08/30/2007 12:00AM

Gold Coyote seeks 4th straight win


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Trainer Bret Calhoun won the 2003 Arlington-Washington Futurity with Cactus Ridge, and this year, Calhoun is back in the race, as is a full brother to Cactus Ridge named Sebastian County. But the two play for different teams this time.

Calhoun has come to Chicago with a Texas-bred named Gold Coyote who, after finishing a troubled third in his career debut, has reeled off three straight open-lengths victories. Sebastian County, handled by trainer Don Von Hemel, has won both of his starts this summer, but has not yet run fast, and probably won't attract as much betting attention as Gold Coyote, who could be favored despite his less-than-glamorous lineage - his sire, Gold Legend, stands for $4,000 - and Lone Star Park running lines.

The Futurity, a Grade 3 worth $200,000 and contested over a mile on Polytrack, drew a field of eight, including two horses from the Steve Asmussen barn - Celina Slew and T. J.'s Posse - and horses trained by Todd Pletcher and Bill Mott. Pletcher's entrant, Texas Wildcatter, won a one-mile maiden race here in his only start, while Mott ships Riley Tucker in from Saratoga after a fading third-place finish in the Aug. 16 Saratoga Special.

Riley Tucker looks like the second betting choice, having won a Belmont maiden race by six lengths. In the Saratoga Special, he dueled on a wicked pace before fading, but Mott believes Riley Tucker is rateable.

"I don't think that was all his fault," Mott said. "He doesn't seem speed crazy."

Still, Riley Tucker could wind up battling early with Gold Coyote, who has been on the lead in his three wins, the most recent of which was a 5 3/4-length tally in the Middleground Stakes. Gold Coyote never has raced farther than six furlongs, but Calhoun believes he can stretch out.

"A mile, mile and a sixteenth, that should be fine," he said.

Trainer David Carroll feels strongly that Blackberry Road will improve at Saturday's trip. A maiden winner over 5 1/2 furlongs at Churchill, the diminutive Blackberry Road was fourth behind Kodiak Kowboy in the July 7 Bashford Manor.

"My horse wants to run long," Carroll said.