The $100,000 MAXXAM Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park Closes With 30 Nominations

(January 18, 2007) - Nominations have closed for the MAXXAM Gold Cup, one of the premier races of the Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meeting. The mile and one-eighth contest will take place on Saturday, January 27, 2007 and the ten-race card will also feature the $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff for fillies and mares.

The MAXXAM Gold Cup closed with 30 nominations, including defending champion, Middleweight, who came off the pace and captured the 2006 edition of the stakes for trainer Al Stall, Jr. and owners Stewart M. Madison and Peter Gaffney. Trainer Neil Howard, who won the 2005 edition of the MAXXAM Gold Cup with Alumni Hall, has nominated Patriot Act and Student Council. Both are owned by William S. Farish and have solid credentials. Patriot Act has hit the board in each of his last three starts, including his third place finish in the $75,000 Louisiana Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Fair Grounds on January 6. Student Council is a 5-year-old son of Kingmambo and will be seeking his first stakes win. He just won an allowance on January 4 at Fair Grounds, improving his lifetime record to four wins from 15 starts.

Sandburr has run well at Sam Houston Race Park for trainer Michael Stidham. His last appearance at the northwest Houston racetrack was on December 2 when he captured the $100,000 Star of Texas Stakes on Texas Champions Day. The 8-year-old son of Sandpit added another stakes win to his resume’ when he won the $75,000 Louisiana Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Fair Grounds for owners Feel The Thunder Stable.

Steve Asmussen, who has won the training title at Sam Houston Race Park a record five times, has nominated More Than Regal and Real Dandy. Trainer Bobby Barnett, who has won three previous runnings of the MAXXAM Gold Cup, has nominated Golden Glen, a 6-year-old son of Forestry, who made his last start on November 26 at Churchill Downs.

Two Florida horses are nominated and may ship in for the MAXXAM Gold Cup. Tap Dancing Mauk is currently stabled at Gulfstream Park for trainer Eduardo Caramori. He won the $200,000 Zia Park Distance Championship on December 10 and his owners, Mauk One Racing Stable are seriously considering sending him to Houston for next weekend’s stakes. Demeteor, owned and trained by Kenneth E. Hoffman, is another Florida-based horse that has been nominated. Demeteor has run well on turf and dirt, finishing second in the 2005 Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder Race Course.

The MAXXAM Gold Cup has a rich history at Sam Houston Race Park. Previous champions include the Oklahoma-bred Mr Ross who became a millionaire with his victory in the 2002 edition of the race. In 2003, the MAXXAM Gold Cup attracted three horses that had competed in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, Valhol, Arctic Boy and Fifty Stars. The 7-year-old Valhol, who had dogged the controversy surrounding his win in the 1999 Arkansas Derby, was brilliant in his MAXXAM victory for trainer Dallas Keen and owner James D. Jackson.

Two years ago, the MAXXAM Gold Cup belonged to Alumni Hall, a son of A. P. Indy, conditioned by Neil Howard and ridden by Robby Albarado. The striking chestnut Thoroughbred is owned noted Texans, Will Farish, W. Temple Webber and James Elkins. The multiple graded stakes winner was retired last year and stands at Lanes End in Versailles, Kentucky.

The draws for the MAXXAM Gold Cup and Sam Houston Distaff will take place on Wednesday, January 24. Post time for the Saturday, January 27 card is 7:00 p.m. Racing fans are invited to participate in the $500 MAXXAM Gold Cup Handicapping Contest featuring four Sunshine Millions stakes races in addition to the MAXXAM Gold Cup and Sam Houston Distaff.

MAXXAM Gold Cup Champions

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Time
1994 Meena Curt Bourque Bobby Barnett 1:49.58
1995 Vindictive Silence Corey Lanerie Jim Baldwin 1:49.38
1996 Meena Carlos Gonzalez Bobby Barnett 1:49.85
1997 Lost Soldier Terry Stanton Bobby Barnett 1:48.75
1998 Scott's Scoundrel Gerard Melancon Paul Pellerin 1:48.76
1999 Western Trader Carlos Gonzalez Bobby Barnett 1:49.93
2000 Allen's Oop Willie Martinez Dallas Keen 1:49.55
2001 Vilaxy Steve Bourque Harold Hahn 1:51.19
2002 Mr Ross Don Pettinger Donnie Von Hemel 1:49.94
2003 Valhol Robby Albarado Dallas Keen 1:49.18
Sir Cherokee Terry Thompson Michael Tomlinson 1:51.76
2005 Alumni Hall Robby Albarado Neil Howard 1:51.10
2006 Middleweight Gerard Melancon Al Stall, Jr. 1:52.02

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