01/30/2003 1:00AM

Cojet has learned new way to run


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Last year as a 3-year-old at Oaklawn Park, Cojet was a horse obsessed with speed. A one-dimensional front-runner, he could not wait for the gate to open so he could go.

But this year, Cojet comes into the meet a more mature, relaxed colt, and is the one to beat in Saturday's $50,000 King Cotton, a six-furlong race that has also drawn a comebacking Beau's Town, who is undefeated at Oaklawn.

Cojet has had a mental makeover since last meet, when, after winning an allowance wire to wire, he set the early pace and weakened in each of his final three starts of the meeting, which ended in April.

"About the middle of May we turned him out for 100 days, brought him back, and tried some different training methods with him and he's learned to relax," said Bob Holthus, who trains Cojet for Dan Jones.

"He's developing into a good sprinter."

Cojet shipped to Fair Grounds last out and ran a powerful race in the $75,000 Colonel Power Handicap, when he rallied from fourth to win by three-quarters of a length over Mountain General.

Holthus, who called the race one of Cojet's most impressive, is looking for his fifth win in the King Cotton. Terry Thompson has the mount.

Anthony Lovato will ride Beau's Town, who will be making his first start since he finished fifth in the Grade 2, $200,000 Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 11.

The five-month layoff was by design, said Cole Norman, who trains the 5-year-old Beau's Town for David Hulkewicz and Robert Beck.

"We knew he liked this track here last year, and thought we'd give him time off and bring him back for Oaklawn," said Norman.

Last meet, Beau's Town won all three of his starts here, including the $50,000 Hot Springs Stakes in a dead heat with Kings Command. Beau's Town went on to win the $75,000 Ford Express at Lone Star Park before traveling to New York.

For his return, Beau's Town has worked well, and on Jan. 20 drilled six furlongs in a bullet 1:13.60.

"It was a good work," said Norman. "We knew we needed to have a work like that after this layoff. We wanted to have him tight and ready to go. I wouldn't change anything with the way he's doing right now."

Others of note in the King Cotton are Bidis, who won the race in 2001, and Talknow, a multiple stakes winner last year who was fourth last out in the Colonel Power.

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