston Race Park, sent out Gold Wonder to a sharp one-mile allowance win here June 15. The horse was prominent throughout to win by 2 3/4 lengths over multiple stakes winner Waupaca. Gold Wonder covered the mile in 1:34.60, and earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 88.

One start earlier, Gold Wonder had finished second in a five-furlong turf allowance at Lone Star. Sheena said the horse will run next in either the $50,000 Lone Star Park Turf Sprint at five furlongs on July 5, or the $50,000 Bob Johnson Memorial at a mile on turf on July 19.

I think he's a good turf horse; seven and a half or a mile is his best," Sheena said. "But when he ran five furlongs, he had the 10 post position, which was not good, and he ran second and he was coming on."

Fearless Anthony, who beat Gold Wonder that afternoon, could go favored in the Lone Star Turf Sprint.

Gold Wonder has been a versatile horse, winning at both one and two turns on dirt and capturing the $45,000 Chick Lang Jr. Memorial Stakes at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf at Retama Park last September. Sheena purchased Gold Wonder, a 4-year-old son of Golden Missile, during the 2-year-olds in training sale at Fasig-Tipton Texas in 2006.

"As soon as I saw him, I just fell in love in him," he said. "I bought him for $30,000. He has been very good."

Gold Wonder has compiled a 5-for-17 record and earned $101,990.

Southern Ransom tries again

Southern Ransom, who was second as the favorite in a $35,000 optional claiming turf race for fillies and mares in her last start, returns at the same level Sunday in the featured seventh race at Lone Star. To be run at a mile, the optional claimer drew a field of nine.

Southern Ransom rallied from next-to-last to finish second in her last start, 4 1/2 lengths behind wire-to-wire winner Song Cat. The 1 1/16-mile turf race went in a quick 1:41. Queen La Bella, who finished fourth, has since come back to win a $30,000 optional claimer on turf at Louisiana Downs with a Beyer Figure of 81.

Southern Ransom earned an 80 for her effort, which came against a number of the same rivals she will face Sunday. She drew well in post 4, and trainer Bret Calhoun has given the mount to leading rider Cliff Berry.