07/08/2001 11:00PM

Old horse, new trick: Two turns


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Caro's Royalty, a two-time winner of the Lone Star Park Turf Sprint, is making a career change late in life. Trainer Wes Hawley said that 8-year-old gelding's sprinting days are over, and that he will now be pointed to two-turn races; his next major objective is the $60,000 Shiskabob over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Louisiana Downs on Oct. 13.

Caro's Royalty has long been considered one of the region's best turf sprinters. A winner of 17 races and $524,245, he has done the bulk of his damage in short grass races, winning 13 turf sprints, including the 1997 and 2000 runnings of the $100,000 Lone Star Park Turf Sprint.

But this season, Caro's Royalty has not been as willing to be as close to the pace in his sprint races as in the past. "He's a different horse - more settled and relaxed," said Hawley, who trains the gelding for Bobby Asaro. "We cannot get him to get into the race early. We have to ride him too hard. Going a route of ground, we can just sit on him and let him get his stride."

Caro's Royalty, who early in his career won two turf routes, will attempt to recapture that form later this season in two major statebred races, the Shiskabob, as well as the Champions Day Turf at Fair Grounds. "Going long against Louisiana-breds, I think he can be as good as they got," said Hawley.

Five Straight back on dirt

Five Straight, a $25,000 claim who earlier this meet ran third in the Grade 3 $300,000 Texas Mile, will return to racing on dirt in the $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial on Sunday. The one-mile race is one of three weekend stakes on tap to close out the Thoroughbred meet, which ends Sunday.

Five Straight ran on turf in his last start, finishing sixth in a conditioned allowance. "He didn't like the grass at all," said Hawley. "We were taking a shot because of the conditions, and the distance." Five Straight indicated he was pleased to be back on the main track last Sunday when he worked five furlongs in 59 seconds under regular rider Curt Bourque. "He's sitting on a good race," said Hawley.

Lone Star bids for Uruguay track

Lone Star has joined forces with an Argentine gambling and technology company to try and win a bid to return racing to the shuttered Maronas Racetrack in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Lone Star would serve as track operator if the Argentine company, Hipica Rioplatense, wins a contract to reopen the track, which Lone Star president Corey Johnsen described as the "Del Mar of South America." Lone Star already has ties to the Latin American racing market as the track serves as chief racing advisor for Hipodromo de Las Americas in Mexico City.

Asmussen sets record

Leading trainer Steve Asmussen became the first horseman to surpass $2 million in single-season earnings at Lone Star when he won the seventh race last Saturday with Prankster. In five years of racing at Lone Star, the trainer's horses have earned more than $6 million.

Also last Saturday, K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman set a single season earnings mark for an owner when Trickski won the second race, pushing their earnings this meet to $420,360.