11/28/2007 1:00AM

Valid Lil right where Calhoun wants

EmailValid Lil drew a middle post - just what her trainer had hoped for - for her Saturday night matchup with Wrenice in the $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park.

The Yellow Rose, for fillies and mares at six furlongs, is one of eight restricted stakes worth a collective $475,000 on the annual Texas Champions Day program. Entries for the races were taken Wednesday. The program drew seven stakes winners from the corresponding card a year ago, including Sandburr, who will defend his title in the $100,000 Star of Texas.

Valid Lil, 4, has never been beaten in seven main-track starts and has gone 7 for 8 overall this year. She is making her Texas Champions debut. Valid Lil got post 6 in the field of 11.

Wrenice, a 3-year-old who has earned $389,046, will be making her first start against older rivals in the Yellow Rose. She drew the rail.

Valid Lil's trainer, Brett Calhoun, said before the draw: "I'd like to be in the middle of the field if I had a choice. Sitting right outside of Wrenice would be just perfect."

Quincy Hamilton will ride Valid Lil. Bobby Walker Jr. has the mount on Wrenice.

Tunnel Time and Wild Encounter, who finished in a dead heat in last year's $50,000 San Jacinto, are back for the turf route for fillies and mares. Also on the card, Mystery Classic will be shooting for his fifth straight stakes win when he starts in the $50,000 Spirit of Texas.

Gold Coyote fires bullet

Gold Coyote, one of the year's fastest 2-year-olds by virtue of the 102 Beyer Speed Figure he earned in July, breezed at Sam Houston on Wednesday morning. He drilled five furlongs in 1:02.60, the fastest of 21 works at the distance. Gold Coyote is returning from a freshening, and could see stakes action at Sam Houston in February.

"He's just starting to get cranked back up," said Calhoun, who trains Gold Coyote.

Calhoun said Gold Coyote would not make the Grade 3, $100,000 Lecomte at Fair Grounds in January as he had hoped. Calhoun said a possible comeback is the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes at a mile at Sam Houston on Feb. 16.

Gold Coyote earned the 102 Beyer for his win in the 5 1/2-furlong division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Lone Star Park. He last raced on Sept. 1, and finished fifth in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington.

Simulcast splits set in Texas

The Texas Racing Commission on Tuesday gave approvals to the division of simulcast purse commissions between Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses at each of the state's tracks through the year 2010.

The split of incoming horse simulcast revenues at Lone Star Park will be 83 percent to Thoroughbreds and 17 percent to Quarter Horses. Sam Houston and Retama Park will follow a 79-21 split in 2008, then move to a 78-22 split in 2009 and 2010. The splits also set aside funds for minor breeds, such as Arabians.

Also during the meeting, amendments were proposed to two rules. In testing for total carbon dioxide, it was proposed that the threshold level be changed to 37 millimoles per liter in a serum specimen, from the current 39 millimoles.

The second rule amendment proposes that a horse older than 12 may not start in a race unless the horse has finished first, second, or third in a race during the 12-month period preceding the race, or if authorized by the stewards.

Will Rogers purses $145,000 a day

With the close of Remington Park on Saturday night, the next stop for some Oklahoma horsemen is Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, which opens Feb. 23. The track has been granted a 44-date meet for 2008 by the Oklahoma Racing Commission, with its season to run through May 27.

Will Rogers conducts a mixed meet, with eight races a day for Thoroughbreds, two for Quarter Horses, and one for paints and Appaloosas. Purses will average $145,000 a program, with $110,000 a day budgeted for Thoroughbreds, according to track officials. During this year's meet, Will Rogers, which has electronic gaming, opened with purses of $107,000 a day, $80,000 of which was for Thoroughbreds.

Remington has also been granted 2008 dates, with next year's meet for Thoroughbreds set to run 67 days, from Aug. 21 through Dec. 14. The track will open a 50-date Quarter Horse meet March 7.

* Charlie Cox, the chief steward at Remington, will retire from the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission on Jan. 1. He has been a commission steward since 1984.