Racing Festival

Sam Houston Race Park picks for Jan. 27 with bonus pick 4 play

Midnight Bisou comes to town. Kentuckyderby.com.

Here are my selections for Sunday afternoon's racing festival. 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). I will be at the track today so swing by and say hello and will be happy to discuss the races. (At the bottom you will find a play for the all stakes pick 4).

FIRST

2-5-1-6

DAUNTLESS PRINCE struggled in last but prior efforts put him right there

SECOND

9-2-8-5
BOTSWANA's debut on turf was solid and could easily win with a similar effort

THIRD

8-10-5-2
ALL ABOUT VOODOO comes off a nice win in Okla. and this is a sensible spot

FOURTH

6-5-3-1
HIGH CLASS TASTE is in sharp form and should be in the mix

FIFTH

12-1-3-7
HIGHWAY SONG will be a nice price and could surprise

SIXTH

9-8-10-3
LATENT REVENGE should be on the early lead and will have to be caught

SEVENTH

7-2-5-1
LEADEM IN KEN has been in the mix at tracks all over the country

EIGHTH

4-8-6-2
BIGGER PICTURE has not won since taking this race last year but has been close vs. tougher

NINTH

7-6-2-3
MIDNIGHT BISOU was one of the best 3YO fillies in the country last year and looks tough

TENTH

3-4-8-9
SUSIE BEE has been close in recent starts and could break through

It is going to be hard to get rich of the late pick four, which starts in Race 7, because there are two heavy favorites in the sequence; Bigger Picture in the eighth and Midnight Bisou in the ninth. Hard to see many scenarios where Midnight Bisou loses, so we will try to pick up some prices elsewhere. In Race 7, we will use the 1-2-4-5-7. In Race 8, we will use Bigger Picture but take three shots at beating him. So the horses are 2-4-6-8. In the ninth we will single Midnight Bisou (7). If you want to take a shot at beating her, the 6 horse is the only one I can see pulling it off. In the last we will go five deep with the 3-4-8-9-10.

For .50, that will be a $50 ticket. If you want to narrow the price down just go 4-8 in the eight. That will cut the cost in half.

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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