02/24/2005 12:00AM

Gold Cup prospects in Coyote


PHOENIX - A field of 10 older horses will contest the $40,000 Coyote Handicap at six furlongs Saturday at Turf Paradise, headed by top local sprinters Newark, Grimm, Cocoa Latte, and Palmerton.

The card will also include the $50,000 Glendale Handicap, which was postponed by rain last weekend. The Glendale, a 1 1/16-mile turf race, lured a field of 10, headed by 124-pound highweight Muir Beach, the best older female on the grounds. She has her work cut out for her, however, as she drew post 9.

The two stakes go as races 7 and 8 on a nine-race program.

The Coyote is a traditional prep for the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup on March 19, the meet's marquee event, and this year looks no different. was tabbed the 125-pound highweight coming off a game win in the Swift here on Jan. 29. He won the Caballos del Sol and Zip Pocket here last fall before trying some of the better sprinters in Southern California in Hollywood Park's Grade 3 Vernon Underwood on Dec. 5. He had to steady at the start and ended up sixth of seven. Newark comes here sharp and has registered seven of his eight lifetime wins over this track.

, the 123-pound second highweight, poses a big hurdle for Newark. Grimm has done some good work of his own this meet, including a big win in the Cactus Wren Handicap on Jan. 1. He then won the Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile on the turf Jan. 8 before dueling for the lead and faltering to fifth in the 1 1/16-mile Turf Paradise BC Handicap Feb. 12. This distance and company may be more to his liking.

, assigned 122 pounds, has won four of his five local starts. He won the Paradise Valley Handicap and Rocket Bar, and then finished a rallying fourth behind Palmerton and Flying Supercon, two of the foes he faces in the Coyote, in the Answer Do. Cocoa Latte came right back to romp by more than 11 lengths in the Honor the Hero in the slop here Feb. 11.

Also in the Coyote are Palmerton and Flying Supercon, one-two in the Answer Do in January; California shipper You Crack Me Up; and Vigilant Site, who was claimed for just $12,500 last month and looks like a new horse for trainer Troy Bainum. Since coming to Bainum's barn, Vigilant Site has romped in a claimer and finished a strong second in the Turf Paradise BC Handicap. He could be the spoiler.

Muir Beach is no doubt the horse to beat in the Glendale. She has won 9 of 21 stars, including 6 of her last 8, with the two losses being close seconds.

The main opposition figures to come from Southern California invader Shezsospiritual. She has shipped here before and done well. Shezsospiritual was a dead-heat third just behind Muir Beach in the Queen of the Green Handicap here Nov. 27.

V'ville Lady comes here razor sharp, having won four straight. All eight of her turf wins have come here.