Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel won the 2,000th race of his career on the evening of Aug. 9 with favored Storm Rush in the fifth race at Indiana Grand Race Course.
Jockey Malcolm Franklin delivered the milestone victory for Von Hemel in the first-level allowance race. Mueller Thoroughbred Stable's Storm Rush, a 3-year-old daughter of Stormy Atlantic , pressed the pace and took over past midstretch as the 9-5 choice. She captured the mile-and-70-yard heat by 1 3/4 lengths in a time of 1:43.85 on a fast track.
Von Hemel, 52, a native of Manter, Kan., is a regular on the Southwest and Midwest racing circuits, concentrating primarily on Oaklawn Park, Remington Park (where he is the all-time leading trainer), and Arlington International Racecourse. He and his wife, Robin, and daughter Tess reside in Piedmont, Okla.
Von Hemel, who began his career in 1984, is the son of longtime Midwestern trainer Don Von Hemel. His brother Kelly is also a trainer.
He has enjoyed victory at the Breeders' Cup, winning with Caleb's Posse in the 2011 Dirt Mile (gr. I). Caleb's Posse also captured the Foxwoods King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) that year. Other grade I winners for Von Hemel are See How She Runs in the 2002 Selene Stakes (Can-I), and Clever Trevor in the 1989 Arlington Classic.
Von Hemel has 34 graded stakes wins to his credit. Some of his other well-known graded winners are Alternation , Going Ballistic, Bedanken, Bien Nicole, Mr. Ross, and Evansville Slew. The trainer also conditioned multiple graded stakes winner Mariah's Storm, best known as the dam of European champion rand prominent sire Giant's Causeway .
According to Equibase, Von Hemel has had 10,244 career starters with total purse earnings of $49,918,534. In addition to his victories, he has 1,609 seconds and 1,473 thirds. So far in 2014, he has won with 23 of 153 starters.
He won a career-best 104 races (from 404 starts) in 1994, and his best season in terms of purse earnings came in 2011 with $2,820,675.