-photo by Jenifer Juelsgaard/Coady Photography

-photo by Sandra Beck/Coady Photography

Shon's Secret Captures the $40,000 Tomball Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park

Houston, Texas (February 11, 2006) - A field of nine fillies and mares took to the Connally Turf Course in tonight’s feature, the $40,000 Tomball Stakes. Shon’s Secret, bred and owned by Raymond Noteboom of Fort Worth, Texas, was the winner. Rider Filemon Rodriguez guided the 5-year mare to victory, crossing the wire of the mile and one-sixteenth contest in a time of 1:47.51.

Tonight’s performance was a major turnaround for the dark bay mare. Her last win was at Sam Houston Race Park on November 27, 2004, but she has been knocking at the door in efforts here and at Louisiana Downs. Her second place finish in the $75,000 Martanza Stakes last November was encouraging to trainer Ralph Irwin and he was delighted to see her win the first stakes of her career this evening.

“She has been progressing well over the last few months and the pace of tonight’s race set up perfectly for her,” said Irwin. “Filemon has done a wonderful job with her; he has soft hands and she runs well for him.”

Chromedoll with Bobby Walker, Jr.set the early pace, completing the first quarter in :25.78 and the half-mile in :50.95.

“I didn’t really want the early lead, but no one else was going, so we went,” said Walker. “She ran a real good race; just couldn’t hold off the winner.”

Marfa’s Taxes, owned by Ro Parra’s Millennium Farms and trained by Steve Asmussen, is no stranger to the Connally Turf course. The 9-year-old Texas-bred mare won back-to-back editions of the $50,000 San Jacinto Stakes, one of two Texas Champions Day turf events. She was unpressured in the early stages, but did not respond when rider Glen Murphy called on her.

“We got a nice clean trip,” commented Murphy. “This just wasn’t her day.”

“Glen was fine, it just didn’t look like her night,” added Darren Fleming, assistant to Asmussen. “She is older so where she goes next is up to Ro. I don’t know if he’s going to let her be a mom or keep her until next year.”

Shon’s Secret, sent off as the fourth betting choice, paid $9.80 to win, $5.20 to place and $3.40 to show. The 4-3 exacta returned $74.40 and the trifecta with 23-1 Brushbybaby paid $878.80. Completing the order of finish were Millibar, Leo’s Baroness, Jesse’s Gal, Marfa’s Taxes. Cookin’s Cast and Claudia’s Agenda.

Irwin was undecided on the next start for Shons Secret.

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