07/14/2010 5:28PM

Coyote Legend back on dirt in Assault

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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas − Coyote Legend is not the kind of horse who needs excuses − he is a 3-year-old who has won five stakes − but handicappers might be wise to draw a line through his last start when assessing his chances Saturday in the $75,000 Assault at Lone Star Park.

The Assault, a 1 1/16-mile race, will mark Coyote Legend’s return to dirt after he experimented on turf and finished sixth as the even-money favorite in the $95,000 USA Stakes on May 31. The surface switch will be significant for him, said his trainer, Bret Calhoun.

“He didn’t seem to handle the turf at all,” he said. “It just wasn’t his thing. He’s trained great since then, and I expect a return to form.”

Coyote Legend had won five straight dirt stakes leading up to the USA, and that could send him to post as the favorite in the Assault, which drew Arlington Park shipper Poltergeist and 15-length maiden winner Fudge Truffle. The race, which is for Texas-breds ages 3 and up, is the main event on the annual Stars of Texas Day program, which features four restricted stakes worth a combined $325,000.

Coyote Legend won at the Assault distance two starts ago, in a $100,000 division of the Texas Stallion Stakes for 3-year-olds May 8. One start earlier, he won the $50,000 Premiere for Texas-breds ages 3 and up on the opening night card at Lone Star on April 8.

“I know he’s got to run against older horses Saturday, but he has beat them once there,” Calhoun said. “Hopefully, he’ll come back and run a big race.”

Bobby Walker Jr. has the mount on Coyote Legend, who races for his breeder, Clarence Scharbauer.

Poltergeist is in from Chicago for the Assault, and there were several reasons the race made sense for him, said his trainer, Donnie Von Hemel.

“He’s run well on the dirt, the mile and a sixteenth is a good distance for him, and it’s for Texas-breds,” he said.

Poltergeist was third in the Premiere back in April, then shipped up to Arlington and won a $25,000 claiming race at the Assault distance in June. Cliff Berry has the mount for Kindred Thoroughbreds.

No Other Tone chalk in Valor Farm

No Other Tone should start as a strong favorite in the $50,000 Valor Farm for fillies and mares bred in Texas after a powerful allowance win last month in which she defeated some of the race’s leading contenders. Her trainer, Jack Bruner, wouldn’t mind seeing a carbon-copy of that performance on Saturday.

“I’d like everything identical to the last race,” he said. “I thought she ran big. We were very happy with her. I expect her to run well. She’s training really well.”

No Other Tone earned a 95 Beyer in the allowance, in which she tracked the pace and went on to a 2 3/4-length win over Valor starters Hollye Lynne, Dixie Dust, and Formal Flyer.

Chris Landeros has the mount on No Other Tone for Tom Durant.

Juveniles in Texas Stallion Stakes

Tamtastic, who has been hooking the undefeated Aces N Kings, shakes that rival in the $100,000 colts and geldings division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at five and a half furlongs. In his most recent out, Tamtastic was second by a half-length to Aces N Kings in a five-furlong division of the Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity.

“I think with a few more steps in the futurity, I thought we had him,” said Calhoun, who trains Tamtastic. “My horse wants to go no shorter than five and half.”

Calhoun said he was encouraged to see that last weekend Aces N Kings had won another stakes, the $50,000 Minstrel at Louisiana Downs.

◗ Fastation looks like a solid choice in the $100,000 fillies division of the Texas Stallion Stakes off her runner-up finish to the undefeated Lady Giacomo in the TTA Sales Futurity.