07/07/2003 11:00PM

Von Hemel barn strong


The maiden, allowance, and stakes races at Louisiana Downs will be deeper this meet because trainer Donnie Von Hemel will have an increased presence at the track. Last year, the trainer had just a dozen horses stabled in Bossier City, La. This year, he will have 40.

Von Hemel's stable is loaded with some of this region's best bred and most talented horses. Just a few of the stakes winners he has in training are Bien Nicole, who won the $50,000 Honeymoon opening weekend at Louisiana Downs, See How She Runs, Bedanken, and millionaire Mr. Ross.

Increased purses at Louisiana Downs, as well as a restructured dates calendar this year at his hometrack of Remington Park, has led Von Hemel to bring more horses to Bossier City.

He will, however, still have a division at Remington, where he has won 11 training titles. Von Hemel also has horses at Lone Star Park, which will close Sunday.

"Last year we had more horses at Remington, whereas this year, we'll probably have more in Louisiana," Von Hemel said.

Remington will conduct a mixed meet for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses the first time this year, and during that July 25 to Aug. 17 period, Von Hemel is concerned certain races won't fill for some of the horses he has in training. Following the mixed meet, there will be 57 dates of straight Thoroughbred racing. Last year, there were 71 such dates.

Bien Nicole will ship to Arlington Park this week to prepare for the Grade 3, $150,000 Modesty Handicap on turf there July 26. In other stakes action, See How She Runs may run Friday in the $125,000 Iowa Distaff at Prairie Meadows, while Sira is being pointed for the $50,000 Suthern Accent at Louisiana Downs Saturday.

As for Bedanken, she has been galloping for the past 30 days and was due to return to Von Hemel's barn this week to prepare for a fall campaign. A winner of 7 of 10 starts, she captured the $50,000 DeBartolo Oaks last year at Louisiana Downs before going on to win the Grade 3 Valley View.

Up until last year, Von Hemel had not stabled at Louisiana Downs since the late 1980's.

Lots of options for 'Kid'

Storybook Kid, who over the past few months has established himself as one of the top turf horses in this region, could make his next start in one of two stakes races after winning the $75,000 Independence at Louisiana Downs Friday.

Don Simington rode Storybook Kid, and also won the $50,000 Airline at the track Saturday with Watchem Smokey. The Independence was the first stakes win for Storybook Kid.

"I thought his race was super," said Patrick Mouton, who trains Storybook Kid. "With the slow fractions we had, I was concerned if we were going to get up. But Donnie rode a terrific race."

Mouton and owner Stan Seelig have not decided on the next race for Storybook Kid, but they are considering a number of options. Their main goal for the horse is the $100,000 Louisiana Downs Handicap Sept. 21.

But first could come the Grade 3, $250,000 Arlington Handicap July 26, or the Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial Breeders' Cup at Remington Sept. 1.

Before the Independence, Storybook Kid won an optional claiming race and an allowance race at Lone Star and also finished third in the track's $250,000 Dallas Turf Cup.

Meche arrives, mount in feature

Lonnie Meche, who just completed the Churchill Downs meet, is named to ride two horses at Louisiana Downs Thursday, including On the Border in the featured 10th race. The 7 1/2-furlong turf allowance race for 3-year-olds should produce starters for the $50,000 Bossier City Handicap July 26.

Monsieur Boulanger could be a slight favorite in the field of seven. He has been racing in high-priced claimers at Hollywood Park and will make his first start for trainer Cole Norman, who has gone 9 for 15 during the first seven days of racing at Louisiana Downs.

Another interesting entrant is Lota Prince, who makes his turf debut after winning his last three starts at Evangeline Downs, including a $35,000 statebred stakes race.

Meche's other mount on the card is in the eighth race aboard Bishops Tree.

* Trainer Dallas Keen said Gato Gato Gato, who in his last two starts has won a maiden race and an entry-level allowance race on turf at Lone Star, is being pointed for the Grade 2, $250,000 American Derby at Arlington Park July 20.

* Gold Storm, winner of his debut in one of the fastest 5 1/2-furlong races of the season at Lone Star, and High Strike Zone, who finished third last out in the co-fastest six furlong race of the meet, head a field of seven in the featured eighth Thursday night at Lone Star.