12/08/2008 1:00AM

Star of Navarone sets Zia track record


Star of Navarone indicated his intent to be a major player in the New Mexico handicap ranks this coming year by winning the $200,000 Distance Championship in track-record time at Zia Park on Sunday. The mile and an eighth race was the final stakes of the meet, which was to close Tuesday.

Star of Navarone ($8.60) covered the distance in 1:50.40 to lower the track mark of 1:51 that Tap Dancing Mauk set when he won the Distance Championship in 2007. Star of Navarone raced in seventh early, then closed well for a three-length win over One Lucky Buck.

"My horse relaxed and I let him go on the turn," said Antonio Castanon, who rode the winner for George Coleman and trainer Henry Dominguez.

The Distance Championship was the second major New Mexico stakes win for Star of Navarone, who captured the $600,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland in 2007.

* Also on the card, the 2-year-old Lefty Who ($3.20) improved his record to 4-for-4 with a neck win in the $120,000 Eddy County for statebreds at a mile. Carlos Madeira rode the winner for trainer Joel Marr.