05/13/2003 11:00PM

Crowned King back to turf


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Crowned King, who finished a troubled fourth last week in the Grade 3, $500,000 Lone Star Derby, will likely make his next start on turf in the $200,000 USA Stakes at Lone Star Park on May 26.

The USA, for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, is one of seven stakes on a card called Lone Star Million Day. Among the local horses pointing for the race are Lone Star Deputy, winner of the $100,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge; Lots of Sizzle, who has been working sharply for trainer Dallas Keen; and recent allowance winner River Mountain Rd.

Crowned King, who won the $125,000 Rebel on dirt at Oaklawn Park in March, has made just one career start on turf, but it came over a yielding course that he did not care for, said his trainer, Billy McKeever Jr.

McKeever said Crowned King will move back to dirt later this season, with a possible start coming in the Grade 2, $300,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown on June 21. Long-term, he would like to see Crowned King advance to the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby in September by way of the Prelude Stakes there.

Both of those races are held at Louisiana Downs, where Crowned King is based and where he won a 2-year-old stakes last year. In the Lone Star Derby, Crowned King rallied through traffic to finish four lengths behind 1-5 favorite Dynever.

Amiga's kick dangerous

Amiga, a developing 3-year-old filly with a big closing kick, will take on seven other fillies and mares Friday night in the featured ninth race, a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer on turf. The horse to beat in the race is Titia.

Amiga returned from a five-month freshening last out and ran a big race to close from seventh to second in a conditioned turf allowance. The winner of that race, Sea Bloom, is being pointed for the $125,000 Lone Star Oaks on July 4, which is also a goal for Amiga, according to her trainer, John Locke.

Cliff Berry has the mount on Amiga.

Titia should be the favorite following her sharp second-place finish at this level last out at Fair Grounds. Since that race, she has worked well for trainer Steve Asmussen, who has given the mount to Corey Lanerie.

Pie N Burger to Lone Star 'Cap

Pie N Burger, who won a Lone Star allowance last Friday night in his first start for trainer Cole Norman, will make his next start in the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.

The 1 1/16-mile race is the centerpiece of Lone Star Million Day.

In the Friday allowance, also at 1 1/16 miles, Pie N Burger dueled with Tee Cat for six furlongs in 1:10 before going on to win by three lengths in a quick 1:41.77. He was ridden by Jamie Theriot.

"He was impressive," Norman said of Pie N Burger, who joined his barn last month. "Down the backside, I was just so impressed when he got to the half-mile pole and just pricked his ears.

"Jamie just said he was just up there so easy and doing it so fast. And when he called on him, there he went."

Pie N Burger earned his best Beyer Speed Figure, a 114, at 1 1/16 miles last May at Hollywood Park. He won by a neck in 1:41.80.

Norman also said that Joyful Tune, who won an allowance prep for the $100,000 Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint, will make his next start in that race, which is to be run May 26.