Sam Houston Race Park’s biggest day of racing is Sunday, January 28, and TwinSpires.com is celebrating with a BET BACK offer if your win bet finishes second (in races with at least 7 starters).
In addition to this great win betting opportunity, Sam Houston also offers a very player friendly 12% takeout on its multi-race wager bets. There are rolling doubles and Pick 3s, Pick 4s in races 2 & 7, and an all-stakes Pick 5 that begins in race 6. The stakes action begins in race 5. For handicapping information, CLICK HERE.
The feature is the Houston Ladies’ Classic, which attracted a solid field of older females going 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. #7 Actress will be the favorite and is one of two females I’d put in the “A” column of my multi-race bets. The other is #2 Martini Glass, who returns to dirt off a couple solid turf efforts, but the Speed Ratings clearly indicate that she is faster on dirt, and from a class perspective her runner-up finish a length behind champion Songbird easily fits with these.
#4 Valadorna is 5-to-2 on the morning line (between Actress’s 2-to-1 favortism and Martini Glass’s 7-to-2), and the one of the three logicals that I’m most willing to let beat me. She has a lot of wins on her page, which typically attracts action, but from a speed perspective she’s definitely not faster than my top two. At the price, I’ll play against the needed improvement.
As logical as the favorites look in the Ladies’ Classic, the day’s other graded stakes–the John B. Connally on turf for older males–looks to have upset potential, as both Flashy Chelsey and Highly Prized look capable at odds of at least 20-to-1. The former ships in for a barn that is good at these 1 1/2-mile turf events while the latter has the look of a horse who’s pointed to this spot for trainer Michael Stidham.
In the day’s other stakes action…
Groovy Stakes (race 5): Trainer Steve Asmussen is about 1-to-5 to win this race, and while most people will favor #8 Direct Dial, I actually prefer stablemate #3 Royal Reality at what figures to be at least triple the price. This race concludes the early Pick 4, and there’s no reason to look beyond these two.
Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint (race 6): Similar to the previous race, this has the look of a two-horse with either #7 Hogy or #12 American Sailor likely to get the job done and kick off the Pick 5.
Bara Lass Stakes (race 7): The most likely winner of the day is #3 She’s Pretty Lucky who takes on Texas-bred fillies following going 2 of 3 against open company, including a stakes win at Fair Grounds that lays over this group. She will be no more than 1-to-5 and might even be the rare 1-to-10 or 1-to-20 horse. A single in both the Pick 5 and Pick 4 if there ever was one.
Houston Distaff Stakes (race 10): Susie Bee is an understandable favorite here, but can she work out a trip? At the price, I’ll bet against it and take a flyer with #2 She’s Trickey who will have the race more her way and might scare some people off given her winless mark on turf while two-for-five on dirt. Her turf races are faster, though, and she’s worth using heavy in multis given then 15-to-1 morning line.