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June 8, 2007

Calhoun Shines
Excerpt from:  Stars in full force, but none brighter than Gold Coyote

By Gary West

Photo by Khampha Bouaphanh (Star-Telegram)

Gold Coyote wins the Texas Stallion Stakes by 10 1/2 lengths

It's useful to remember, I suppose, that constellations generally have only a few bright stars that are named. That's why the analogy works. That's why Saturday was called Stars of Texas Day and not, well, Cluster of Grapes Day.  

The reliable stars, trainers Bret Calhoun and Steve Asmussen, split the two stakes for 2-year-olds. Asmussen won the fillies' division of the Texas Stallion Stakes with Valid Lilly and Calhoun the colts' division with Gold Coyote.  Winning by 10 lengths, Gold Coyote established himself as a racehorse with a bright future that won't necessarily restrict him to Texas-bred company. He gave what was arguably the best performance by a 2-year-old during Lone Star’s regular season since Wild Hits won the Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity by more than nine lengths in 2000.

Owned and bred by Clarence Scharbauer Jr. of Midland and Alysheba fame, Gold Coyote dueled with Five Alarm, a stablemate, for about three-eighths of a mile. His rider, Ramsey Zimmerman, said afterward that he looked around and saw that only the stablemate was close and that Five Alarm was empty. From there, Gold Coyote cruised, completing the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.04, or about eight lengths faster than Valid Lilly's winning time (1:04.76) against fillies.

“His physical scope, his build, his attitude -- everything about him suggests he'll be able to run farther," Calhoun said about the latest star in his barn.  

Bret Calhoun won two other stakes on the day, the $50,000 Allen Bogan Memorial with Sweet Idea and the $50,000 Harold Goodman Memorial with Austin Lights. With three victories, Calhoun regained a clear lead in the trainers' race 48-46 over Asmussen. 

The Texas Stallion races also suggested that a major reason for the success of the track's leading trainers is indeed their 2-year-olds. So far this Lone Star season, Calhoun has won 10 races for juveniles and Asmussen nine. Together, they've won 42 percent of all the local races for 2-year-olds.