02/21/2013 2:52PM

Sam Houston: Texas-bred champions Coyote Legend, Skip a Smile clash in Jersey Village

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Coyote Legend’s natural speed could give him a tactical advantage over Skip a Smile when the last two Texas-bred horses of the year meet Saturday night in the $50,000 Jersey Village at Sam Houston Race Park. A field of eight will go in the 1 1/16-mile turf race restricted to 4-year-olds and up bred in Texas.

Coyote Legend was the Texas Thoroughbred Association’s horse of the year in 2012 for a season in which he won the $100,000 Star of Texas at Sam Houston and the $50,000 Assault at Lone Star Park, the main dirt races for older statebreds in Texas. He will be making a rare turf start in the Jersey Village, a race trainer Bret Calhoun landed on after searching out main-track options among tracks in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.

“He’s won on the grass,” said Calhoun. “I don’t think he’s quite as good on turf as the dirt, but I think he’ll run well in there. Skip a Smile, I’m sure he’ll be tough to beat.

“This is the best of the options.”

Coyote Legend’s edge is his speed. He is coming off a wire-to-wire win in the 2013 running of the $100,000 Star of Texas at 1 1/16 miles, while Skip a Smile will be backing up in distance following an off-the-pace score in the $50,000 Richard King at 1 1/8 miles on the grass. Both of the races were at Sam Houston, on the Texas Champions Day card Jan. 19.

Coyote Legend, who races for his breeder, Clarence Scharbauer Jr., will be ridden by Roman Chapa.

Skip a Smile was the 2011 Texas-bred horse of the year for a campaign that included wins in the $100,000 Governor’s Cup and $100,000 DeBartolo Memorial, both at Remington Park, and the $75,000 Assault at Lone Star. Skip a Smile races for his breeder, Rose Mary Chandler, and is trained by Steve Asmussen.