01/23/2005 12:00AM

Alumni Hall wins Maxxam Gold Cup

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Jack Coady/Coady Photography
Alumni Hall wins the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday night.

Alumni Hall was prominent throughout for a three-quarter length win over Colonial Colony in the $100,000 at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday night. It was the second stakes win of the day for co-owner Will Farish, trainer Neil Howard and jockey Robby Albarado, who also teamed to win the $60,000 Truly Bound at Fair Grounds with Shadow Cast.

Toratora finished third in the Maxxam, two and three quarter lengths behind Colonial Colony.

Alumni Hall, the 4-5 favorite, tracked Toratora in second through fractions of 24.38 seconds for the opening quarter and 45.45 seconds for the half-mile mark. Alumni Hall took over from there, and went on to cover the mile and an eighth in 1:51.10. Alumni Hall won over a fast-closing Colonial Colony and paid $3.60.

He earned $60,000 for the win, and overall has now won 5 of 11 starts and $251,045. It was the second career stakes win for Alumni Hall, who is a full brother to Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner and millionaire Secret Status. In addition to Farish, Alumni Hall races for James Elkins Jr. and Temple Webber Jr.

Undercard sweep by Asmussen, Meche

Trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Donnie Meche swept the undercard stakes when Academic Angel ($6.80) was a neck winner of the $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff, and Two Down Automatic ($5.40) captured the $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Handicap. Asmussen also won stakes at Gulfstream and Oaklawn on Saturday.

Academic Angel was a neck winner over favorite Native Annie, covering the mile and a sixteenth in 1:46.14. She races for Cash Asmussen, and has now won 11 of 26 starts and $474,225.

Two Down Automatic was up for a head win over High Strike Zone, and he covered seven furlongs in 1:24.02. He has won 6 of 15 starts and $262,567 for Dapple Stables.

A cold front hit Houston on Saturday night, with high winds in the area and a temperature drop from 70 degrees to 40.