06/06/2005 11:00PM

Crowned King has options after stakes wins on dirt, turf


Crowned King is doing some damage in the handicap ranks at Louisiana Downs. He won his second straight stakes race of the meet May 30, when he rolled to an overwhelming, eight-length victory in the $50,000 Barksdale Handicap. The win came just one start after a sharp neck score in the $50,000 Alliance Handicap at the track April 30.

The Barksdale was moved to the main track from turf, while the Alliance was held on the grass, and with a resume littered with both dirt and turf stakes wins, co-owner and trainer Billy McKeever has lots of next-race options for Crowned King.

McKeever said that right now, he will point the horse for either the $50,000 Ark-La-Tex Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on dirt at Louisiana Downs on June 18, or the $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup at 1 1/8 miles on turf the same day at Lone Star Park.

Crowned King returned to training on Tuesday following the Barksdale, for which he earned one of the highest Beyer Speed Figures of his career, a 96.

"I gave him the week off last week," said McKeever. "I just started him back today. We're going to train this week, give him a little work this next weekend, and see which race is best for him."

McKeever said the Dallas Turf Cup is appealing because of the distance and surface of the race. Crowned King won the biggest stakes of his career over the Lone Star course when he captured the $200,000 USA.

As for the Ark-La-Tex, the race is over Crowned King's home track, where he won The Minstrel on dirt as a 2-year-old. In all, Crowned King has won 8 of 41 starts and $562,980.

Pad the Wallet may go on road

Pad the Wallet won her third straight race last Saturday when she closed from last to first to capture the $50,000 Old South by a half-length. It was the second straight Old South victory for Pad the Wallet's trainer, Paul Murphy, who was impressed with how Pad the Wallet closed into what were unusually slow fractions Saturday, even for a course rated good.

"I was a bit nervous, because they went very slow and she was out the back," he said. "But she's a very determined filly. She finished really well."

Murphy noted that there are not many upcoming stakes in the region for Pad the Wallet, but said that one possibility later in the summer at Louisiana Downs is the $50,000 Sangue at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf on Aug. 14.

Before that race, Murphy said Pad the Wallet would be considered for the Grade 3, $150,000 Locust Grove at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Churchill Downs on July 2, or the $75,000 Firecracker at one mile on turf at Mountaineer on July 4. He said he likes the distance of the Locust Grove.

"I'd like to try her at a mile and an eighth," Murphy said. "The longer she goes, the better she'll be. She's a nice filly. We gave $17,500 for her at the Texas sale as a yearling, and she's more than done her stuff."

Pad the Wallet, a 4-year-old daughter of Skip Away, has won 4 of 12 races and earned $93,750. She made her stakes debut in the Old South, which came on the heels of back-to-back allowance wins at Lone Star.

Murphy has been hot at Lone Star, where he has won with 6 of 19 starters through Tuesday.

Volobee vs. Provobay

Volobee, who won her maiden over the local course last season, and Provobay, who two starts ago was second to Pad the Wallet in an allowance at Lone Star, meet in the 10th race on Thursday. An allowance/optional claimer at about 1 1/16 miles on turf, the race has a purse of $26,000 and a claiming price of $30,000.

last raced April 27 and won an entry-level allowance by five lengths at Lone Star. Trained by Andrew Leggio, she could fashion a nice stalking trip from post 9 under leading jockey John Jacinto.

will break from post 3, and that serves her well, as she was a wire-to-wire winner of an entry-level allowance at Louisiana Downs in her last start May 12. Gerard Melancon has the mount for trainer Gerald Romero.

* The Grade 2, $750,000 Super Derby, the richest race of the meet, is one of five major stakes that will be broadcast live on ESPN on Oct. 1, according to a release issued by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Other stakes that will be on the program, which will air from 4-6 p.m. Eastern, include the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Beldame, both from Belmont Park.