Thoroughbred racing returns

Sam Houston Race Park picks for opening night

Courtesy photo

Live racing has returned to Sam Houston Race Park and it is opening night of the thoroughbred meet. The Blitz will be broadcasting live on Friday and I will also be making an appearance at the track Sunday afternoon.

Here are my selections for Friday 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).

FIRST

4-3-1-2

BITTY BRIT will need to run back to her Oct. 9 race but if she does she looks tough

SECOND

4-3-5-6

LONS OXBOW comes off a sharp effort and barn will win a lot of races here

THIRD

7-1-2-6

AURORA LANE comes off two nice efforts at Remington and Okie runners fare well here

FOURTH

3-6-7-4

Will take a shot with first GLORIOSA; barn usually has them ready

FIFTH

7-11-10-5

GHURAIR always seems to be right there on the turf and looks solid here

SIXTH

8-4-3-2

LINUS has yet to show much but has been facing solid runners

SEVENTH

7-1-9-5

YEOWZER returns to the grass where he dominated in August

EIGHTH

5-6-11-9

BALLROOM KITTEN should be rolling in the late stages

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Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

PROBABLE STARTERS

Thurs, Sept. 24 - HOU: Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33) vs. TEX: Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53)

Fri, Sept. 25 - HOU: Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.78) vs. TEX: Kyle Cody (1-1, 1.53)

Sat, Sept. 26 - HOU: TBD vs. TEX: Kyle Gibson (2-6, 5.87)

Sun, Sept. 27 - HOU: TBD vs. TEX: Jordan Lyles (1-5, 7.07)

STORYLINES

Season finale - The Astros will wrap up their regular season with their four game set in Arlington at the new Globe Life Field. Houston's magic number rests at two, as the Angels still have a puncher's chance. With Houston's miserable 8-20 road record, the postseason is anything but clinched.

Where's the offense? - The Astros offense has left a lot to be desired over the last few weeks, scoring more than three runs just twice in their last ten games. The bats really need to get going, especially if the team expects to do anything in the playoffs. George Springer has been the only reliable bat of late, with the performances of Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, and, most of all, Jose Altuve, leaving a lot to be desired.

Playoff seeding - If the playoffs started today, the Astros would face off with their division rivals in Oakland. There's an infinite number of possibilities over the next four games, but the Astros can see themselves finish anywhere from the fifth seed to out of the playoffs entirely. Any of Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Oakland, Chicago, New York, and Cleveland could be first round foes depending on how the cards fall.

PREDICTION

Lance Lynn has been one of the better pitchers in the game for a few years now, Kyle Cody is an intriguing young arm with good stuff, and Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson gave the Astros fits in Houston just last week. It isn't a recipe for success for Houston. The Astros win 1 of 4, which combined with the Angels and Mariners failing to take care of business, is enough to get Houston into the playoffs.

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