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Taptam Returns to Texas

Sam Houston Race Park begins its 27-day season tonight, and Saturday the track will present its Texas Champions program. The seven stakes worth $400,000 have attracted some state champions, running reminders of just how good racehorses from Texas can be.

But, more than anything, the stakes convincingly demonstrate the efficacy of high purses in attracting quality horses.

The richest race Saturday in Houston will be the $100,000 Star of Texas Stakes, which matches Texas' champion older male, Quiet Again, and the champion older female, Taptam. Texas' horse of the year for 2010, Taptam earned $262,942 while winning two stakes, the Pippin at Oaklawn Park and the Wigwam at Hoosier Downs. She also finished second behind the great Zenyatta in Oaklawn's Apple Blossom Handicap.

But Taptam didn't win in Texas last year. The Texas horse of the year, didn't even race in Texaslast year. And Quiet Again raced only once in the state, finishing third in the Carter McGregor Stakes at Lone Star; he made his other nine starts of 2010 in New Mexico while earning $163,200.

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