03/05/2004 12:00AM

Von Hemel loaded for Spring Fever


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The road to the winner's circle in the $50,000 Spring Fever Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Sunday could go through trainer Donnie Von Hemel. He will start See How She Runs, who scratched from a Friday allowance in favor of the 5 1/2-furlong race, and Surf N Sand, who will add blinkers.

Others in the six-horse field include Eternal Cup, who in her last start won the $50,000 American Beauty, and Emily Ring, a multiple-stakes-winning earner of $360,625.

See How She Runs, who won the Grade 2 Fantasy at Oaklawn in 2002, is returning from a seven-month layoff. She cuts back to a sprint distance, and in one of her sharpest works for her return drilled four furlongs in 47.80 seconds on Feb. 24.

"I've been very happy with her last few works," said Von Hemel, who trains See How She Runs for Pin Oak Stable.

See How She Runs last raced July 11, when she finished third in the $125,000 Iowa Distaff Breeders' Cup. Before that race, she won back-to-back sprint stakes, the $100,000 Valid Expectations at Lone Star Park and the $100,000 Saylorville at Prairie Meadows.

Don Pettinger has the mount Sunday.

Leading rider John McKee will be aboard Surf N Sand, who in her last start finished fourth after setting the pace in the American Beauty on Feb. 7.

"She may be better on a real tight track, and it wasn't that way here that day," said Von Hemel, who trains Surf N Sand for Charles Heider Jr.

The American Beauty was Surf N Sand's stakes debut after winning five straight races. She figures to be prominent from her rail post.

An honest pace in the Spring Fever would seem suit Eternal Cup, who rallied for a 1 3/4-length win in the American Beauty under Terry Thompson.

"She's fast, but she settled nicely for Terry last time," said Steve Asmussen, who has given the return call to Thompson.

Asmussen said Eternal Cup is at her best when she does settle. She has won 4 of 11 starts.

Emily Ring is also capable in the Spring Fever. In her last start, she was overtaken late by a quality closer in a six-furlong allowance Feb. 19.

Emily Ring, who will be ridden by Willie Martinez, shows a sharp four-furlong work since that race.

The field for the Spring Fever is completed by Gigi's Skyflyer, who cuts back to one turn on the heels of a front-running effort last out in an allowance, and Jenny's Prospector, who worked a bullet four furlongs in 47.80 seconds Feb. 29.