07/04/2013 12:50PM

Lone Star Park: Coyote Legend heads Calhoun’s big effort

Coady Photography
Coyote Legend is a two-time Assault winner, having won in 2010 at the age of 3, and again last year at 5.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Trainer Bret Calhoun will attack the Stars of Texas Day program at Lone Star Park on Saturday. He has eight runners in the four restricted stakes that close out the meet, led by the reigning Texas-bred horse of the year, Coyote Legend, in the $50,000 Assault. The program also features the $50,000 Valor Farm, and a pair of $100,000 divisions of the Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity for total stakes purses of $300,000.

“It would make our meet if we can go in there and win some of these races,” Calhoun said. “That’s our intent. It’s the meet’s largest purse structure in one day, other than the big races,” meaning the Lone Star Park Handicap and Texas Mile. “These are races we target. My owners are looking forward to this day.”

Coyote Legend is a two-time Assault winner, having won in 2010 at the age of 3, and again last season at 5. This year, he faces a handful of new rivals in the one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up bred in Texas. The field of eight includes Ojos de Hielo, an Arlington shipper who placed in a Group 1 race in Panama in November; He Has Bling, who won a division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Lone Star in May; and Pagador, an 18-length maiden winner at Lone Star in June. But still, Coyote Legend remains the horse to beat. Bred and owned by Clarence Scharbauer Jr., he has won 17 races and nearly $700,000, and will be chasing his 10th career stakes win Saturday.

“He’s been a dream to train,” Calhoun said. “His whole career, he’s kind of been the barn favorite. He’s accomplished a lot, and hopefully, we have a few more good years in him. He’s an extremely well-made horse, a very strong horse physically, and he loves the game.”

Coyote Legend will be moving back to dirt after finishing fourth in an allowance on the grass at Lone Star on May 18, and while he is a multiple winner on turf, the surface switch will be meaningful for the horse, according to Calhoun.

“It’s pretty much everything,” he said. “He never was a turf horse. We had to fill in the blanks between dirt races sometimes. He never did love it. He tolerated it. But he just doesn’t want to run on turf anymore, plain and simple. He went into that race good and came out of it well, but it’s just not what he wants anymore. We’re going to oblige him and not run him back on turf anymore.”

Coyote Legend will break from post 8, under regular rider Cliff Berry.

“It’s a great spot, it gives Cliff options,” Calhoun said. “We’ll play off the break and see what happens.”

Saturday’s stakes action begins in the third, with the colts and geldings division of the Sales Futurity at five furlongs. Calhoun will send out Circustown Flyer, Check Ride, and Golden Tune. The chief threat is Time Iz Flyin, a 12-length debut winner at Lone Star on May 5.

“It was an awesome race,” said Lone Star’s leading trainer, Allen Milligan. “He’s just got a great turn of foot around the turn. When he hit the turn, he just exploded.”

Lindey Wade, expected to win the Lone Star riding title, has the mount for the meet’s leading owner, Danny Keene.

In the fillies division, the Calhoun-trained Closing Report should start as a strong favorite off a four-length debut win June 9 for which she earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 70.

“We had been high on her well before her first race, and she did what we expected,” said Calhoun, who trains for Stephen Brown. “She’s a beautifully-made filly. She’s got good size, and she’s very athletic.”

Calhoun will also send out Discreet Girl and Scooter’s Choice.

In the Valor Farm for fillies and mares at six furlongs, Calhoun will send out the Scharbauer-owned Tastefullyxcessive. She will be one of the top choices as a stakes winner and 3-year-old half-sister to Fiftyshadesofgold, the Debutante winner at Churchill Downs who Calhoun said is now targeting the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga.