06/30/2009 11:00PM

Jonesboro might venture far east or west

Coady/Coady Photography
Jonesboro may ship to Saratoga for the Whitney or to Del Mar for the San Diego.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - The connections of Jonesboro will be paying close attention to the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park on Saturday as they debate sending the winner of last weekend's Grade 2 Cornhusker to New York for the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney.

"We'll see what the Suburban looks like, see if it's a short field, kind of see how we would stack up against those horses," said Randy Morse, who trains Jonesboro for Mike Langford. "I think if the Whitney would come up light, it would be something you'd have to consider. Now, if they're talking 10 to 12 horses, we wouldn't even think about it. We'll just kind of have to see how things shape up."

Jonesboro is based at Lone Star Park near Dallas, but he hit the road last week and knocked out the $300,000 Cornhusker at Prairie Meadows in Iowa. It was the latest powerful effort from the horse, who this year at 7 has earned the best two Beyer Speed Figures of his career. Jonesboro put up a career-high 109 in the Cornhusker. And last month, he earned a 107 when second by a head to possible Suburban favorite It's a Bird in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.

The sharp form has led to Jonesboro debuting this week on the divisional rankings put out by Daily Racing Form's national handicapper, Mike Watchmaker. He got slot No. 10 in the older male category. And with his division lacking both a clear leader and depth, the situation could send Jonesboro in search of Grade 1 opportunities outside of the Midwest for the first time in a career that began in 2004.

"The way he's running right now, if you're going to try, now would be maybe the time to do it," Morse said. "But that's only if it comes up light. We've kept him around this long by kind of spotting him around."

The Whitney, which is run at the same 1 1/8-mile distance of the Cornhusker, is at Saratoga on Aug. 8.

Morse also is monitoring the West Coast's handicap division, with another possible option for Jonesboro being the Grade 2, $250,000 San Diego at Del Mar on Aug. 2. The race is a prep for the track's Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic on Sept. 6. Closer to home, Morse said races of interest are the $150,000 Evangeline Mile at Evangeline Downs Aug. 15 - although he said at this point he would rather not shorten the horse in distance - and the $150,000 Governor's Cup at Remington Park on Sept. 7.

Jonesboro, who is out of the champion race mare Mom's Command, has won 14 of 40 starts and $1.3 million. He became a millionaire in April, when he closed to win the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star.

Berry gets results in Iowa

Lone Star leading rider Cliff Berry, who has been aboard Jonesboro in his last three starts, spent last Friday and Saturday night at Prairie Meadows for the Iowa Racing Festival. In addition to the Cornhusker, he won the $125,000 Iowa Distaff aboard Euphony.

Berry's other mounts were Sweet Relish, who finished second in the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks; Red Lead, who was third in the $250,000 Iowa Derby; and Sempahore Man, who was third in the $125,000 Iowa Sprint.

Berry on Friday night will have the horse to beat in Lone Star's seventh race, a 5 1/2-furlong first-level allowance for fillies and mares bred in Texas. Texas Kitty Kat should go favored after finishing second at this level last out with a Beyer Figure of 78. She might get a nice tracking trip behind recent maiden winner Touch Tone Lilly and the quick Wanto Jones.

Fireworks Friday and Saturday

Lone Star will hold its annual Stars and Stripes Celebration on Friday and Saturday night, with a special first post for each program set for 5 p.m. Central. Following the races each night there will be a 20-minute fireworks display. Lone Star also will give away a truck on Friday and a trip to Miami on Saturday.