05/20/2008 11:00PM

Coughlin starts off with hot hand

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Trainer Dan Coughlin is off to a strong start at the Lincoln meet, saddling 5 winners from his 12 starters in the opening two weekends of racing at State Fair Park.

Last Sunday, Coughlin won three races: the sixth with Confederate Bond ($5.20), the seventh with Booming Along ($5), and the eighth with Musical Smoke ($8.80). Luis Ranilla was aboard for the wins on Confederate Bond and Musical Smoke, while Yuri Yaranga had the mount on Booming Along. The triple boosted Coughlin into first place in the trainer standings.

* Saturday's camel and ostrich races were a hit, with a good crowd down on the apron for a first-hand look at the action. Five ostriches came first in the exhibition, which followed the third race, as riders Armando Martinez, Beth Butler, Chris Fackler, and Mike Luark, plus trainer Dave Ulch, took a shot at making the 100-yard ride. None of the riders was able to stay aboard, with Luark the last to come off about 40 yards before the wire. He landed in full stride and was last seen running just behind the big bird.

Fackler was the only jockey to ride a camel, but gate hands Cody Ungles and Jesse Compton, along with Ulch, stepped up to the challenge. Ulch was first under the wire with Fackler close behind.

* Fackler, who shares the lead in the rider standings with Yaranga at eight wins each, picked up his second stakes win of the meet on Saturday aboard Doc Tanner for trainer Brian Roberts in the Speed Stakes.

* With the Memorial Day holiday Monday, there is live racing four days this week, Friday through Monday.