05/19/2009 11:00PM

Song of Navarone: Turf or dirt?


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Song of Navarone will be looking to win his fifth straight race Monday at Lone Star Park, but whether he runs in the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap or the Grade 3, $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup had yet to be decided as of Wednesday.

"We've got our options open," said Henry Dominguez, who trains Star of Navarone. "We're going to try and make the best decision we possibly can."

The Lone Star, at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, and Dallas Turf Cup, at 1 1/8 miles on turf, are two of six stakes worth a cumulative $1.1 million here Monday, Million Day. The card is the richest of the meet, and it is expected to draw shippers from California, Florida and Kentucky.

Song of Navarone is scheduled to van out of his Ruidoso Downs base in New Mexico on Friday night, said Dominguez. The horse's win streak dates back to December, when he won the $200,000 Zia Park Distance Championship at 1 1/8 miles at Zia Park. He then racked up three more stakes at Sunland Park, taking the $50,000 Winsham Lad in January, the $50,000 Curribot in February and the $100,000 Sunland Park Handicap in his last start April 19.

Song of Navarone's richest wins have come at the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Dallas Turf Cup, including the $600,000 WinStar Derby in 2007. The Dallas Turf Cup would be his turf debut.

"If we do run on the grass and the horse does run well, that might open up more avenues later on," said Dominguez. "He's trained on the grass before, trained at Hollywood Park and Del Mar, and he trained real well. But staying on dirt, something he's familiar with, that's what we're kind of leaning toward. But we haven't ruled anything out."

Dominguez said Chris Landeros would have the mount in the Lone Star, and he has not yet determined who would be aboard if the horse goes in the Dallas Turf Cup. Dominguez, who is a perennial leading trainer in New Mexico, also plans to start Goodbye Norma Jean and Sailor's Sister in the $100,000 Valid Expectations for fillies and mares at six furlongs Monday.

"Both fillies are coming into it good, coming off good races," he said. "They deserve the opportunity to run for $100,000."

Eddie Martin Jr. has the mount on Goodbye Norma Jean, who earned a Beyer Figure of 100 for a seven-length win in an allowance at SunRay Park on April 23. Sailor's Sister, who just missed last out in the $50,000 Czaria at Sunland Park on April 11, is to be ridden by Glen Murphy.

Gold Coyote back in form

Gold Coyote picked up his eighth stakes win last Saturday, when he won the $50,000 Express at six furlongs in 1:09.73, for a Beyer of 91. It was the first win of the year for Gold Coyote, who after a freshening returned to action in late March. He utilized off-the-pace tactics in the win.

"It seems like this year, as he's come back in his training, he's been a little more mentally mature," trainer Bret Calhoun said. "He does not run well off the layoff. It takes him a few races to knock the rust off. This race, he was very professional. He loaded well, he broke sharp, and he had a post position where he was able to lay off of the speed."

Gold Coyote will move back to the Texas-bred ranks for his next start. Calhoun said he will be pointed for the $50,000 Carter McGregor Jr. Memorial here June 13.

w Calhoun will be active in Friday night's three trial races for the $100,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity. Among his starters are Western Forum, who is out of the same mare as multiple stakes winners Be a Resident and Valid Lil. The finale is June 6.