06/14/2005 11:00PM

Crowned King's options open


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Crowned King on Wednesday was entered in Saturday's $50,000 Ark-La-Tex Handicap at Louisiana Downs, but the horse remains on target to start as the highweight in Saturday's $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup at Lone Star Park, and was to be entered in the race on Thursday.

Billy McKeever, who trains Crowned King, said he is covering his bases weather-wise by entering in the Ark-La-Tex, a 1 1/16-mile dirt race that will be held at Crowned King's home track. The Dallas Turf Cup is over 1 1/8 miles, and the horse will go in that race, unless it is moved to a wet main track because of rain, said McKeever.

"If it's on the grass, I'm going to Lone Star," said McKeever.

There is a 30 percent chance of rain Saturday in Dallas.

McKeever said Luis Quinonez has the mount in either race. Crowned King is weighted at 118 for the Dallas Turf Cup and ranks as the starting highweight on the strength of back-to-back stakes wins - one on dirt and one on turf - in his last two outs at Louisiana Downs.

He worked in 1:01 at the track Sunday.

"Luis was just sitting on him," said McKeever. "He worked on his own. He never moved on him, and he looked like his old self coming down the lane."

Crowned King scored the biggest win of his career over soft Lone Star turf two years ago, when he captured the $200,000 USA Stakes.

A full field of 12 is expected for the Dallas Turf Cup, including top contenders Waupaca and Major Rhythm.

Goosey Moose well-spotted

Goosey Moose is well-spotted in Friday night's ninth race, a $40,000 overnight turf stakes for Texas-breds that have not won a stakes in 2005. The 7 1/2-furlong race is called the Gold Nugget.

Goosey Moose is a multiple stakes winner, and he will be moving back into the statebred ranks Friday, following a strong second-place finish in an open company turf allowance at Lone Star on June 3. The winner of the race, Runaway Choice, and the third-place finisher, Sea Dub, are both under consideration for the Dallas Turf Cup.

Adding to Goosey Moose's appeal is his record on turf. He has won 2 of 4 starts, and finished second and third in his other outs on the turf. Roman Chapa has the mount on Goosey Moose for trainer Danny Pish.

Others in the race include stakes winners Charming Socialite and Agrivating General.

Absent Friend on fence for Turf Cup

To turf or not to turf? That is the question facing Absent Friend, a Grade 3 winner on dirt who is under consideration for the Dallas Turf Cup. The horse, who has made just one career start on the grass, worked on turf Monday at Lone Star, going four furlongs around the dogs in 51.20 seconds. He is weighted at 117 for the Dallas Turf Cup.

"I love the mile and an eighth, and the way he handled the turf the other day," said Cole Norman, who trains Absent Friend.

The lone reservation about the Dallas Turf Cup, said Norman, is that the race comes up quickly for Absent Friend, who ran third by a head in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap on dirt May 30. Norman would prefer a month between starts with the horse, especially following such a big effort, and there are only 19 days between the Lone Star and the Dallas Turf Cup.

"We'll just play it by ear and see," said Norman.

* Cross Canadian Ragweed, a country-rock group, will perform in concert after the races Friday night. During the concert, footage will be shot for a new music video the band plans to release in 2006.