Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Sunday, January 28, 2018
Sam Houston Race Park
Danonymous Racing is heading deep in the heart of Texas on this Sunday, as it’s the biggest day of the year at Sam Houston Race Park. They’ve got a stacked 10-race card, including four stakes races. The first race will go off at 12:10 PM CST, with the big ones, the John Connally Turf Cup and the Houston Ladies Classic, going off at 3:40 PM CST and 4:10 PM CST, respectively.
Not only that, we’ve got Jason Wood (@JasonWWood) providing FREE picks & analysis of all the action. We thank Jason for providing his thoughts to the site today. Be sure to check out @SHRPRacing for updates throughout the racing day. Good luck to everyone playing along out there!
Sam Houston Race Park celebrates the richest day in Texas racing Sunday with the Houston Racing Festival. A 10-race card, which is highlighted by the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup and Grade 3 Houston Ladies Classic, will have bettors and spectators on the edge of their seats all day. First post is 12:10 PM CST.
Race 1: Claiming, $15,000, 4yo & up, f & m, 1 mile (Turf)
9- Witt Seven: Starting off chalky here but can’t ignore her resume of turf. The drop in class only makes this a more appealing option for a winner in the first. Looks great since returning to Houston and should find the winner’s circle soon.
3- Songs Sung Blue: An impressive maiden-breaking win in the race before last puts this grey daughter of My Golden Song on my radar. She gets major class relief here and should come charging home late.
2- Flying Magic Song: Texas-bred only has a pair of turf starts but ran well in both. The class drop here suits her nicely. I will hope for some value on the board.
Race 2: Maiden, $20,000, 4yo & up, 6 Furlongs
7- Oratory Lights: First-time starter is 0-for-0, which is a pretty good record compared to most in this field. I will take the chance here and hope the success of his sire carries over. That last work of 49 and change gives me hope that it will.
3- Song Captain: Has shown little on either surface but does seem to be improving. Sometimes a race like this is the perfect prescription to break the maiden.
4- Trail My Tail: Part of me just wants to trust our morning line oddsmaker on this fella. He shows speed, which is why I like him to at least hit the board.
Race 3: Claiming, $15,000, 4yo & up, 5 Furlongs (Turf)
7- Tacola: A pair of nice allowance turf appearances last fall has this horse at the top of my ticket. The recent works here in Houston don’t hurt either. This post should keep him out of trouble and in the winner’s circle.
10- Colour My World: Finished third last out but a really respectable showing. Rallied but just hung out in the stretch. I would not be surprised to see Guerra send this horse to the early lead.
9- Meshuga: MeMoney. I liked this gelding a lot last week but may have needed that one. He seems to run best after a short layoff, which he gets here. I am hoping for some value to spice up the trifecta.
Race 4: Claiming, $5,000, 4yo & up, 5 Furlongs
4- Scatterthediamonds: Major class relief here and has shown to be highly competitive at this level. I will toss that last as horse does not seem to like the grass. I look for a big effort out of this one Sunday afternoon.
5- Ghost City King: Never overlook the Asmussen/Diego combo. I will probably say that several times in this post! Coming right back after a great win last week. No reason to look elsewhere.
1- Smoking Romance: The best-looking part of the double entry should will round out my winning trifecta here and send me into the stakes on a good note. Will break just to outside of the main threat in this race so I look for Cabrera to apply to pressure early and often. May just run out of gas late and settle for show.
Race 5: Groovy Stakes, $50,000, 3yo TX-bred, 6 Furlongs
4- Gold Label: Toss that last race over the slop at Delta Downs, an off track and coming off a layoff. I will go back to that maiden performance where he won impressively over state company last summer. Has looked great since arriving at SHRP and should be ready to fire.
8- Direct Dial: Buyer beware if you try to overlook this trainer-jockey combo at SHRP. Asmussen-Diego consistently hit the board and frequently visit the winners circle. Coming off of a nice win in the Texas Stallion Stakes last November.
10- Redatory: His sire Oratory was a fantastic runner and it appears this guy has inherited that same potential. The tenth-place finish in the last race does not scare me from using him in a trifecta here because he should prefer the cut-back to a 1-turn sprint.
Race 6: Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint, $75,000, 4yo & up, 5 Furlongs (Turf)
7- Hogy: My boy! I was there at AP when he broke his maiden in 2011 and have followed him every step of the way. He finished second in this one last year and is back for revenge. Look for a closing kick in the final yards of the race.
5- Imma Bling: The only Texas-bred in this race, but his sire Too Much Bling is a force to be reckoned with here in the Lone Star State. Imma Bling has speed regardless of the surface but shows a liking for the turf. May try to lead gate to wire in this affair.
12-American Sailor: Don’t like the outside post here but still a top-notch talent in this deep field. I saw him first-hand at Laurel last fall and was very impressed. If he returns to form he can hit the board if not more.
Race 7: Bara Lass Stakes, $50,000, 3yo TX-bred, Fillies, 6 Furlongs
3- She’s Pretty Lucky: Geroux and a fast filly, need I say more? This daughter out of Looking At Lucky has displayed her class early in her career. There is a lot to like here especially now that she has shown she doesn’t need to press to win.
6- Howboutthiscowgirl: Clearly prefers the sprinting distance, winning 3 out of 4 races at 6 furlongs or less. Hope that ninth-place finish gets her overlooked for a little value.
7- Dees Loca Motion: Saying it a lot today but toss that race over the turf. Luzzi is off to a fast start in his debut season at SHRP and will have this filly in the right position to add some value to the exotics.
Race 8: John B. Connally Turf Cup (Grade III), $200,000, 4yo & up, 1 1/2 mile (Turf)
3- Big Bend: Looking for value here. Undefeated at this distance including a thrilling performance in the Sycamore last fall at Keeneland. Seems to be best on the lead, which is where Geroux does some of his best turf riding.
7- Chicago Style: Surprising second choice in the morning line has won 5 of 8 lifetime. While the name may not suggest it, this guy is out of Kitten’s Joy and we know what that means in these turf marathons!
9- Bigger Picture: The returning champ is back for more. Gelding has a superb year in 2017 but ended with a clunker against much better in the BC Turf. Has trained sharply since and looks primed for another run at the title.
Race 9: Houston Ladies Classic (Grade III), $400,000, 4yo & up, f & m, 1 1/16 mile
2- Martini Glass: Get the olives ready in the winner’s circle! She is working nicely in the lead-up to this race and may be happy to return to the dirt. Inside post suits her in a race that may not have a ton of early speed.
4- Valadorna: Lightly raced 4yo looks better and better every time I look at this race. This Casse-trainee seems to have found something in the last two races but will need best effort to beat this field.
7- Actress: Tough, tough spot to pick here. There are at least 3 other mares who I think have a realistic chance of hitting the board. She may not get a ton speed to run down but showed that she be forwardly placed and hang on.
Race 10: Houston Distaff, $50,000, 4yo & up, f & m, 1 1/16 mile (Turf)
4- Peru (GB): Been consistent since moving over to the Maker barn. He should have her in peak condition come post time. If the track holds any moisture from forecasted rains the night before, then she may leave everyone behind late.
3- Susie Bee: This could very well be Maker-exacta in the finale. This daughter of English Channel won at last ask. Only question will be this distance, she may come up just short.
8- Sully’s Dream: A little bit of a value here for a very talented mare. She prefers to be on or close to the lead. With an outside post, she may take to the lead, but can she hang on late?
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