02/19/2004 12:00AM

Boston Common class of Coyote


PHOENIX - Saturday's $40,000 Coyote Handicap reprises a familiar theme at Turf Paradise. The six-furlong Coyote brings out many of the best sprinters on the grounds and has also managed to lure a big-shot Californian, Boston Common, who ships in after facing the best sprinters in Southern California. He is assigned high weight of 123 pounds and must give between two to 11 pounds to 10 foes.

On paper, the race is Boston Common's to lose. A 5-year-old gelding, Boston Common finished fourth to Bluesthestandard in his last race, the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita. Bluesthestandard had previously finished second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Before the Palos Verdes, Boston Common won the Grade 3 El Conejo at Santa Anita and the Oakland Handicap at Golden Gate. He had previously campaigned with distinction back East. His overall record of 10 for 29 shows his quality and he'll be tough to handle if trainer Jeff Mullins, the leading trainer here before moving his base to Southern California, brings him over for the race. Jake Barton has the call.

Another Californian looms a threat. More Crafty ships in from northern California for trainer Rene Amescua. More Crafty was a close third to Boston Common in the Oakland at Golden Gate, then, after nearly two months off, was beaten a neck when third in an $80,000 claimer at Golden Gate on Jan. 31. Amescua claimed him for that big price tag and shows up with him here off a strong work. He carries 121 pounds and Leslie Mawing.

The locals are hardly out of this, led by Palmerton, the hottest sprinter on the grounds. The Lyman Rollins trainee has won three straight and comes off a powerful win in the Swift here Jan. 24. Miguel Hernandez rides at 119 pounds. Komax, who was among the sprint elite on this circuit a couple years ago, comes off a dull run in the Curribot at Sunland on Feb. 7 but that was a route. He's back to a sprint here and back to a track he loves - four of his seven career wins have come here. He carries 120 pounds and Joel Campbell.