05/28/2010 11:00PM

Von Hemel doubles his chances in two stakes


ALTOONA, Iowa - Trainer Kelly Von Hemel, who has won the Gray's Lake and Bob Bryant stakes for Iowa-breds a combined eight times since 2003, will look to continue his success when he sends out two horses apiece in the pair of $60,000, six-furlong sprints on Monday's card at Prairie Meadows.

"We've had some good luck in those over the years," Von Hemel said.

Launch Light and Monroe Wild Cat give Von Hemel two of the five entrants in the Gray's Lake for 3-year-olds (race 7). Launch Light, the winner of last year's Iowa Cradle, has yet to win in 2010. Monroe Wild Cat was an impressive maiden winner in his last race.

Monroe Wild Cat's improved performance seems attributable to the addition of blinkers, a move recommended by jockey Terry Thompson.

"Putting the blinkers on was all Terry down at Oaklawn," Von Hemel said. "He'd get to gawking around, drifting around. You'd have to just steer him rather than ride him."

Von Hemel's runners will challenge the Lynn Chleborad-trained Cainam, who is 2 for 2 at the meet, winning both races by clear margins.

In the Bob Bryant for 3-year-old fillies (race 8), Von Hemel will saddle That'll Be the Day and Frontier Fantasy, each coming off a maiden win. Von Hemel said he thought that both of his horses have a good shot in a field of seven evenly matched fillies.

"Both have been training well, and Frontier ran really well the other day," Von Hemel said.

Frontier Fantasy made an impressive closing rush going 5 1/2 furlongs over a sloppy track on April 26. She is a half-sibling to 2006 Bob Bryant winner Seekingthereinbow.

Von Hemel's other entrant, That'll Be The Day, won her maiden at a mile and is turning back to a sprint.

"Her best lick is going a route, but with the wide-open field we had to take a shot," Von Hemel said.

She's Better Loud and Brenda's Slew, both trained by Michael Natale, are the only two fillies in the Bryant to have won a race other than a maiden.