PLAYING THE PONIES

Sam Houston Race Park selections for Wednesday, Jan. 15

Horses leave the gate at Sam Houston Race Park
Courtesy photo


Here are my selections for Wednesday afternoon at Sam Houston Race Park. 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). We will be doing The Blitz from 4-7 at the track so please drop by.

FIRST
6-1-2-4
KADA is in sharp form but should be challenged by a talented entry.


SECOND
1-3-8-7
IMPRESSIVE REWARD has been close in Oklahoma and should break through


THIRD
9-7-2-5
ICED OUT should be in a good spot to clear this condition


FOURTH
8-1-7-2
RAILROAD ROSIE has won two in a row and should be in the mix


FIFTH
6-1-5-4
BANKROLL BEN is in a good spot and should offer some value

SIXTH
2-8-10-1
WAR ARGYLE has been knocking on the door and should break through here


SEVENTH

7-6-3-10

DECLARE WAR has a good record over this surface and is in good form


EIGHTH
5-6-8-4
GRADE ONE struggled in last but prior efforts were strong


NINTH
3-4-6-9
GRAY HOPE is in sharp form and should be competitive in tough group


TENTH

1-3-5-6
COUNTENANCE will be a short price but looks very good in this spot

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Will all the Texans playmakers be satisfied with their roles in the offense? Composite Getty Image.

ESPN Texans reporter DJ Bien-Aime joined The Mina Kimes Show this weekand shared his thoughts on the Texans outlook this season.

When looking at the Texans offense, Bien-Aime pointed to Houston's play calling as being a possible issue in 2024. Bobby Slowik did a terrific job in his first season as an offensive coordinator. But he will have his hands full keeping all his playmakers happy with Stefon Diggs joining the team, and Nico Collins expecting a ton of looks after signing a massive contract extension.

Which got us thinking, are there enough catches to go around?

We took a deep dive into the 2023 numbers and here's what we found. CJ Stroud averaged 21 completions per game. And here's a breakdown of how many catches his receivers averaged last year.

Nico Collins 5.3 catches per game

Stefon Diggs (with Buffalo) 6.29 catches per game

Dalton Schultz 3.93 catches per game

Tank Dell 4.27 catches per game

Texans running backs 3.05 catches per game

If we add those up, the total is 22.84. Which means the Texans top receivers should expect a similar amount of production compared to last season. Of course, players like Noah Brown, Robert Woods, and Brevin Jordan will take targets away from Stefon Diggs and company from time to time.

But it's good to know that the Texans top pass catchers should produce numbers close to their 2023 averages. Which is a big deal for a player in a contract year like Diggs.

Another thing to note. We're factoring in that the Texans are expected to run out of 11 personnel most of the time. Which means Diggs, Collins, Dell, Schultz, and Mixon will be the only pass catchers on the field the majority of the time.

Are there concerns about the defense?

Both Kimes and Bien-Aime designated Houston's secondary as the big x-factor this year. Bien-Aime named cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. as the only player in the secondary that he truly trusts. Is he right?

Be sure to watch the video above as we react to Kimes and Bien-Aime's outlook for the Texans this year, and share our thoughts on the possible pitfalls the team will have to navigate in the short and long-term.

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