01/09/2003 1:00AM

Halo Tyra makes Texas debut


Halo Tyra has come home. Halo Tyra, who could go off favored Saturday night in the $50,000 Distaff at Sam Houston Race Park, makes her first start in Texas, where she was bred, after having spent her career in California.

Halo Tyra was purchased privately by Bill Heiligbrodt this winter, following her win last out in the $60,000 Palo Alto Handicap at a mile at Bay Meadows on Oct. 19. She has since shipped to Sam Houston, where her dam was a stakes winner, and has been under the care of local leading trainer Steve Asmussen.

In one of her final works for the Distaff, in which she will face eight others at 1 1/16 miles, Halo Tyra worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:14.20.

"She's been a very impressive filly in her training and how she's been working," said Asmussen.

Asmussen said the more than two-month layoff is a concern for Halo Tyra, but he called the post she drew perfect for her. She will break from the rail under Donnie Meche.

Reason to Talk will break from the far outside, but like Halo Tyra, she has the speed to get position soon after the start. In her most recent race, Reason to Talk went wire to wire in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance at Turfway Park, and earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure.

Jockey Terry Thompson has the mount for trainer David Vance.

Bobby Walker Jr., will ride Coastalota, who is both the starting highweight at 118 pounds and a local favorite because of her 5-for-9 record at Sam Houston. In her last start, she finished a distant third to Grade 1 winner Take Charge Lady in the $201,000 Great State Challenge Distaff on Dec. 7.

Since the race, Coastalota has worked sharply for trainer Randy Mayfield.

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