03/08/2007 1:00AM

Spartan Queen has gotten better


Spartan Queen returns to Sam Houston Race Park a more accomplished filly than when she left a few months ago. As a result she looks like a solid favorite in the $45,000 Sam Houston Oaks.

The one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies drew a field of nine, including stakes-placed runners Lilly Ladue, Katys Gold Touch, and Glamorous Cat. Also in the field is Meadowlanding, who was unplaced last out in the Grade 3 Silverbulletday and prior to that won a first-level allowance at Fair Grounds.

Spartan Queen won her maiden at Sam Houston in a 5 1/2-furlong race Dec. 10. She then traveled to Oaklawn, where she cruised to a 3o1/2-length win in a $75,000 optional claimer at six furlongs Jan. 26. From there, Spartan Queen made her two-turn debut in Oaklawn's $50,000 Martha Washington, and ran well to finish second to Devil House, who was winning her fifth straight race and is now headed to the Grade 2, $250,000 Fantasy at Oaklawn.

Spartan Queen, trained by Steve Asmussen, drew post 7. She has tactical speed and could get a tracking trip off Bold Angel, who stretches out around two turns.

Lilly Ladue was third last out to Wrenice in the $125,000 Two Altazano division of the Texas Stallion Stakes. She will break from the rail, and trainer Bret Calhoun has given the mount to leading rider Larry Taylor.