11/12/2004 12:00AM

Mr. Mink tough, if he runs


A dozen of the top Indiana-breds in training are set to face off in the $40,000 To Much Coffee Stakes at Hoosier Park, the last stakes offering of the season for older runners.

Mr. Mink, the defending champion and still unbeaten in eight starts at Hoosier, was also entered in Saturday's $100,000 Schaefer Mile Stakes. Should trainer Mike Nance opt for this spot at 1 1/16 miles, Mr. Mink will be a deserving favorite. Jeff Johnston is named to ride from post 5.

Although Mr. Mink has been most effective sprinting, he captured this race and the Benjamin Harrison Stakes, also at 1 1/16 miles, here last year as a 3-year-old. Sunday, he must face a couple of promising 3-year-olds in Edgerrin and Call Roy.

Edgerrin comes into the race off an even effort when fourth to Mr. Mink in the six-furlong Brickyard Stakes on Oct. 24. Prior to that, Edgerrin became just the second Indiana-bred to compete in the Indiana Derby, where he forced the issue for more than a half-mile before tiring to eighth. His biggest win came last spring when he took the 7 1/2-furlong Governor's Stakes over the turf at Indiana Downs by 9 1/2 lengths.

Edgerrin has shown a preference to run near the lead, but Mr. Mink has never been headed, or even pushed hard, in his four wins this year. Terry Houghton will be in to ride Edgerrin from post 1 and will be coupled in the wagering with Darn That Cobra for trainer Barbara McBride. Darn That Cobra will have the riding services of J.H. Delgado from post 3.

Call Roy, winner of his first two races here by a combined 25 lengths, will make his first try at a route. He was third in the Brickyard but showed a new dimension by closing from well back to get within 2 3/4 lengths of Mr. Mink at the finish. The ability to adapt to 1 1/16 miles would make Call Roy a dangerous threat. Trained by Jeff Talley, Call Roy will be ridden by Rodney Prescott from post 6.