McPeek Sends Blueridge Traveler for Maxxam Gold Cup
A small but quality group of six horses is set to face off in Saturday’s $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup Stakes going nine furlongs at Sam Houston Race Park.Leading the charge is the lightly-raced four-year-old Blueridge Traveler, who hails from the barn of trainer Kenny McPeek. The consistent son of To Honor and Serve has finished in the top three in every one of his last eight starts, including a game runner-up effort in the 2017 Spiral Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park.
Following a seven-month layoff, Blueridge Traveler returned to action in October, winning an 8.5-furlong allowance race at Keeneland by a neck. He’s since run well in three similar races, culminating with a late-running triumph in an Oaklawn Park allowance race just two weeks ago. That race was contested over a sloppy, sealed track, and Blueridge Traveler received an ideal pace setup, but he’s got an edge in speed figures and looms as the horse to beat. Jockey Channing Hill has the mount.
Social Misfit, a nine-year-old veteran of 59 starts, will be seeking his first stakes victory after placing in five previous stakes events, including the LA Bred Premier Night Championship Stakes on February 10th. Social Misfit has stepped up his game since being claimed by trainer Karl Broberg last summer and will have Iram Vargas Diego—one of Sam Houston’s leading jockeys—in the saddle.
Also in the mix is Net Gain, a multiple stakes winner trained by Clinton Stuart. Although Net Gain has been running on grass as of late—he won the Unbridled Stakes over the Louisiana Downs turf course last September—he also has back class on dirt, with a decisive victory in the 2015 Iowa Breeders’ Derby at Prairie Meadows among his biggest triumphs. Jockey Glenn Corbett, who was aboard Net Gain in the Unbridled Stakes, is set to be reunited with the gelding for the first time since then.
An interesting newcomer stepping up in class is Franco, who is just half a length away from being unbeaten in five starts. The four-year-old gelding has raced exclusively in Ohio thus far, but has shown a lot of grit in the homestretch and possesses a strong finish, two factors that could put him in contention while making his stakes debut.
Holiday Mischief, the only horse in the Maxxam Gold Cup to have previously won a race at Sam Houston, and Hyper Drive, a three-time stakes winner at Remington Park and Will Rogers Downs, complete the field. Projected post time is 10:16 p.m. Eastern.