After a few weeks of rough weather in the Lone Star State, racing will return to Sam Houston Wednesday. 12 races are on the slate as they look to make up for lost time, and the late Pick Four begins in the ninth. With an ultra-low 12% takeout and a single that goes against a 6/5 morning line favorite, I think there’s a lot to like about this sequence, and I’ll attack it with a $24 ticket that looks like this…
RACE #9: We’ll kick things off with a $7,500 claiming event for older horses that has drawn a field of 10 horses and nine betting interests. I’m going three-deep, and my top pick is a juicy 6-1 on the morning line.
#4 STEPHEN’S ANSWER takes a big drop in class for a barn that tends to be very aggressive with its stock. He was 10-1 in a $100,000 stakes race two back and faded when setting a very fast pace at Oaklawn Park last time out. These are far shallower waters, and I think he’ll be the one they have to catch.
The entry of #1 ROCKANDAHARDPLACE and #1A CLOSE TO MIDNIGHT is on my ticket, as are #6 SPANISH HOMBRE, the likely favorite, and #7 KNOWYOUROPTIONS, who got quite good late last year at Remington Park. Spanish Hombre has won two of his last four starts in California and has a recent half-mile work that jumps off the page. The question is, can he go this far on dirt?
RACE #10: My biggest stand comes in this maiden claiming race. I want no part of #3 TEXAS CROSSBOW, who has had many chances to graduate out of the maiden ranks and attracts a rider that’s just 1-for-37 on the meet. I think there’s money to be made going against him, and I like the 9/2 second choice enough to make him a single.
#5 GOOD RIDE COWBOY debuted in a tough spot for the level two back at Fair Grounds. He was fourth behind a pair of next-out winners, and that was enough to make him an even-money favorite here last month. He was eased that day, and given that he’s since been gelded, I have no problem drawing a line through that effort. Anything close to the promise he showed in his first-out effort would give him a big shot, and if Texas Crossbow loses, a lot of tickets will go up in smoke.
RACE #11: Singling in the second leg allows me to spread here, and this is a good thing. It’s a maiden claimer for turf sprinters, and I’ll state right now that I handicapped this as though it will stay on the grass. If it does not, adjust your handicapping accordingly.
I’m six-deep, and my tepid top pick is #8 THINKITASADONATION, who ran a decent second last time out in his first start since late-2019. His 300 turf Tomlinson figure indicates that the grass will not be a problem, and while he has some tactical speed, he’s shown he doesn’t necessarily need the lead in order to run well.
I’m also using #2 SATIN FINISH, #5 FURTHER LANE, #7 PINK POSSE, #10 SCATTERED MIST, and #11 SHANNY GO NANNY. I haven’t the slightest idea which runner will go favored, given that many runners in here are trying the turf for the first time, and I’m hoping we can catch a price and move on.
RACE #12: We’ll finish things off with a claiming race for older fillies and mares that’s attracted a field of nine. I’m going two-deep to finish it off, and I’m using two of the likely favorites.
#3 ZOE’S GOLDLADY is a logical choice. She takes a drop back into the claiming ranks and may not have loved the mud earlier this month when she trailed against state-bred allowance foes. Her race two back against open $12,500 claimers was fine, and a repeat of that effort would make her a major player.
I’ll also use #6 RUN ON GIRL, who showed some speed in her first start since August when third against similar company. There certainly doesn’t seem to be much zip signed on here, and she may be the one to catch in a field consisting of many horses that may not want to pass others. If she hits the front and dictates terms, she could be tough.
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