04/24/2009 11:00PM

Jonesboro becomes millionaire in Texas Mile

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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Jonesboro became a millionaire in style on Saturday when he overcame trouble on both turns and then closed with determination down the middle of the track to register the richest win of his career in the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park. The score came before a crowd of 16,389, on a card of four stakes worth a cumulative $450,000.

"It's nice to have a millionaire in the family," said Michael Langford, who owns Jonesboro.

Jonesboro, a 7-year-old son of Sefapiano out of the champion racemare Mom's Command, was forced wide into the first turn and settled in fourth, some six lengths behind favorite Halo Najib, who was clear through fractions of 23.28 seconds, 45.83, and 1:10.1. Jonesboro, who encountered trouble again on the second turn, closed steadily in the stretch for a half-length win over King Dan. Jonesboro ($6.40) covered the distance on a track rated fast in 1:36.94.

"He laid it down today," said Cliff Berry, who rode Jonesboro for trainer Randy Morse. "We had kind of a rough trip. We got pushed out two or three times, but he just kept grinding. He's just got a lot of class."

"He showed a lot of heart and determination," said Morse.

Morse said Jonesboro could make his next start in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 25. The horse earned $165,000 for his win in the Texas Mile, putting his career earnings at $1,108,575. He has now won 13 of 38 starts.

Encaustic finished third, 2 1/4 lengths behind King Dan. It was another half-length back in fourth to Halo Najib. Smooth Air was scratched from the Texas Mile after having a bout with colic on Thursday.

Handle on the 11-race card from all sources was $2,215,071.

Kays and Jays takes Richland Hills

It was all Kays and Jays ($4.20) in the $50,000 Richland Hills, a six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies. She tracked a hot pace set by Affirmed Truth, overtook that one after a half-mile in 44.60 seconds, then went on to win by 9 1/2 lengths in 1:08.78.

"When I asked her, she gave me a very good punch," said Jose Lezcano, who was aboard Kays and Jays for trainer Mike Mitchell.

* Southern Region set the pace throughout and fought for a nose win over stablemate Har D Boy in the $50,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge for 3-year-olds at a mile on turf. Both horses are trained by Steve Asmussen. Southern Region, who was not coupled with Hard D Boy, returned $8.20.

It was another neck back in third to Jake Wil Galllop. Southern Region covered the distance on firm turf in 1:35.99, under Chris Landeros.

* Hotatlantic ($42.80) set the pace throughout for a length and a half win over Everlasting Beauty in the $50,000 Irving Distaff for fillies and mares at seven and a half furlongs on turf. Jose Figueroa was aboard for trainer Dallas Keen.