02/09/2006 1:00AM

Sam Houston: Three contenders


The leading contenders in the $40,000 Tomball, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Texas-bred fillies and mares at Sam Houston Race Park, are at different points in their careers. Marfa's Taxes, the 9-year-old who could be the favorite, is the senior member of the field. Millibar is the baby, with 2 wins in 3 career starts. And stakes winner Claudia's Agenda fits somewhere in between, with 5 wins in 20 starts and earnings of $78,015.

Marfa's Taxes, a winner of $202,249, did not show her age last out, rallying from next to last to win the $50,000 San Jacinto for Texas-breds on turf on the Texas Champions Day program at Sam Houston on Nov. 19. Since that race, she has been working at Sam Houston. Trainer Steve Asmussen has given the mount to Glen Murphy.

Millibar, 4, will be making her turf debut in the Tomball. She won her debut over 5 1/2 furlongs, then was third in her first start around two turns. She won an entry-level allowance in her last start, on Jan. 22. Millibar worked four furlongs in a bullet 48.20 seconds in her final prep for the Tomball. Trainer Michael Stidham has given the mount to Ted Gondron.

Claudia's Angel, trained by Paul Murphy, moves back to the Texas-bred ranks after facing open company last time, as does another contender, Leo's Baroness.

Another stakes-placed filly who fits well is Shons Secret, a close third last time out in an optional claiming allowance at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs.