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Sam Houston Race Park selections for Saturday, Jan. 28 with additional detail not found on the tip sheet; plus a play for the Pegasus Cup

California Chrome tries to turn the tables on Arrogate.

Programming note: I will be hosting the ESPN Zone party on Sunday from noon-2 p.m. We will be having a free handicapping contest that day, and I will offer free insight on the card. Please drop by, even if you did not win the tickets.

How to use the picks: 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.


Overview: After a slow start last week, we absolutely mauled it Friday night. One of our better nights in a long time. Don’t expect that to happen every night, but hopefully we hit a few for you tonight. Not as fired up about to tonight’s card as I was last night’s and tomorrow’s, so will be playing light. We are on too many favorites tonight for my liking.

Also, at the bottom of this you will find a play for the Pegasus Cup at Gulfstream Park.


SHAMROCK EDGE comes from a barn that kills it with these types
Digging deeper: Won’t get much of a price here, but the 5 has been in Broberg’s barn for a few starts and he should improve quite a bit here. The 8 will take a lot of action, but I like the 1 and 7 to get a piece. Won’t play much here but a 1-5-7 exacta box and maybe a 5 with 1-4-7-8 with all trifecta play might be in order.
DUSTY RYDER is perfect over this surface and could surprise
Digging deeper: The 1, 2, 3 and 4 all look like they have a shot here. But we will take a flyer with long shot Dusty Ryder, the 5 horse. He comes off a poor effort where he was dusted by the 4 horse. But he is 2 for 2 over the surface, earning two of his three wins. Will play him across the board. If you are playing multi-race wagers, either go 3-5 or five deep with the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
CANELA CALIENTE rates a slim edge
Digging deeper: Will probably pass on this, but the 4 should be in the mix. Would use the 1-2-3-6 with him in exotics.
ARCHER CITY comes off a pair of nice efforts for a powerful barn
Digging deeper: Bret Calhoun and Deshawn Parker? Yes please. This has all the looks of another Calhoun star. Unfortunately the price will be short. Will play him to win at over even money; will also hit the exactas, 6 with 1-3-4 but playing small.
IN GOLD BLOOD is another Calhoun runner who should move forward
Digging deeper: The 1 has shown little in two starts, but it is another Calhoun runner and he should improve. Would like to get more than 7-2, however. We will take him with a a couple first-time starters and the 3 horse, who should improve dramatically. Good race to play tris: something like 1 with 3-9-11 with all, 3-9-11 with 1 with all. Big field should yield a nice score.
EXPECT ROYAL should improve off last start
Digging deeper: The 7 has learned to sit just off the pace, and that style should serve him well here. Like the idea of tying him in exactas and tris first and second with 1-2-4-5-8.
CABERNEIGH is a hard knocking type who runs well at this level
Digging deeper: Probably passing on this race, but would just box the top four in exactas and trifectas and hope for the best.
FLYING CAT has done little wrong in his career and fits well here
Digging deeper: Again, too many favorites for our liking. The 5 somehow got off at 20-1 in his last at Delta; that won’t happen here. Still worth an across the board play if he goes off higher than 5-2.
PERFECT SUMMER has been close several times and maybe tonight is the night
Digging deeper: This one might be a good race to trot out our backwheel key with No. 4 Natoisatexan, who likes this track and loves to run second or third at SHRP (five times in 10 tries here). He will be a huge price and might sneak up for a piece late. He has almost zero chance to win (0 for 51 lifetime) but could easily sneak in to the trifecta. We will wheel the 3-6-8 with 4 with all, and 3-6-8 with all with 4.
Billed as the world’s richest race, with a $12 million pot. Part of me does not like the concept, because it reinforces the whole “Sport of Kings” concept. Personally I prefer $4,000 claimers. But hey, we get a rematch from the BC Classic of Arrogate and California Chrome. Those two tower above the field here. Chrome destroyed a field in his prep for this, but it was a race that was written for him and most of the horses chasing him that day will be pulling carts in downtown Houston Super Bowl week. Still, the old guy towers above everyone in here except Arrogate, who beat him on the square in the Classic, gets a big post advantage and should get it done here. This race should be as simple as a 1-12 straight exacta. The only other horse worth considering is Keen Ice, who is OK but nothing special. He has run a race in his life good enough to win this — upsetting the great American Pharoah in the Travers, but that was a long time ago. I am playing Arrogate to win, a 1-12 exacta, a smaller 1-9 exacta. For a small “just in case” play, a .50 trifecta wheel:

1 9 12

with 1 7 9 10 12
with 1 3 7 8 9 10 12 13 15
That will cost $36, less if the 13 and 15 scratch.
Good luck today.

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