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Remington Park: Alternation will try to get back on track

Alternation, the thoroughbred trained by Remington Park's Donnie Van Hemel, finished fifth in the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.
by Ed Godfrey Published: August 9, 2012

The buzz earlier this year was all about Alternation.

After finishing runner-up in the 2011 Oklahoma Derby by a head, the thoroughbred trained by Remington Park's Donnie Von Hemel reeled off four straight wins in Graded stakes races.

The 4-year-old's victories included the Grade 2 $400,000 Oaklawn Handicap in Arkansas and the Grade 3 $300,000 Pimlico Special in Maryland.

Alternation was ranked as the No. 1 older horse in North America by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association heading into the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Alternation finished fifth, losing to Ron the Greek, a horse Alternation had defeated at Oaklawn.

“A clunker,” Von Hemel said of the race. “Sometimes it just doesn't come together for you.”

Now with a chink in the armor, Alternation is no longer ranked at the top. However, the Kentucky bred gets his first shot at redemption since Churchill Downs in the $200,000 Governor's Cup Saturday night at Remington Park.

The thoroughbred racing season opens Friday night at Remington Park, and Saturday night's 1 1/8 mile Governor's Cup will be the track's top race of the meet for older horses (4-year-olds and up).

Alternation has won eight times in 14 career starts, but found his stride this year as a 4-year-old, winning his first four times. While some horses are at their best as 2- or 3-year-olds, Alternation has gotten faster with age.

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by Ed Godfrey
Copy Editor, Outdoors Editor, Rodeo, River Sports Reporter
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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