Kelly Von Hemel, a longtime trainer on the Nebraska circuit, will be inducted into the Prairie Meadows Hall of Fame on Aug. 2.
Von Hemel’s father, Don, was inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame in 1991. Kelly’s older brother, Donnie, is a member of the Remington Park (Oklahoma City) Hall of Fame.
Kelly Von Hemel received his first trainer’s license in 1985 and served as an assistant to his father for five years before starting his own stable. He has earned nearly half of his 1,277 career victories at Prairie Meadows, located in suburban Des Moines.
Among Kelly’s 114 stakes winners are Sure Shot Biscuit, the first Iowa-bred Thoroughbred to surpass $1 million in career earnings. Another one of his notable trainees was Miss Macy Sue, winner of the 2007 Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
Race dates set for Columbus
The final stop on the Nebraska racing circuit is now squared away as the Platte County Agricultural Society will begin its live racing meet Aug. 2 in Columbus.
The dates were finalized at a recent meeting of the Nebraska Racing Commission. The added live race dates guarantee that the state’s tracks will be in compliance to simulcast through at least 2014.
The 16-day meet will be contested Fridays through Sundays, with the final race day on Labor Day (Sept. 2). First post Fridays and Saturdays will be 6:30 p.m., and first post Sundays and Labor Day will be 2 p.m.
Top jockeys at the track in 2012 were Luis Ranilla (32 wins), Jake Olesiak (30), Chris Fackler (24) and Jason Eads (23). Top trainers in 2012 were Omahan Chuck Turco (19 wins), Jim Compton (9) and Salvador Arceo (8).
Construction continues in Lincoln
In other business at the commission meeting, the five-member group received an update on the construction of a simulcast facility in Lincoln.
“Most of the exterior work is done,’’ commission chairman Dennis Lee said. “It sounds like everything is moving forward as scheduled.’’
Ground was broken on the 20,000-square foot facility located on Lincoln’s southwest edge in November. The facility must be finished by September, when an agreement runs out with the University of Nebraska to rent the old State Fair Park grandstands for simulcasting.
Lee said a plan is still in place to build a one-mile track, grandstand and barns on 90 acres adjacent to the simulcast facility.
Frazier reaches milestone
Jockey Don Frazier, a regular on the Nebraska racing circuit for many years, recently picked up career victory No. 2,000 at Colorado’s Arapahoe Park.
The 53-year-old rider piloted the 2-year-old Fast But Furious to a 4?½-length victory.
Frazier began his riding career in 1977 in Washington and has ridden in more than 20,000 races. He rode Cassa Rule to victory in the 1988 Good Life Stakes at Ak-Sar-Ben Racetrack in Omaha.
Another rider with Nebraska ties, Omaha native and Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln graduate Terry Thompson, picked up career win No. 3,000 last Sunday at Prairie Meadows.