12/04/2009 12:00AM

Calhoun strong on Texas Champions card

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Dustin Orona Photography
Bubbler wins a two-turn allowance at Remington on Oct. 25. She faces stakes rivals for the first time Saturday.P

Trainer Bret Calhoun will try to sweep the richest races on Saturday night's Texas Champions Day card at Sam Houston Race Park with two sharp fillies. Taptam will take on males in the $100,000 Star of Texas, while Bubbler will attempt to remain undefeated when she meets older fillies and mares in the $100,000 Gallery Furniture Distaff.

The Distaff is the lone open-company race on a card of eight stakes worth a cumulative $500,000. The program, which annually brings together some of the best horses bred in Texas, is the richest card of the meet at Sam Houston.

Taptam, who is a multiple stakes winner, rolled home by three lengths in a $35,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares at Remington Park in her last start Oct. 18. With no Texas-bred stakes for her division going long on dirt Saturday, her connections decided to test males in the 1 1/16-mile Star of Texas.

"We've been thinking about this for a while," said Calhoun, who trains Taptam for Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch. "She's in very good form right now, on top of her game. I think this is good spot for her."

Jamie Theriot will ride Taptam, who will break from post 8 in a field of 11.

"She's kind of a free-running filly," Calhoun said. "She doesn't have tremendous early speed, but she'll be in the race. I think she'll be within striking distance early, and hopefully, she'll keep running. One of her strong points is her stamina."

The chief threats appear to be stakes winners Ablaze With Spirit, Goosey Moose, and Valid Stripes.

Stakes debut for Bubbler

Bubbler has won her two starts by daylight at Remington Park, rolling home by six lengths in her debut Sept. 7, then coming back for a more than seven-length win in a two-turn allowance Oct. 25.

"She was very impressive sprinting first time out," Calhoun said of the 3-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor. "She was inside, had a lot of pressure outside, put up a lot of hot fractions and drew off.

"In the two-turn race, we got her in behind horses and she was impressive again."

Calhoun said he is looking forward to sending Bubbler 1 1/8 miles Saturday.

"Really, I don't think they can write them too far for her," he said. "We're pretty excited about her. She's an up and coming filly for us."

Bubbler is cross-entered in the Pago Hop on turf at Fair Grounds, but Calhoun said she will stay on dirt for the Distaff. Eddie Martin Jr. has the mount for Du-Zee Stables.

Pleasantly Blessed will make a rare main-track start in the Distaff. She won on dirt three starts ago in an off-the-turf allowance at Evangeline Downs. Shaun Bridgmohan has the mount for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Sweet and Flawless was fourth in the Grade 1 Alabama in August, won in blowout fashion by Careless Jewel.

Wrenice vs. Annie Savoy

Wrenice and Annie Savoy will start as the top choices in the $50,000 Yellow Rose, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares. Wrenice faced males last out in an allowance at Retama Park, and finished a close third while making her first start since July.

"She needed that race," said Randy Mayfield, who trains Wrenice. "She hadn't run in a while. She came out of it corded up good, got a lot of air out of it, and has bounced back real sharp. I'm looking for her to run a big race."

Annie Savoy won the Yellow Rose in 2007.

Gold Coyote tops Spirit of Texas

Gold Coyote is the one to beat in the $50,000 Spirit of Texas at six furlongs. He won a $50,000 optional claimer at Remington in a sharp 1:09 last out and was flattered when the third-place finisher, Steal Your Face, came back to win the $50,000 Silver Goblin.

Gold Coyote will break from post 7 in a field of 8, under Bobby Walker Jr.

"He drew a good post," Calhoun said. "Bobby can make the decisions he needs to make."

* General Charley returns to the statebred ranks for the first time in a long while for the $50,000 Richard King at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Eddie Perez has the mount for trainer Neil Pessin.

* Bud's Little Edge seeks her first stakes win in the $50,000 Bara Lass, a seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies that has been won on multiple occasions by her trainer, Steve Asmussen.

* Lydia's Last Step seeks a stakes win in his home state in the $50,000 Groovy after winning the $60,000 Governor's Cup last out in New Mexico. The Governor's Cup has produced three next-out winners at Zia and Remington.

* In the $50,000 San Jacinto for fillies and mares on turf, the top players appear to be the Danny Pish-trained pair of Formal Flyer and Fourstarattraction.