Sam Houston Race Park picks for Jan. 26 with bonus play on the Pegasus World Cup

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Here are my selections for Saturday night. 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). At the bottom you will find some plays for the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park today.

FIRST

1-6-4-3
RU MYSTIFIED ships in from California and has some good efforts

SECOND
1-3-7-5

TWO EIGHTY FIVE is a first timer from a strong barn

THIRD
1-5-6-4
FANCY STOCKINGS was close in debut and could be ready off the layoff

FOURTH
2-4-9-5
JOYOUS THUNDER did not run a step in stakes company in last but priors were solid

FIFTH
2-6-9-1
Strong entry should be competitive in this spot


SIXTH
11-2-5-6
KITCHEN BOSS is consistent and has a good record on the SHRP turf.

SEVENTH
6-10-1-3
GET THE BLING has been close in last two at Remington and could break through


EIGHTH
5-1-2-6
NORTH HULLEN has been in good form and should be in the mix


NINTH
1-9-6-7
BYARS MELODIE had a solid debut at Delta and should improve here

PEGASUS WORLD CUP

This is a really strong race and most of the attention will be on City of Light and Accelerate. This is the last race for both horses and on the surface it looks like those two are standouts. But you won't make any money if those two run 1-2 and there are some intriguing runners that could bust up the party. We are going to land on a horse the always shows up for big races, has missed the board once in nine tries at Gulfstream, and always offers value. No. 8 Gunnevera was third in this race last year and always seems to cash a check going against the best runners in the country. He does not win often, but four of his six career triumphs have been at this track. He will be rolling late and should at least get third and might do better than that. We will do a weighted win/place/show bet on him, where you double the place and show depending on your bankroll. So if your bankroll is $70, bet $10 to win, $20 to place and $40 to show. If it is a small bankroll, bet $2 to win, $4 to place and $8 to show. We will also wheel him up and down in the exactas: 8 with 1-3-4-5-6-9-10-11 and 1-3-4-5-6-9-10-11 with 8. We will also double down on additional exactas with the two favorites: 8 with 3-5 and 3-5 with 8. Good luck!

Getty Images

The Breeders' Cup races will be Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita. It should be an entertaining two days. There are only a few races I really like; due to work commitments and the World Series I have not been able to dive in as deeply as usual. However, I will throw a few opinions out on each race.

Friday's races

These are all pretty wide open. Keep in mind there are a lot of evenly matched horses, so shopping for prices is critical. So that is the approach we are taking:

Race 5, BC Juvenile Turf Sprint

A'Ali is an intriguing European runner who will be a solid price (6-1 morning line). He has had only one bad start at a slightly longer distance. Europeans tend to have an edge in turf races, and this guy is worth a play across the board or maybe an exacta wheel up and down with the field.

Race 6, BC Juvenile Turf

Probably a pass race. No. 12 Arizona will be the favorite and looks pretty tough. There might be more value in No. 13 Fort Myers, who finished just behind the favorite at Ascot in June. Might be worth a weighted wager, with more to show and place than win. Something like $10 to win, $20 to place and $40 to show.

Race 7, BC Juvenile Fillies

Another I will likely be passing on. If you must play it, maybe take No. 4 British Idiom, but the price will likely not be good enough to warrant a play.

Race 8, BC Juvenile Filly Turf

The Europeans should have this one covered. I like the idea of keying No. 3 Shadn (10-1) first and second with all the other Euros in the exactas - 1-5-6-8-9-14.

Race 9, BC Juvenile

No. 5 Scabbard offers the best value after a troubled second against the favorite, No. 1 Dennis' Moment last time out. No. 9 Maxfield will take a lot of action as well. Could easily come down to the 1 and 9, but 8-1 on the 5 is too juicy to pass on.

Saturday's races

The main event, with some really competitive races featuring some of the best horses in the world in the latter part of the card.

Race 4, BC Filly Mare Sprint

I like No. 4 Come Dancing, but the price will be pretty short, although Covfefe will take the bulk of the money. We are going to key the 4 first and second in the exactas and tris with 1-3-8-9 as we will go closer heavy in a speed-dominated race.

Race 5, BC Turf Sprint

Pretty much throwing darts at a board here. I do like the 1 horse at 5-1 and might look at a 1-all all-1 exacta play.

Race 6, BC Dirt Mile

Omaha Beach will be the heavy favorite off a nice win over the surface at a distance shorter than he wanted to go against an excellent sprinter. Hard to get around him, but I will throw in the 1-2-4-7-8 in boxed exactas and tris and hope for the best.

Race 7, BC Filly/Mare Turf

I like No. 9 Villa Marina quite a bit in here. Her only off the board finish of her career came at a much longer distance and she still was only beaten two lengths. Will play her across the board, and will also use her in exactas first and second with 1-2-3-4-7-8-12.

Race 8, BC Sprint

Mitole will be favored, but we will take a shot against him. The only time he was in a race with a sub-22 opening quarter, he faded in the lane. Shancelot all but guarantees that fraction. The key horses will be a pair of long shot closers, No. 2 Hog Creek Hustle and No. 7 Whitmore, who appears to be rounding back into form and tends to show up in big spots. So the exactas would be 2-7 with 1-2-3-4-6-7-9.

Race 9, BC Mile

Another I have very little clue on. Lucallan across the board is worth a play but not worth a big investment.

Race 10, BC Distaff

Midnight Bisou, who ran at Sam Houston earlier this year, has been a win machine in 2019 with seven wins in seven starts. She will be tough here, but this field is loaded. Would throw her in exacta and trifecta boxes with 3-5-6-9-11.

Race 11, BC Turf

Bricks and Mortar (9) is the favorite and has five wins in five starts this year, but this might be longer than he wants to go. The 5 and 10 horses might be viable alternatives, but don't expect much value. Probably pass on this one.

Race 12, BC Classic

No. 11 Code of Honor has been in sharp form and always fires his shot. No. 8 McKinzie is the favorite and has never been worse than second in seven starts at Santa Anita. Hard to get past those two, but if you toss in long shots Owendale (3) and Yoshida (5) you might get a price. I will also key the 11 first and second in the try with 3-5-8 with all in third, and 3-5-8 with 11 with all.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome