Youthful runners and experienced contenders will go head-to-head at Sam Houston Race Park Jan. 26, when 7-year-old horses and 4-year-old colts mix it up in the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup Handicap.
Three runners from each age group are represented in the 1 1/8-mile Gold Cup’s six -horse field. Leading the younger division as the 119-pound highweight is Cathy and Bob Zollars’ Reporting for Duty, a 4-year-old son of Deputy Commander bred in Kentucky by McMillin Brothers and James Devaney.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, the colt comes into the race off the first stakes win of his career, a 4 ½-length victory in the Zia Park Derby Stakes Dec. 8. Last year he was second in the Illinois Derby (gr. II), third in the Ohio Derby (gr. II), and second in the Oklahoma Derby before he scored the Zia Park win.
Another intriguing 4-year-old contender is the Larry Jones-trained Honest Man, a son of Unbridled's Song bred in Kentucky by Racehorse Management. Owned by WinStar Farm and Fox Hill Farm, the $700,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase is on a three-race winning streak since breaking his maiden at Philadelphia Park last November. He makes his first start in black -type company after winning a 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claiming event at Fair Grounds Jan. 5.
The leading 7-year-old runner in the field is Tap Dancing Mauk, the Louis Quatorze gelding who won consecutive runnings of the Zia Park Distance Championship Handicap in 2006 and 2007. Bred in Kentucky by Glencrest Farm, the Dale Romans-trainee turned in a record-setting performance in the Dec. 9 running of the Distance Championship Handicap, running 1 1/8-miles in 1:51 flat to eclipse his own record set in the same event in 2006.
Second in the Distance Championship Handicap was Asmussen’s Red Rock Creek. The 7-year-old Numerous gelding was 1 ¼-lengths behind Tap Dancing Mauk, and returned from that effort to win a starter allowance at Fair Grounds Jan. 1. Bred in Kentucky by Jim Nelson, Red Rock Creek seeks his first stakes victory after winning 17 races in 48 starts.
Israel Flores’ 7-year-old Goosey Moose and Kamal Sheena’s 4-year-old Gold Wonder complete the field.
$100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup Handicap (race 8, approximate post 10:02 p.m. CST), 1 1/8-miles for 4-year-olds and upward, dirt
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey Name
1. Reporting for Duty, 119, Luis Quinonez
2. Tap Dancing Mauk, 118, Casey Lambert
3. Goosey Moose, 115, Quincy Hamilton
4. Red Rock Creek, 116, Jose Figueroa
5. Gold Wonder, 114, Eguard Tejera
6. Honest Man, 114, Gabriel Saez