02/22/2006 1:00AM

Sam Houston track report


When Shons Secret picked up her first stakes win in Saturday night's $40,000 Tomball at Sam Houston Race Park, the victory meant much more to her connections than just an increase in her residual value. Shons Secret lost her right eye as a yearling, and in overcoming the handicap she has become a favorite of many who have come in contact with her, said her trainer, Ralph Irwin.

"They're all special, but she's one of those that, when she does something like the Tomball Stakes, it just means even more," said Irwin.

Shons Secret won on turf in the Tomball, and in her prior start, on dirt at Sam Houston, she finished second in the $75,000 Martanza on Texas Champions Day in November.

Irwin said it took Shons Secret a while to adjust to life at the track.

"When she first came into the barn, she was quite skittish," he said. "She was not real trustworthy on that side. We had the boys - every time they'd walk by, just pet on her, just spend five seconds with her."

Shons Secret gained confidence and has gone on to win 5 of 18 starts and $89,350. Shons Secret races for her breeder, Ray Noteboom.

Noteboom and his sons Cary and Steve are partners in Noteboom Farms in Burleson, Texas. Other stakes performers the Notebooms bred and race include the promising Stormin Gold and Nuttyboom, who could make his next start in the $40,000 Spring Stakes at Sam Houston on March 18, said Irwin.

* Don Thompson, stakes coordinator for Sam Houston, will be in Florida this weekend recruiting horses for the Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf at 1 1/8 miles on April 8. He will be at Palm Meadows Training Center on Friday, Gulfstream Park on Saturday, and Calder Race Course on Sunday.