10/30/2009 12:00AM

Marq French isn't at all picky


Horses don't come much more versatile than Marq French, who is a multiple stakes winner at five furlongs on turf, six furlongs, and 1 1/16 miles. Sunday, he will be seeking his ninth career stakes win when he starts in the $50,000 Remington Park Turf Sprint.

The five-furlong turf race is for 3-year-olds and up bred in Oklahoma. Marq French is turning back from 1 1/16 miles for the race, off his win in the $100,000 Oklahoma Classics Day Classic at Remington on Sept. 26.

"I think he's a better sprinter, probably a better sprinter on the dirt, but it's been to his advantage to run in the breed races, whether short, long, dirt or turf," said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Marq French. "The money is good, the opportunities are there, and you know when the races are going to be. That's what we've done with him the last three years."

Von Hemel said it is a credit to the 7-year-old Marq French that he adapts so well to the different distances and surfaces over which he has been asked to compete. He rallied for a three-quarter-length win in the Classic, which he also won in 2008.

"He took control of the race when he needed to," Von Hemel said. "He was very professional."

Cliff Berry was aboard Marq French in the Classic and has the mount in the Remington Park Turf Sprint. Van and Margie French bred and own the horse, a son of Marquetry who to date has won 13 of 40 starts and more than $450,000.

Other top contenders Sunday include Ti Township, who was third in the $84,000 Oklahoma Classics Turf at 7 1/2 furlongs Sept. 26, and Momma's Badnews, who has won his last three starts, all five-furlong turf sprints against open company, for trainer John Locke.

Calhoun eyes Texas Champions Day

Taptam and Gold Coyote, who each were clear allowance winners last month at Remington Park, are now being pointed for stakes on the Texas Champions Day program at Sam Houston Race Park, said their trainer, Bret Calhoun.

Gold Coyote could go favored in the $50,000 Spirit of Texas at six furlongs Dec. 5. He won at the distance at Remington on Oct. 23, when he wired a $50,000 optional claimer in 1:09. For the effort, Gold Coyote earned a Beyer Figure of 90.

His stablemate, Taptam, was a front-running winner of a $35,000 optional claimer at a mile at Remington on Oct. 18. She won by three lengths, and earned a Beyer Figure of 88. Taptam could take on male rivals in the $100,000 Star of Texas at 1 1/16 miles, said Calhoun.

This year, there is not a main track route race for her division on Texas Champions Day. Calhoun said she would be nominated to a new stakes on the program, the $100,000 Gallery Furniture Distaff for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles, but he would prefer to keep her in a spot restricted to horses bred in Texas.

"We'll probably go in the Star of Texas," he said. "She's put three really good races together, and is thriving and doing well."

In her two starts prior to the allowance win, Taptam was second in the $50,000 Central Iowa at Prairie Meadows on Sept. 11, and won the $50,000 Valor Farm for statebred fillies and mares at Lone Star Park on July 11.

Other top runners for the Calhoun barn include multiple stakes winner Euroears, an allowance winner last out at Hoosier Park who is being pointed for the $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap at Fair Grounds on Nov. 26.

Calhoun has a division of horses set up in New Orleans, and said he has also applied to have a division this winter at Oaklawn Park. He had a stable at the Hot Springs, Ark., track for the first time last year. Stall applications for Oaklawn closed Thursday, with the stable area to open Nov. 16. Oaklawn's meet begins Jan. 15.

* Glory Be Mine, a 2-year-old filly who has won stakes in each of her last two starts, will be among the top horses running on the $2 million New Mexico Cup card at Zia Park on Nov. 8. The program will feature 11 statebred stakes for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses.