Student Council
-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography

Christmas Lily
-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography

Student Council Wins His First Stakes in the $100,000 MAXXAM Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park

(January 27, 2007) - Two years ago, prominent horseman Will S. Farish, in partnership with W. Temple Webber and James Elkins, won the $100,000 MAXXAM Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park. Tonight another Farish homebred, Student Council, blazed to victory under Farish’s yellow and green silks. Like Alumni Hall, Student Council is a late-developing runner and tonight the 5-year-old son of Kingmambo, captured the first stakes of his career under a brilliant ride by Robby Albarado.

Student Council came into the race with allowance wins at Turfway Park and Keeneland and scored his most recent victory on January 4 at Fair Grounds. Robby Albarado, who rode him to victory three weeks ago in New Orleans, was confident that his mount was ready for stakes company. Over the track listed as good due to heavy rainfall throughout the week, Student Council was rated nicely by Albarado in the early stakes of the race. The first quarter was run in :23.12 and the half-mile in :47.63. He began mounting a serious bid on the far turn and drew off, crossing the wire of the mile and one-eighth feature in 1:51.89.

"He ran a huge race last time at Fair Grounds,” acknowledged Albarado. “He galloped out awfully nice and the mile and one-eighth suited him well. His running style was great for this race. He was forwardly placed on the backside and everything fell into place and it was a perfect opportunity to win him a stakes. Sam Houston has always done a great job with the facility; the track and turf course are some of the best in the country."

Joe DeSantis, assistant to Neil Howard, accompanied Student Council to Sam Houston Race Park and echoed Albarado’s praise of the 5-year-old.

"It's been a long time coming,” said DeSantis. “He's a late-maturing colt and is really coming around. He was so good today; he was acting very professional at the barn and this was a real turnaround for him. He has never had a problem shipping and just showed a lot of maturity tonight."

Mr. Pursuit, owned by Ilona Whetstone and trained by Joe Petalino, closed for second under rider Cliff Berry. He shipped into Houston off a three-race win streak at Remington Park last fall. He won back-to-back stakes in Oklahoma including the $250,000 Oklahoma Derby and the $75,000 Governor’s Cup, on November 28, his last race of the year

“I don’t think he liked the racetrack that much,” commented Petalino. “He’s never really done well in that kind of going. That’s probably the reason he dropped that far back out of it. He came at them at the end, though.”

Petalino indicated that the 4-year-old colt will make his next start at Oaklawn Park.

“I was in good shape in the first turn,” added Berry. “We were right behind the leaders. But then he kind of lost interest. I don’t know if it was the mud or what. He kind of backed out on me. I had to really get him shook up, then he came and finished pretty good. Robby (Albarado on Student Council) had a good spot, he was in the catbird seat. He had a pretty good jump on me. But once my horse woke up, he came on really good.”

Goosey Moose, who has always run well in state-bred company, gave a great account of himself tonight in the open ranks, finishing third under rider Don Simington.

"He ran a game race tonight. Danny had him set up just perfect; the race came up great. We just came up a little bit short."

Student Council, bet down as the post-time favorite, paid $5.80 for the win. He earned $60,000 tonight, increasing his lifetime bankroll to $196,176. Defending champion, Middleweight ran fourth followed by Laura’s Choice, More Than Regal, Real Echo, Golden Glen, Charming Socialite and Andanight. Attendance for the ten-race card was 6,388 and the handle was $2,356,669, just shy of the $2,406,032 wagered on the 2006 MAXXAM card.

Christmas Lily Scores her First Stakes Victory in the $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff

The first stakes of the evening was the $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff, a 1 1/16 mile contest on the main track. A field of eight fillies and mares ran, and Christmas Lily, owned by B. Wayne Hughes, prevailed in an exciting stretch duel with Plaid. The 4-year-old filly is conditioned by Al Stall, Jr. and was ridden to victory by Jesse Campbell. The final time, on a good track, was 1:45.57.

"Big effort tonight,” said Campbell, who flew in from New Orleans, where he has been riding at Fair Grounds. “I thought she ran a much better race tonight; maybe she's just more seasoned. Al has done such a good job with her; backed off a little and did some things that really made a difference. Al told me to just ride her and put the race in her hands. Steve's horse came to me quick, but she fought hard and when I switched sticks, she dug back in. That's all you can ask."

Trainer Al Stall, Jr. watched the race on television from his base at Fair Grounds and was very pleased with the stakes victory of Christmas Lily.

"She's obviously a filly that runs well fresh,” commented Stall. “It's taken us a while to figure that out. After the allowance, we had this race in mind. We freshened her up and began cracking the whip over the last two weeks and she responded beautifully. Jesse gave her a great ride; he was very patient and to beat a classy mare (Plaid) was a big win for us. Now that she has earned black-type, she will be a great brood mare prospect for Mr. Hughes."

Plaid, a 6-year-old mare trained by Steve Asmussen, ran second. Roman Chapa, who rode the Deputy Commander mare to victory in the $83,000 Chaves City Stakes at Zia Park on November 26, dueled with the winner, but fell short by a neck at the wire.

“She ran really well,” stated Darren Fleming, assistant to Asmussen. “We can’t be disappointed in her, because she looked like she tried all she could. The pace was a little soft, and the winner had things her own way. We came up to her, and she just outfooted us home. (Jockey) Roman (Chapa) said about the same thing. He said she ran her heart out.”

Cliff Berry, rider of Sweet Idea, who was seeking her sixth win at the northwest Houston racetrack, commented on her fourth-place finish in tonight’s stakes.

"No excuses here; she warmed up fine, but once they headed her, she couldn't go with them."

Christmas Lily paid $10.40 to win as the third betting choice. The exacta with Plaid returned $32.00 and the trifecta with the fast-closing I B’s Halo returned $224.20. Sweet Idea ran fourth followed by Barbette, Olmosta, defending champion Culinary and Daddy’s Petunia.

No Live Racing on Super Bowl Sunday

Live racing resumes on Sunday, January 28 and continues on Friday, February 2 and Saturday, February 3. Sam Houston Race Park will be open for simulcasting on Super Bowl Sunday, February 4, but there will be no live racing.

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