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

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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!

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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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