06/25/2003 11:00PM

Eagle Lake challenges champ


Coastalota, the champion older mare last year in Texas, and Eagle Lake, whose stock has risen by leaps and bounds over the past several months, will make for one of the best matchups Saturday during the Stars of Texas Day program at Lone Star Park.

The two will meet in the $75,000 Allen Bogan Memorial, a one-mile race for fillies and mares bred in Texas. The race is one of five restricted stakes on the card.

It has been a long time since Coastalota and Eagle Lake have met. "I think we ran against her a couple of years ago," said Randy Mayfield, who trains Coastalota.

Since then, a lot has changed. Eagle Lake has stepped up her game big time, and comes into the Allen Bogan on the heels of a two-length win in the Grade 3 WinStar Distaff over soft turf May 26 at Lone Star.

She will move back to dirt Saturday.

"I don't think [the surface] matters with her," said Cole Norman, who trains Eagle Lake for Turf Express.

Eagle Lake's richest career win might have come on turf in the WinStar, but she has won nine races on dirt, including a more than 10-length romp in a one-mile division of the Texas Stallion Stakes last December at Sam Houston Race Park.

That victory capped a five-race win race streak for Eagle Lake, who won two other stakes during a stretch that started last August. She will be ridden by Gerard Melancon.

Coastalota stretches back out around two turns after winning the $50,000 JEH Stallion Station Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs last out in her first start in more than five months. That race, for statebred fillies and mares, was held May 17.

"I think that a mile is her best lick," said Mayfield, who saddled Coastalota to a win in last year's Allen Bogan.

"I couldn't ask her to do any better than she's doing. She ran a big race the other day, and came out of the race training like she's going forward. She's on top of her game."

Also of note in the race is Halo Tyra, who appears to be working her way into the winner's circle for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Iron Expectations in Texas Stallion

Some of the best 2-year-olds on the grounds are eligible for the $175,000 Texas Stallion Stakes series, which makes the $122,500 finale for colts and geldings an interesting one. Among those in the 5 1/2-furlong race restricted to the offspring of nominated stallions is Iron Expectations, who is 2 for 3.

His top rivals include There Goes Rocket, who overcame much trouble to win his debut in his last start; and Canadian River, Danzig in the Dark, and East Texas Red.

A second Texas Stallion Stakes race for 2-year-old colts and geldings Saturday is the $50,000 Consolation.

In the fillies division of the Stallion Stakes, the one to beat is Hay Lauren, who has won two of her three career starts. In her most recent out she was second to Bluegrass Sara in the fillies division of the TTA Sales Futurity.

'Lefty' back on dirt in Goodman

Call Me Lefty, who was voted horse of the meet at Sam Houston Race Park last winter for winning two divisions of the Texas Stallion Stakes by a combined 18 lengths, returns to dirt, site of all of his wins, for the $50,000 Harold V. Goodman Sprint.

He also cuts back in distance to six furlongs in the 3-year-old race for statebreds that also drew a filly, multiple stakes winner Hannah's Royalrock.

Call Me Lefty was a close second the last time he raced around one turn, in the $50,000 Groovy for statebreds Nov. 16. Jeremy Beasley has the mount for trainer Tommie Morgan.

All of the races on Stars of Texas Day will be shown on HRTV.