06/18/2007 11:00PM

Von Hemel sending Texas invaders

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Trainer Donnie Von Hemel will have leading contenders in each of the three turf stakes to be run at Louisiana Downs on Saturday. The races are part of a four-stakes card. Von Hemel's horses will be invading from Texas.

"At this time, we'll have Waupaca, Slew by Slew, and D Fine Okie," Von Hemel said Tuesday.

Waupaca could rule as a slight favorite over defending champ and 120-pound highweight Northern Scene in the $50,000 Barksdale Handicap. The one-mile turf race is for 3-year-olds and up. Waupaca last ran on May 28, finishing third by a length in the Grade 3, $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup at Lone Star Park. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 94, the highest last-race number among the early probables for the Barksdale.

A number of horses were considered firm for the race as of last weekend by Louisiana Downs racing secretary Doug Bredar. He said he is looking for the Bill Mott-trained Desert Wheat to start. Others he considers probable are Erroneous I.D., Evening Reward, and Sir Rabbit. Bredar is also expecting either Middleweight or Westmoreland for trainer Al Stall Jr., and Alpha Capo and/or Electric Chant for trainer Cecil Borel.

Dreamsandvisions has joined the lineup, according to his trainer, Steven Duke. He shipped Dreamsandvisions from Louisiana Downs to Lone Star for last Saturday's $50,000 Carter McGregor for Texas-breds, but after a severe rainstorm left the track sloppy, he scratched the horse.

"I'm definitely going to run him in the Barksdale, unless the weather is bad," said Duke.

Dreamsandvisions was the runner-up in last year's Barksdale.

D Fine Okie in River Cities

D Fine Okie will represent Von Hemel in the $50,000 River Cities. The one-mile turf race is for fillies and mares. D Fine Okie last raced on May 28, running a close fourth in the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board at Lone Star.

Carolina Sky passed on that race and was a go for the River Cities as of Tuesday, said her trainer, Morris Nicks. She should be a slight favorite over D Fine Okie on the strength of her win last out in the $60,000 Irving Distaff at Lone Star.

Nicks said Donnie Meche has the mount on Carolina Sky, who is the defending champ in the River Cities.

Bredar said others considered probable are Boundus, Comalagold, Elliecat, Hart's Sunset, I B's Halo, Intractabie, Manage, and Prospector's Spirit. Also set to run is My Three Sisters. She was second by a neck in the Irving and figures again to make a stretch bid against Carolina Sky.

"She lays off of it," trainer Steve Asmussen said of My Three Sisters. "She's a good, solid mare."

Slew by Slew in Seeking the Gold

The Von Hemel-trained Slew by Slew will start in the $50,000 Seeking the Gold, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds. He could be the lone starter with a stakes win on turf. Others that Bredar considers early probables are Cajun Conquest, Capote's Diamond, and either Paulson or Point Gold from trainer Tony Richey. Asmussen said Western Prize is possible, while Bredar said another possible is the Ronny Werner-trained Tactical Joe.

Nicks nominated the undefeated Don's Boy. He said on Tuesday that the horse was possible for the Seeking the Gold, but that another option for Don's Boy's stakes debut is the Grade 2, $300,000 Carry Back at Calder on July 7. Don's Boy won his maiden by 16 1/4 lengths last fall, then came back and won an allowance against older horses here May 26 in his second career start.

Calhoun sending Express News

Express News will invade from Lone Star to take on probable favorite Venomous in the $50,000 Temperence Hill. The six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up is the lone dirt stakes on the card. Express News won a six-furlong allowance in a sharp 1:09.20 in April, and last out was a troubled fourth in the $50,000 Ford Express on May 19. He is trained by Bret Calhoun, who said John Jacinto has the mount in the Temperence Hill. Others expected include Zarb's Dahar, Santana Strings, and Wheaton Home.

An all-stakes pick four is scheduled for Saturday.

* The improving Heart Appeal will start as a top contender in Thursday's featured ninth race, a $35,000 optional claimer at six furlongs. Kirk LeBlanc has the mount for trainer Tom Howard.