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And they are off! Opening night picks and analysis for Sam Houston Race Park

Live racing returns to Sam Houston Race Park on Friday night with a nine-race thoroughbred card. It looks to be another outstanding meet. The Blitz will broadcast live on Friday from 4-7 p.m., and I will be hosting the ESPN Zone party on Saturday from 6-8 p.m. We will be having a free handicapping contest that night, and I will offer free insight on the card. Please drop by, even if you did not win the tickets.

Here we go:

These are the same picks you can get on the free tip sheet available  at and on track. They are not meant to necessarily be in exact order, but more an opinion on likely winners. On some cards I will go more in depth than what we have on the tip sheet, because all we are doing there is basically picking the top four and putting in a brief comment. For the big cards I will likely do full guides, at least on the stakes races. I will give suggested horses to use more than specific plays. I am assuming you have some knowledge or have listened to Acing Racing 2016.

Some days I will simply post what I have sent to the track. I will add information when I can (such as the “digging deeper” feature below, but it will come down to how much other work I have to deal with on a given day). Also, I have to do these early in the week, so I am always assuming a fast track. Check back here or on Twitter for days when races are off the turf and the track is sloppy for updates.

So here we go for opening night.



Second-timer starter STREET THOUGHTS should improve for Broberg, who will win a lot of races.

Digging deeper: I like the 5 horse to win and place at 5-2 or so. Also would toss the 2 in the ticket if you are doing trifectas. If you are bold on the pick three single the five to start the sequence.



SMASHBOX has struggled in last two but return to turf should make a difference.

Digging deeper: Smashbox looks like the horse to beat, but for a pick three long shot, I would also use No. 2 Westex, whose last turf effort at Evangeline was strong. I would also include the 7. If this race comes off the turf, I like the 3 quite a bit.



Wide open. Will take a flyer on OLIVER G, who should be making a late run.

Digging deeper: This is a race to spread out in the pick 3s and 4s. I would use the top four along with the 6 and 10.



HUALAHUISES should get a nice trip behind the speed and fits well here

Digging deeper: This is not an attractive race to play. Hard to get past the 1 and 3, both of which will be short prices.



MR. CAMPO drops in class and offers nice value with a clean trip

Digging deeper: Another race I am not investing a lot in. I like the 7 keyed first and second in tris with the other contenders and the ALL ball in third, but make sure you are getting at least 3-1.



VISUAL DELIGHT has faced tough customers and should fit well here

Digging deeper: Hard to get past this 6 horse, but the 3 might surprise. Neither offers a ton of value at the window, however. If this race comes off the turf, we will use the 1 and 3 instead.



NEXT HAL COMIN is coming off a sneaky good race and should be a juicy price.

Digging deeper: Like the 1 horse quite a bit to be part of this and will key him in trifectas first and with the 3-8-9-10 and the 2-3-5-6-7-8-9-10 in third.



No. 5 TEXAS BELLE loves this track and picks up a solid turf rider

Digging deeper: Dagny is going to take most of the money here, but Texas Belle is 4-1-2-1 over the surface, gets an excellent turf rider in Nolan and should be in the mix. I would use the top 2 in pick 3s and fours but do not ignore No. 6 Slew’s Song, who has four wins in 10 tries over the SHRP grass. If this comes off the grass, I love the 1 Easter Elle.



POWERFUL TANK WAR is in good form and has a win over the surface.

Digging deeper: This horse (No. 3) really caught my eye last meet as one that could really be something if he could ever put it together. It looks like he has. The 5 horse will also be tough. But if you want a couple long shots to throw in to the tris and pick 3s and 4s, use the 7 Dusty Rider (2 for 2 at Sam) and the 9 Nym (a win and a second in five tries here). Also would toss the 4 and 10 on my tickets as big price horses that could surprise.

Good luck!












2 Comments on And they are off! Opening night picks and analysis for Sam Houston Race Park

  1. Assuming with all the rain expected/occurring the track will be slop. Any changes to be made here? You’re on air now, will the race still go off if weather gets worse?


  2. How did your opening night prediction go?


3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Handicapping the title games, tweaking my Canadian friends, Florida (of course) and more: The update for Jan. 20 –
  2. Sam Houston Race Park picks for Saturday, Jan. 21 –
  3. Sam Houston Race Park selections for Tuesday, Jan. 24 –

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