PLAYING THE PONIES

Sam Houston Race Park selections for Saturday, March 23 (with bonus picks on Lousiana Derby Day at Fair Grounds)

Mr. Money Man is back tonight. Coady Photography

Here are my selections for Saturday. 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 making an appearance from 7-9 at the ESPN area by the Jockey Club. Come by and say hello. I will have a couple picks I like I will share in person.

Also, it is Louisiana Derby Day at Fair Grounds. Below are a couple of plays:

FAIR GROUNDS

Race 10, New Orleans Handicap: This is a wide open race with lots of speed, stalkers and closers balanced out nicely. I am going to play No. 3 Souper Tapit across the board at 6-1. He lost all chance at the start of his last at Oaklawn, but his prior two efforts put him right there. Better start should put him in the hunt.

Race 13, Louisiana Derby: War of Will is the 6-5 favorite and has done little wrong. But he is also not all that fast; any one of several horses could improve. We will look at Sueno, who is improving and has been consistent. We will wheel him first and second in the exactas with several potential horses that could also improve including the favorite. So the bet will be 4 with 1-2-3-5-6-8-10-11 and 1-2-3-5-6-8-10-11 with 4.

SHRP SELECTIONS

FIRST

6-4-3-1
HI HEAT BOY has been nibbling and maybe feasts on the whole thing tonight


SECOND
2-3-6-1
SHES OUR FASTEST has been in tough and should be in the mix here


THIRD
4-1-6-2
TEXAS BELLE is in sharp form and will take some beating in this spot


FOURTH
3-4-1-2
DIRECT DIAL was in tough in last, has good speed and a recency edge over the favorite


FIFTH
2-3-9-6
IMA DISCREET LADY should get a nice stalking trip here and should be tough


SIXTH
6-3-1-4
MR MONEY BAGS has big goals and should turn in another big effort


SEVENTH
2-7-1-5
HIGHWAY SONG gets a little more distance and should thrive here


EIGHTH
8-9-6-1
COMMANDER MCDIVIT should stretch out just fine and should be in the mix

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However, Houston fans are invested in the Browns' season outcome as well, with the Texans holding the Browns' first round pick in 2024, and having sent their own first rounder to the Cardinals in the Will Anderson trade.

So each loss for the Browns, means a better draft pick for the Texans!

For Houston, it looks like they have their QB of the future in CJ Stroud. And he'll be on a less expensive rookie contract for the next several years, giving the Texans more cap space to upgrade the roster.

With all of this in mind, is it fair to question if the Texans dodged a bullet when Watson demanded a trade?

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Plus, we're only two games into the season, but Lovie Smith's defense was much better (with a similar roster) than what DeMeco Ryans' defense has shown thus far, and DeMeco has the benefit of Will Anderson rushing the QB.

Are the struggles on defense more about the roster GM Nick Caserio has put together, or does this slow start fall on DeMeco?

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