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Carmel Heitmann Completes Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Carmel Heitzmann, once a flight attendant for Emirates Airlines but in more recent times the stable foreman for her trainer-husband Eric Heitzmann at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, successfully completed a journey on foot around the Crescent City last Sunday by finishing the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in four hours and 32 minutes.

Later in the afternoon, Mrs. Heitzmann showed up for her day job in time to lead Southern Equine Stables’ Elle Atlantic – trained by her husband – over to the paddock for the sixth race of the day. Adorned with awards attained from her morning run, she accepted congratulations and cheers from her host of admirers who were aware of her self-imposed but selfless morning assignment.

It was a selfless journey because some weeks ago the British-born but Irish-raised horsewoman had announced that any pledges received on behalf of her marathon run would be donated to Remember Me Rescue, a non-profit horse rescue organization run by her friends Donna and Dallas Keen that assists retired and injured racehorses after their careers at the track are over.

The Keens were central to the rescue of a number of starving horses from a farm in northern Louisiana in January, and Remember Me Rescue maintains a specific area on its website at www.TeamKeen.com that allows horse lovers to donate toward Heitzmann’s marathon.

What makes her successful marathon most unusual is that Heitzmann was severely injured when kicked by a horse in front of the Fair Grounds stands just over a year ago, and for the first critical hours and days after her accident Heitzmann’s life was considered to be in jeopardy. However, following exploratory surgery that led to the removal of 24 inches of her colon, she was released from the hospital 10 days later.

During training hours Wednesday morning at Fair Grounds, Heitzmann reflected on her intense Sunday morning tour of New Orleeans.

“I feel good today,” she said. “I’m still a little tired, and I was sore yesterday, but today I’m fine. The worst part of the run for me was at mile 21. At that point I was starting to get a little discouraged, but then Eric was there to greet me at mile 22 and handed me some Gatorade. That really picked my spirits up and after that I felt just fine the rest of the way.”

Although the final totals of Heitzmann’s charitable marathon run are still incomplete, she was able to update.

“So far, I have personally been able to account for pledges of more than $7,500,” she said Wednesday, “and I believe Donna told me that she has about $1,000 that has come through Remember Me Rescue’s website at this time. However, my parents are going to be visiting me here in New Orleans in the next few days, and I believe they are going to bring me some more contributions from England and Ireland.

“I’m just so grateful to everybody that has been supporting me throughout this,” she concluded. “I want to thank everyone and let them know that I might come back in next year’s marathon, be able to train a little harder for it than I could this year and hopefully come home in an even better time.”

SUMMER APPLAUSE HAS HOST OF OWNERS CHEERING HER ACCOMPLISHMENTS – When the filly Summer Applause made her first start here in New Orleans this winter on New Year’s Eve she was owned by her breeder Greenwood Lodge Farm, but when she won the Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes here Feb. 25 and finished second in the $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes Jan. 21 she had an ownership group consisting of Gillian Campbell, Greenwood Lodge Farm and R Group Management.

Mark Cornett, racing manager for USA Thoroughbred Racing Management and the man who put the new ownership group together, explained how Summer Applause’s new ownership came about.

“Basically, I try to put new owners wanting to get into the racing business and our current clients and partners together with horses we think show the promise of profitable returns,” Cornett said.

Gillian Campbell is an English lady who now divides her time between London, England, and Naples, Florida,” he said. “She’s been in racing about a year and she’s already had the Grade I winner Killer Graces (2011 Grade I Hollywood Starlet) with partners and now a Grade III winner with partners (Summer Applause in the 2012 Rachel Alexandra). There are not too many owners that can boast of a record like that.

“Greenwood Lodge Farm (the breeders) kept a percentage of Summer Applause after the sale,” Cornett concluded, and R Group Management is a small of group of guys from Ohio that want to maintain a low profile as horse owners. That’s why they came up with the title of R Group Management.”

FAIR GROUNDS’ MONDAY, TUESDAY WORK TABS FEATURED STAKES STARS – Reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, owned by Fox Hill Farms, worked six furlongs Monday at Fair Grounds in 1:11.40 in anticipation of her upcoming start in the $150,000 New Orleans Ladies here on March 17.

However, also on Monday’s tab in possible or probable upcoming stakes starts at Fair Grounds were Zayat Stables’ Nehro, who went a half-mile in 51.40 in advance of the Grade II New Orleans Handicap April 1; Zayat Stables’ Z Dager, who went the same distance in 52.20 to prepare for the $1 million Louisiana Derby on that same closing day of the current Fair Grounds season; and Jerry Namy’s Shared Property, who went the four furlongs in 48.60 in probable preparation for the Grade II Louisiana Derby.

Also on Monday, David Randal’s Capetown Devil went a half-mile in 49 flat in advance of Saturday’s $75,000 Black Gold Stakes.

On Tuesday, James Miller’s Daisy Devine, heroine of last season’s Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks and a nominee to the upcoming $150,000 New Orleans Ladies, went three-eighths in  38 flat. Also on Tuesday, Tall Oaks Farm’s Avie’s Sense, runner-up in this year’s Grade III Rachel Alexandra Feb. 25, breezed a half-mile in 48 flat in possible preparation for this year’s $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks March 31.