03/17/2005 12:00AM

Sam Houston: Nuttyboom in nice spot


Nuttyboom, who four starts ago ran a career race at Sam Houston Race Park, will return to Houston for the $40,000 Spring Stakes. The seven-furlong race is restricted to horses bred in Texas and drew a well-matched field of 12.

Others in the race include stakes performers Charming Socialite, Record Assembly, and defending champ Catalissa.

Nuttyboom invades from Oaklawn, where in his last start he was a late-running second to the Grade 2-placed Pro Prado in a six-furlong optional claiming race. Nuttyboom finished three-quarters of a length back, in a race that went in a sharp 1:10.40.

Nuttyboom figures to benefit from the additional real estate he gets in the Spring. Nuttyboom also returns to the statebred ranks, and to Sam Houston, where he earned a career-best Beyer Figure of 104 for his win in an optional claiming race at 6 1/2 furlongs on Dec. 17.

Bobby Walker Jr. has the mount for trainer Ralph Irwin, who has won with 36 percent of his starters this meet at Sam Houston.

Charming Socialite indicated his readiness to return from a freshening late last month, when he worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:01.20. He was a winner the last time he raced against statebreds, taking the Spirit of Texas in November, and comes into the Spring on the heels of a big third-place finish in the Sam Houston Sprint Handicap for open company on Jan. 22.

Two Down Automatic won the race, with High Strike Zone, the runner-up, returning to win a stakes at Delta Downs in his next start. Larry Taylor will ride Charming Socialite for trainer Bill Pettit.