02/23/2012 3:02PM

Sam Houston: Puddy Tap steps up for Distaff

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Puddy Tap has done little wrong in four career starts. She’s won at one turn and two, has never been worse than second, and has put up a string of consistent Beyer Speed Figures. She gets a shot at stakes competition Saturday night in the $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff at Sam Houston Race Park.

Puddy Tap is part of a five-horse field in the 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares. Others set to start include Always in My Heart and Miss Hockaday, who both move back to dirt following respective third- and fourth-place finishes in the $50,000 Jersey Lily on turf earlier this month at Sam Houston.

Puddy Tap invades from Fair Grounds, where she won a $17,500 optional claiming route by three lengths Jan. 25. She stalked the pace under regular rider Corey Lanerie, then darted clear at 1-5.

“We really like this filly,” said Steve Margolis, who trains Puddy Tap for Robert and Lawana Low. “She is a big, good-looking racehorse and has been training well. We think she is definitely ready to step up to stakes company.”

Puddy Tap, a 4-year-old by Tapit, will break from the rail. To her immediate outside is Always in My Heart, who was rolling through the stretch in the Jersey Lily. Always in My Heart is a two-time winner on turf, but she also is a multiple winner on dirt and in June was third in the $100,000 Iowa Distaff. Glen Murphy has the mount for Pin Oak Stable and trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

◗ Sam Houston announced Thursday that purses will be increased $1,000 a race over the final three weeks of the meet. The boost is due to double-digit gains in handle. Sam Houston races through March 12.