05/07/2008 11:00PM

Gold Coyote figures out front in Stymie

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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - The $125,000 Stymie division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Lone Star Park on Saturday reads like a classic tortoise-and-hare tale, with the late-running Ablaze With Spirit charged with the task of running down the quick Gold Coyote.

The Stymie, at 1 1/16 miles, is one of two restricted stakes that will support the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Derby. The other is the $125,000 Got Koko. It is for 3-year-old fillies, while the Stymie is for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Both races are restricted to the offspring of eligible stallions.

Gold Coyote's game is catch-me-if-you-can. He has used his good speed to win 4 of 8 starts, his most recent the $50,000 Fort Bend County for Texas-breds at Sam Houston on March 29. For the Stymie, he will break from post 7 under Bobby Walker Jr.

"He's a fast horse, he's going to be forwardly placed, I'm sure," said Bret Calhoun, who trains Gold Coyote for Clarence Scharbauer Jr. "I think he'll be up in the mix early, and if he runs his race, he'll be difficult to beat. He's trained like he's going to run a big race."

Gold Coyote worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.60 seconds here April 23, and he has been flattered since the Fort Bend with Ferdinand's Flyer, the runner-up, returning in his next start to win a second-level allowance for Texas-breds at Lone Star with a Beyer Speed Figure of 87.

Ablaze With Spirit moved into this region in February after beginning his career in Florida, and he promptly won a one-mile division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Sam Houston. He closed from sixth for a half-length win over Gold Coyote, then one start later traveled to Sunland Park and rallied for third in the $600,000 WinStar Derby on March 16.

"Ablaze With Spirit has proven that he stays," said Steve Asmussen, who trains the horse for Heiligbrodt Racing Stable. "He's a grinder and a half. It looked like he was going to run sixth or seventh at [Sunland], and he ended up third. He just kept coming."

Luis Quinonez has the mount on Ablaze With Spirit, who will break from the rail Saturday.

* Classie Baloo, who won a one-mile division of the Texas Stallion Stakes in February, goes in the Got Koko. She returns to running in restricted company and against straight 3-year-olds after a good second against older horses in an open-company allowance here April 24. Cliff Berry has the mount for trainer Joe Edison in the Got Koko.