05/05/2011 1:36PM

Sam Houston Classic topped by red-hot The Louisiana Cartel

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The Louisiana Cartel has developed rapidly of late and will be a strong favorite to win his third straight race in the Grade 2, $50,000 Sam Houston Classic for Quarter Horses. The 440-yard stakes highlights a special afternoon card that begins at 1 p.m. Central.

The Louisiana Cartel made his first start of the year March 12 and won a 330-yard allowance at Sam Houston. He returned two weeks later and won by two lengths in the Grade 2, $100,260 Texas Challenge Championship. The race was run over 440 yards, and The Louisiana Cartel’s time of 21.35 seconds was two-hundredths of a second off the track record at Sam Houston.

The Louisiana Cartel defeated Grade 1 winner Acorn in the Texas Challenge Championship. Acorn, who made his season debut that day and his first start since December, returns for a rematch Saturday.

The Louisiana Cartel races for Sam Houston’s leading owner, Jorge Haddad. David Alvarez has the mount on the horse, who is also trained by Haddad.