PLAYING THE PONIES
Fred Faour's selections for Friday at Sam Houston Race Park -- plus a bonus play on Saturday's Pegasus World Cup
It's Day 4 of the Sam Houston Race Park thoroughbred meet with nine races tonight. Here are my selections for the card. These are not meant to be in exact order, but merely the four horses I think have the best chance to win. For beginners, I suggest exacta boxes with three horses, using two of mine and one of your own. And you can always pick up a copy of Acing Racing 2016 to learn everything you need to know. (These are the picks and format that are available on the free tip sheet at SHRP). Also, the Blitz is broadcasting live at the track today from 4-7 p.m. Drop by and say hello. However, before we get to the Sam Houston picks, the richest race in the world will be run at Gulfstream on Saturday and if you are looking for a play...
Pegasus World Cup
The race will be the final one for future Hall of Famer Gun Runner, who is the 4-5 favorite. He inherited the Best Horse in the World title when Arrogate returned from his Dubai World Cup win and was never the same. Gun Runner has won four in a row and six of his last seven, with only the second in Dubai to Arrogate tarnishing his record. He is a hard horse to root for, because his trainer is unlikeable, but that's not the horse's fault and does not tarnish his briliiance. He beat most of these in his last race, the Breeders' Cup Classic. But there are reasons to play against him here. Gulfstream is a quirky surface, he drew a tough post and will face serious early pace pressure. All that said, he is clearly the horse to beat. However, we will take a shot with No. 6 Gunnevera at 15-1. He loves Gulfstream, will be rolling late and could turn the tables on some of the horses that beat him in the Classic (he was fifth that day).
Cost will vary based on your bankroll, but we will base these plays on $2 exactas so you can get out light. Feel free to increase the wagers based on your personal budget (or go with $1 exactas if you are limited). We will do a $5 exacta box with Gunnevera and Gun Runner in case the big dog comes to play. If he doesn't, we will pick up a nice score wheeling Gunnevera in the exactas with every possible contener for $2: 6 with 2-4-5-7-9-11-12 and 2-4-5-7-9-11-12 with 6. That will cost $28 and your total outlay is $38. You could also consider playing him first and second in the trifectas with the 2-9-10-11 in second and 2-4-5-7-9-10-11-12 in third. (The second bet would be 2-9-10-11 with 6 with 2-4-5-7-9-10-11-12. For .50, those two bets come out to $28. Good luck on your plays.
Sam Houston Race Park Friday
BIG CORK catches the easiest field he has seen in a while
MOSTA FLYIN should be in a good spot to break through
UNBRIDLED ENCORE is consistent but will need his best effort
OH FLO is well bred and could surprise at first asking
ARCH OF AGES drops in for a tag for the first time
DRINKIN SONG should be competitive at this distance
REAL DE JALPA should be in the mix if she runs back to her Arlington turf form
SELFIE SENSATION was sharp in last and will be tough
CALF CREEK BULLDOG drops in for a tag and should improve