03/16/2010 12:00AM

Highland Games best in Coyote


Highland Games took advantage of a hot pace as he sat back and powered past the field to capture Monday's $28,000 Coyote Handicap at Turf Paradise.

Owned by the Sandra Hall Trust and trained by Lyman Rollins, Highland Games, a 7-year-old gelded son of Game Plan, was coming off a series of strong efforts, including being placed in three stakes in recent months. This 6 1/2-furlong event, however proved to be his domain.

Under regular rider Miguel Hernandez, Highland Games lagged back early in the field of 11 while pace-battlers Such a Shame and Twin Sparks smoked the opening quarter-mile in 21.86 seconds. Twin Sparks, the world-record-holder for six furlong, was the first to blink after a half-mile in 43.76 but Such a Shame went on with it, opening up 2 1/2 lengths in midstretch and getting six furlongs in 1:08.84. By now, however, Highland Games was hitting high gear. He swung out for the stretch drive and powered home, collaring Such a Shame and drawing away to win by 1 1/2 lengths in a fast 1:15.66. Such a Shame held second by a half over Lightning Tanner. Twin Sparks, the 2.40-1 favorite, faded to sixth.

Highland Games paid $8.40 as the second choice, and the winner's share of $16,800 pushes his career earnings to $244,362 from 10 wins in 35 starts.