11/20/2002 1:00AM

Holy Burrito coming to hand


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Danny who trains calls the Danny who rides "the most underrated rider at Churchill Downs."

Indeed, jockey Danny Coa is enjoying perhaps the most prosperous span of his career since he was a hot apprentice in 1998-99, having already won seven races at the Churchill fall meet, good for ninth in the jockey standings. Veteran trainer Danny Hutt believes Coa deserves more opportunities and, in the Friday feature at Churchill, he is putting one of his best horses behind that opinion.

Hutt, who turned to training Thoroughbreds in 1990 after 11 years as a Standardbred trainer and driver, will saddle Holy Burrito as one of the major contenders in the Friday feature, a second-level allowance sprint with a $44,600 purse. Coa rode Holy Burrito to a solid runner-up finish in the colt's last start, a tough Nov. 6 allowance won by Fiscally Speaking.

"We've always thought a lot of this colt," said Hutt, who purchased Holy Burrito as a yearling for $30,000 on behalf of Real Deal Racing, a Louisville-based partnership headed by Brook Smith. "It's taken him a while to come around, but I think his last race was probably the best of his life. We're running back for the same condition, so hopefully we'll be right there again."

Hutt will be looking for help from Coa, a 21-year-old Venezuelan who is the nephew of the accomplished East Coast rider Eibar Coa. Danny Coa's career had stagnated the last few years, but 2002 has seen a major resurgence, with 82 wins from his first 644 starters this year (13 percent). At Churchill, he is 7 for 51, with several of his winners returning long-priced mutuels.

Hutt, 50, also is having a meet to mirror a productive year. Through Wednesday, Hutt had three wins and three seconds from eight starters at the meet, giving him 14 wins from 73 starts this year (19 percent). After the Churchill meet, Hutt will have 12 horses stabled at nearby High Point training center and will race at Turfway Park.

Holy Burrito, a Holy Bull 3-year-old, is one of 13 entered in the ninth of Friday's 10 races. His top competition could come from No Restraint, a dangerously speedy sort, or Axis, an Elliott Walden-trained colt who earlier this year raced against graded stakes runners.

First post is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.

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