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Younger Von Hemel sits early after horse’s positive test

by Bob Wisener | December 3, 2022 at 4:01 a.m.
Trainer Kelly Von Hemel, left, is all smiles talking with jockey Tim Doocy after they won with Semaphore Man in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap on April 10, 2008, at Oaklawn. - File photo by The Sentinel-Record

Trainer Kelly Von Hemel will be suspended the first 15 days of the Oaklawn season for his first backstretch violation in years and which he regards as "nothing intentional."

A local anesthetic lingered in the system of 3-year-old gelding Miniconjou and appeared in a post-race test after the horse's May 6 victory at Oaklawn. Reported by Industrial Laboratories May 26 and confirmed by a test of the split sample, it resulted in a $500 fine for Von Hemel and a 15-day suspension. It will be effective Dec. 9 through Dec. 23, Von Hemel waiving his right to a hearing after split-sample results and saying he is accepting the penalty.

"Basically, the horse cut his head, and we stitched him up," the trainer told in a story that appeared Friday. "We waited seven days to enter him, and every vet we talked to said that should be OK. There was nothing intentional."

This is Von Hemel's first medication violation since October 2016 at Prairie Meadows in Iowa. He is a son of past Oaklawn training champion Don Von Hemel and a brother to trainer Donnie Von Hemel. A prominent trainer in Iowa, Kelly has trained such Oaklawn standouts as Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap winner Semaphore Man.

Mott's crew: Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said he will have five stalls at the Oaklawn meeting to begin Friday.

His son, Riley, is scheduled to have a 25-horse string at the track after going out on his own last month following nearly eight years working for his father. Their horses are to be housed in the Sunny's Halo barn.

"I think having him here and having stalls here will make it easy for me," Bill Mott said while at Oaklawn last week to spend Thanksgiving weekend with his son. "He can help me out a little bit, if I ship something in."

Former assistant to the late Hall of Famer Jack Van Berg, Bill Mott took the 1986 Oaklawn trainer championship with 35 victories. His past horses include two-time Horse of the Year Cigar, the Grade 2 1995 Oaklawn Handicap winner, and Country House, declared the 2019 Kentucky Derby winner through a rival's disqualification after placing third in the Arkansas Derby.

Mott and his son have horses for North Little Rock owner-breeder Frank Fletcher, whose Bill Mott-trained female sprinter Frank's Rockette won the 2021 American Beauty at Oaklawn.

The elder Mott trains recent Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Cody's Wish for Godolphin Stables. The horse is named for Cody Dorman, now 16, who was born with a rare genetic disorder and is unable to walk or communicate without using a tablet. After the horse's BC Dirt Mile win in November at Keeneland, the Turf Publicists of America named Cody Dorman the 2022 Big Sport of Turfdom Award winner.

Dorman met the unnamed foal by champion Curlin when Godolphin hosted Cody and his family on Make-A-Wish Day at Keeneland in 2018.

Print Headline: Younger Von Hemel sits early after horse’s positive test


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