06/16/2009 11:00PM

Jonesboro in peak form for Cornhusker


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Jonesboro might have been bred in Kentucky and named for a city in Arkansas, but he has made himself at home in Texas. Based at Lone Star Park for the first time in his career, he is a picture of health and happiness heading into his next assignment, the Grade 2, $300,000 Cornhusker Breeders' Cup at Prairie Meadows on June 27.

"For whatever reasons, he's really thriving right now," said Randy Morse, who trains Jonesboro for Michael Langford.

Morse has a stable at Lone Star for the first time, and Jonesboro apparently is loving it. He became a millionaire here April 25, when he overcame trouble for a half-length win in the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile. In his last start, Jonesboro took It's a Bird to the wire in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, finishing second by a head May 25.

"His race the other day, it was a shame he had to lose as hard as he ran," said Morse.

Jonesboro earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 107. He is to have his final work for the Cornhusker here Sunday, depending on the weather, said Morse. Jonesboro will then van to Prairie on Tuesday. Cliff Berry, the leading rider at Lone Star, has the mount. Jonesboro, who is 7, will be making his second start in the Cornhusker. He ran in the race in 2007, and following his fourth-place finish his connections made an equipment change that has stood to this day.

"After that race we decided to take the blinkers off of him," Morse said. "He was in front and it's like he let some of those horses pass him. Once they got in front of him, then he took off again and galloped out five in front of them after the race. Jamie Theriot was on him and he said, 'I sure think we might need to take the blinkers off.' "

Morse decided to make the equipment change, and Jonesboro, who had won three stakes in blinkers, took an allowance at Remington one race after the Cornhusker. He has continued to perform at an optimum level, and last year collected awards as champion sprinter at Remington and champion older horse at Louisiana Downs.

Shopping for a spot for Gold Coyote

Gold Coyote has exhausted his stakes options in Texas through at least the fall meet at Retama Park following his win here last Saturday in the $50,000 Carter McGregor Jr. Memorial. So, that has left his trainer, Bret Calhoun, scouring stakes schedules in the region for Gold Coyote, a multiple stakes-winning sprinter of $393,250.

"Really, there's nothing in this area in the next month for him, so I haven't figured out where he's going to run next," said Calhoun, who has been looking at stakes programs in Louisiana and New Mexico. "I'd like to see something in the next month. I haven't found that right race.

"If I can't come up with a pretty good plan, I may suggest we back off him a little bit. There's no sense keeping him in training in the hot summer if I can't come up with anything."

Calhoun said later in the year there are regional opportunities for Gold Coyote, among them the $100,000 Premiere Sprint Cup at Zia on Sept. 13, or the $50,000 Temperence Hill at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 19.

As for Coyote Legend, a 2-year-old full brother to Gold Coyote who won his maiden on the McGregor undercard, he is now being pointed for a $125,000 division of the Texas Stallion Stakes here July 11. Both horses race for Clarence Scharbauer Jr.

Trainer draws six-month suspension

Trainer Jerimiah West has been suspended six months and fined $1,500 after a horse in his care tested positive for lidocaine following a runner-up finish in a first-level allowance here April 10. West could not be reached for comment.

Mad at Cha was disqualified. Lidocaine is a Class 2 medication violation. Texas has a zero-tolerance policy on the local anesthetic. West's suspension runs through Nov. 29.

* Catrin and Holy Humor, who each had trouble last out when a respective second and third in a first-level allowance route on turf, meet again at the same level in Friday night's eighth race at Lone Star.