03/20/2013 5:10PM

Turfway Park notes: Bourbonette Oaks draws full field

Shigeki Kikkawa
Pure Fun, winner of the Hollywood Starlet, has not raced since last fall.

The Spiral Stakes will be accompanied by two other stakes on Turfway Park's Saturday card – the Grade 3, $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks and the $75,000 Team Valor Rushaway Stakes.

Like the Spiral, the Bourbonette got a full field of 12, with Pure Fun making her 3-year-old debut as the 8-5 morning-line choice. Pure Fun, winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet in her most recent start Dec. 8, will be ridden by Garrett Gomez when breaking from post 5.

The one-mile Bourbonette is worth 50 points to the winner toward Kentucky Oaks eligibility. It directly precedes the Spiral as the ninth race.

Among the favorites for the 1 1/16-mile Rushaway (race 8) are two colts who were excluded from the Spiral: Cerro and Crop Report, both owned by the new race sponsor, Team Valor International, and trained by Graham Motion. Others who failed to make the Spiral and went instead in the Rushaway are Red Wings and Divine Ambition.

[SPIRAL STAKES: Get Turfway past performances, watch video previews]

Team Valor and Motion won the last two runnings of the Spiral with Animal Kingdom (2011) and Went the Day Well (2012). Animal Kingdom went on to win the Kentucky Derby.

Von Hemel bringing troops to Churchill

Donnie K. Von Hemel might well be the most notable returnee to the Kentucky circuit this spring, bringing about “30 or 40” horses to Churchill for the spring meet, the trainer said this week from Oaklawn Park.

“I had horses there in Kentucky a few years back,” he said. “But never to this extent. We’re eager to see how we fit in. After the Churchill meet, we’ll probably do what the other stables do, maybe run some at Ellis Park and Indiana Downs. Then we’ll head back to Oklahoma sometime in August for Remington.”

Von Hemel, 51, has used Arlington as his main summer base for years.

** Alan Garcia will be among the many accomplished jockeys coming in to ride at Keeneland and through Kentucky Derby week at Churchill. He intends to stick around afterward.

“He’s moving to Kentucky,” agent Steve Bass said. “We’ll do Saratoga in July and August, then Churchill and Keeneland through the end of November.”

For the first time, Churchill will have a 16-day September meet, displacing Turfway for those dates.
Garcia, 27, has won more than 1,300 races since coming from his native Peru to ride in the United States in 2003. He will be in from Gulfstream to ride Taken by the Storm in the Spiral.

*  Although spring officially arrived Wednesday, the weather has remained winter-like in this region. The forecast for Saturday in the greater Cincinnati area calls for cloudy skies and a high temperature of just 48.