05/30/2009 12:00AM

Diverse paths for Lone Star runners-up


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Jonesboro and Song of Navarone are headed in separate directions after earning career-best Beyer Figures last week when finishing close behind It's a Bird in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.

Jonesboro, who was second by a head with a Beyer of 107, could run next in Iowa, said his trainer Randy Morse. Song of Navarone, the third-place finisher, was beaten a half-length for a Beyer of 106. He is under consideration for races in Southern California, according to his trainer, Henry Dominguez.

Jonesboro overtook It's a Bird in the stretch run of the Lone Star, but It's a Bird came back late in a spirited battle between the two horses. It was the second big performance this meet for Jonesboro, who in April became a millionaire when he won the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile.

"The next logical spot for him would be the Cornhusker Handicap," Morse said of the Grade 2, $300,000 race at Prairie Meadows on June 27. "We'll look at that.

"He ran a great race the other day. He did all you could ask of him."

Song of Navarone made his first graded start since 2007 in the Lone Star, and came rolling from next-to-last for third. He had won four consecutive races coming into the handicap, between Zia Park and Sunland. The Lone Star was a chance to step him up in class, and he answered the call.

"We were real pleased," Dominguez said. "What we accomplished is that we do know that we fit with the Grade 2 horses all over the country. The handicap division probably hasn't been as competitive as it has been in previous years, so it makes us feel we can be competitive in it. We'll find a spot that fits best."

Dominguez said options for Song of Navarone's next start include the Grade 2, $200,000 Californian at Hollywood Park on June 13 and the $100,000 San Juan County Commissioners Handicap at SunRay Park in New Mexico on June 28. Song of Navarone, whose biggest win came in the $600,000 WinStar Derby in 2007, is based at Ruidoso Downs.

Dominguez said a race of interest long-term would be the Grade 1, $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 11.

Oaklawn: Gaming addition opens

Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., opened the first phase of its expanded gaming center last week, with the full project expected to be completed by the end of the year. The action moved the 500 electronic gaming terminals that were in place on the first floor of the grandstand into a 52,500-square-foot new addition on the southwest end of the grandstand.

A second phase of the expansion calls for the renovation of the original gaming area, and when that is complete Oaklawn will have 90,000 square feet available for gaming, simulcasting, and new restaurants. The phase that opened last week also has a new lounge, gift shop, and office space.

"The opening of the expansion has been a big success so far," said Terry Wallace, spokesman for Oaklawn. "It's been getting great reviews."

Revenues from Oaklawn's gaming operations accounted for about a third of the purse structure this past meet.

Will Rogers: Kimes wins riding title

Jockey Curtis Kimes won the riding title at the Will Rogers Downs meet in Claremore, Okla., that wrapped up last Tuesday. He won 60 races from 278 mounts, for a 12-win advantage over second-leading rider Floyd Wethey Jr. Kimes also led all riders in mount earnings, with $769,289.

The leading trainer was Martin Lozano, who edged Roger Engel by two wins. Lozano won 24 races from 96 starters for stable earnings of $244,181. Engel won with 22 of 74 starters for stable earnings of $245,180.

Miranda Diane, who went 4 for 4 at the meet, could make her next start in the $100,000 Saylorville at Prairie Meadows on June 26, according to her trainer, Shane Seaton. The six-furlong race is for fillies and mares. Miranda Diane won both sprint stakes for her division this meet at Will Rogers.

* The Lone Star chaplaincy benefit golf tournament is Monday.