05/29/2007 11:00PM

Von Hemel gets a graded win


It was a Memorial Day weekend that trainer Kelly Von Hemel won't soon forget. Not only did he sweep both Iowa-bred stakes races at Prairie Meadows, with Irish Party taking the Bob Bryant and Crimson King Cat winning the Gray's Lake, but Von Hemel got his first graded stakes win when Miss Macy Sue captured the Grade 3, $110,000 Winning Colors at Churchill Downs.

"We've been close a couple of times before, but it sure feels good to finally get one," said Von Hemel. "We've had success at some other tracks outside of Iowa in the past couple of years, like Oaklawn, Remington, and Hawthorne, so I guess it's just kind of a process you go through. The owners have stepped up in breeding and buying better horses, and I think we can win a few more down the road."

In the 7 stakes races run at Prairie Meadows this meet, Von Hemel has won 5, with 3 seconds.

* If Moonum Zach asks for a little time off, no one can really blame him. Owned by Maggi Moss and trained by Dick Clark, Moonum Zach ran third in Saturday's seventh race, an Iowa-bred allowance race at six furlongs. Then, he came right back to win Monday's ninth race, an optional claiming race, less than 48 hours later. Moonum Zach picked up $17,518 for his hard work in the two races.

* On Saturday night, Prairie Meadows will host its 2007 qualifying tournament for the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship. The top three finishers will receive round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations to the national finals in Las Vegas in January.

* Jockey Alex Birzer had a big day Sunday, winning four races. None of his winning mounts was favored, and his fourth winner of the day, Diana's D.D., paid $20 and keyed the meets largest trifecta, $9,499.20.