12/07/2005 12:00AM

Sam Houston track report


Jockey Larry Taylor's rise in Texas began with his success aboard Gold Storm in 2004, and his momentum has carried through to the current meet at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston.

Taylor leads all riders at the track with 26 wins from 111 starts. He won four races last Wednesday night, and his earnings total of $241,636 so far this meet tops all jockeys at Sam Houston. He came into the season on the heels of winning the riding title at Retama Park near San Antonio.

Taylor, 38, credits his agent, Travis Church, for "getting me on some pretty decent horses to ride. We've just been working hard, and it's paying off."

Taylor wins at an above-average rate in allowance and stakes races, and the higher-end purses are helping fuel what for him has been the best year of his career. So far in 2005, he has won 185 races, and his mounts have earned $2,130,148.

Those figures considerably trump his previous best year, 2004, when he won 122 races and his mounts earned $1,556,473. Taylor won multiple stakes aboard Gold Storm last year, including the Grade 3 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint.

At the young Sam Houston meet, Taylor's stakes wins have come aboard Slewpy's Storm in the $75,000 Martanza on Texas Champions Day on Nov. 19, and multiple stakes winner Charming Socialite in the $40,000 Buffalo Bayou on Nov. 5.

"Here recently, Charming Socialite, he's been my big horse," said Taylor. "He's matured a lot. He's kind of come to himself."

Taylor, born in Oklahoma and raised in Kansas, is a past title winner at River Downs.

* Dixie Meister, who won the $100,000 Star of Texas on Nov. 19, is being pointed for the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at 1 1/8 miles at Sam Houston on Jan. 21, said his trainer, Steve Asmussen.

Dixie Meister has raced around two turns twice at Sam Houston, resulting in wins in the Star of Texas and a division of the Texas Stallion Stakes. He was flattered last week when Dreamsandvisions, the third-place finisher in the Star, came back and won the $40,000 Conroe.