08/03/2007 12:00AM

Gold Coyote leads Scharbauer back


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Clarence Scharbauer Jr. of Alysheba fame has one of the quickest 2-year-olds in the nation. The 82-year-old made a rare appearance trackside last Sunday to witness his homebred Gold Coyote capture the $70,000 Middleground Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park.

It was the second straight dominating stakes victory for the gelding, who had earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 for a 10-length win in the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes on July 7. He backed up that performance in the Middleground, when he cruised to a 5 3/4-length win to earn a Beyer of 97. With the victory, Gold Coyote secured horse of the meet honors at Lone Star, which closed last Sunday.

Scharbauer was the center of attention on an afternoon when Magna chairman Frank Stronach made an equally rare but quieter visit to his company's track. Scharbauer traveled more than 300 miles from his West Texas home in Midland to be on hand for the Middleground.

Following the race, the oil and ranching magnate and philanthropist was bright-eyed and enthusiastic as he bopped around the winner's circle accepting well wishes. It was Scharbauer himself who had set the stage for this moment more than a decade ago, when he purchased Coyote Cafe, the dam of Gold Coyote, as a yearling at Keeneland for $600,000 in 1995.

"If you look at her breeding, she's bred in the purple," he said, noting she is by Seeking the Gold and out of the two-time Grade 1-winning mare Dontstop Themusic.

Coyote Cafe was unplaced in three starts on the track, but as a broodmare has given Scharbauer one of his best horses since Alysheba. In 1987, Alysheba won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness enroute to being named 3-year-old champion, taking Scharbauer, his late wife, Dorothy, and his daughter, Pam, to the summit of racing.

Trainer Jack Van Berg brought Alysheba back for more the next year, and he closed out a 1988 Horse of the Year campaign with a half-length win over Seeking the Gold in the Breeders' Cup Classic. It was a memorable era in racing for Scharbauer, who can recount the details as if it was yesterday. But Scharbauer is quick to look to the future with the young horses being raised on his Valor Farm in Pilot Point, which is about an hour north of Lone Star. Sunday, he was focused on the offspring of Coyote Cafe.

"She's got a yearling filly that's a full sister to Gold Coyote," he said. "And she's got a baby by her side that's a full brother to him, and he is nicer than this colt was at the same age. We're just fixing to wean him. All of them are March foals. Alysheba was March 2."

Scharbauer said Gold Coyote reminds him of Exclusive Enough, a multiple stakes winner who was third to Very Subtle in the 1987 Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Exclusive Enough was one of four yearlings Scharbauer bought in 1985 when getting back into Thoroughbred racing at the request of Dorothy, whose father, Fred Turner, owned the 1959 Kentucky Derby winner Tomy Lee. The Scharbauers were a first family of Quarter Horse racing, with Double Queen, winner of the inaugural Rainbow Futurity in 1964, among their horses.

"Exclusive Enough was a speed horse," Scharbauer said. "He was a really fast horse. In 1985, when I bought those four horses, he was the first one I bought over at Fasig-Tipton. Then I bought Alysheba."

Gold Coyote has speed, but there are reasons to believe he will be effective with more ground, Scharbauer said. He is by Gold Legend, a son of Seattle Slew whose offspring include multiple Grade 1 winner Heritage of Gold.

Gold Coyote will try a longer distance in his next start, the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity, a mile race at Arlington Park on Sept. 1, according to trainer Bret Calhoun.

"I love his build," Calhoun said of Gold Coyote. "He's a long horse, got a lot of scope to him. Everything about him gives you the idea he can go farther."

Ramsey Zimmerman, who rides Gold Coyote, agrees.

"He relaxes," he said. "He's doing anything we ask him to do right now.

"He's the best horse I've got on so far," he added. "I'm pretty excited. They say it only takes one good horse to change your whole career, and maybe this is the ticket."

Gold Coyote, who is now based at Remington Park, is not Breeders' Cup-eligible, but depending on how he develops, Scharbauer said he could supplement Gold Coyote to the program.

"I'd put him in there in five minutes," he said.