-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
|Cease Relished the Distance in the $150,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park
Houston, Texas (Saturday, March 3, 2012) - The $150,000 Maxxam Gold Cup has produced exceptional champions since its first running in 2004, and another rising star emerged this evening. Cease, an impeccably bred son of War Chant, closed ground in the final stages of the mile and one-eighth feature to earn his first black-type win for owner Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider.
The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred made his ninth lifetime start this evening for trainer Al Stall, Jr. He had run third in the Grade 3, Hawthorne Gold Cup and also competed in the 2011 Grade 2, Breeders' Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs. Stall wisely gave the mount to Glen Murphy, the current leading rider at Sam Houston Race Park. Murphy tucked Cease in a perfect stalking position behind Coyote Legend, who completed the first quarter mile in :24.04 and the half mile in 48.68. Chris Landeros kept Coyote Legend to task, but Murphy had too much horse as he surged on the outside and drew off to a 2 and 3/4 length victory. The final time was 1:50.52 over a fast track.
"You can just take one look at this horse and see that he is made for nine furlongs and beyond," said assistant trainer Glen Brookfield, who saddled the winner for Stall. "He's a classic horse; just bred for the distance. Al felt that the Fair Grounds race set him up beautifully for this. That is what we were pointing for."
Murphy has had a stellar meet, winning four races on the card, to further solidify his lead in the jockey standings over Gerardo Mora and Larry Taylor.
"I was pretty confident the whole way," said Murphy. "He was well underneath me; just seemed like he was on cruise control. I knew when I asked him, I could see daylight."
This was the second Maxxam victory for Stall, who won the 2005 edition in 2006 with Middleweight.
Coyote Legend had to settle for second at his first attempt at nine furlongs.
"He ran a great race," said Jay Severs, assistant to trainer Bret Calhoun. "We weren't sure he could get the distance, but he gave his all."
Coyote Legend, who captured the $100,000 Star of Texas Stakes here on January 21, earned $30,000 for his effort, increasing his exceptional career bankroll to $529,302 for his owner and breeder, Clarence Scharbauer, Jr.
Running third was longshot J J's Indy, who stayed close to the pace in the early stages of the race under rider Erik McNeil. Gleam of Hope ran fourth followed by Omniscient, Anaan, Bayboy and Col. Wright
Cease returned $7.40 as the third choice. He picked up a check for $90,000 for the victory, increasing his lifetime earnings to $243,388.