Alumni Hall Gets Noticed in Black Tie Affair

(from Arlington Park report)
Farish, Elkins & Webber's Alumni Hall, far back early, took command in mid-stretch to win the $75,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap by 2 ½ lengths on Saturday at Arlington Park.

With Robby Albarado in the irons, the son of A.P. Indy covered the 1 1/8-mile test over a fast track in 1:49.46.

The victory was the first in stakes competition and fourth in five starts overall for Alumni Hall, who didn't make his career debut until his 5-year-old season. The $45,000 winner's share boosted his bankroll to $149,340.

"I was thrilled with his race," said winning trainer Neil Howard. "We had a lot of little problems with him at the beginning of his career and it's nice to see him coming around."

Alumni Hall was content to sit well off the early pace set by 33-1 shot Fighting Indians, who led for three-quarters of a mile through fractions of 24.31 seconds, 47.67 seconds and 1:11.85 before fading to last in the seven-horse field. Alumni Hall inched closer on the second turn and took the lead approaching the eighth pole and was drawing away at the wire.

Illinois-bred Wiggins, ridden by Eusebio Razo Jr., rallied to get up for second, a half-length to the good of Stratostar, who finished third with Larry Sterling. Scooter Roach, Act of War, River Mountain Rd and Fighting Indians completed the order of finish.

Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, Alumi Hall paid $3.20, $2.40 and $2.10. Wiggins returned $3.20 and $2.60. Stratostar paid $3.

(Chart, Equibase)