PLAYING THE PONIES

Sam Houston Race Park selections for Wednesday, March 17

Sam Houston Race Park
Bigger Picture won Sunday's Connally Turf Cup. Coady photography

Here are my selections for Wednesday 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)

FIRST
6-1-7-3
GOLIATH RIDGE keeps getting closer and might finally break through


SECOND
2-6-1-5
LEMON ROSES should thrive with added distance and offers good value


THIRD

1-7-4-2
GAME SET AND MATCH has been OK in last two vs. better


FOURTH
8-7-2-3
BRENDA'S AN I FULL should be tough if race stays on turf


FIFTH
2-9-10-8
JUDY'S PRIZE was in tough in last and could pop at a price

SIXTH
6-1-3-4
KATE'S SECOND SILVER should be competitive in this spot


SEVENTH
3-9-11-10
MILLI STAR could offer some nice value; should do well at this distance


EIGHTH
7-6-8-1
MISS FUNNY GUN plunges in class and that should do the trick


NINTH
3-7-5-4
BANDY'S MAP gets in for a tag and should improve here


TENTH
4-6-7-3
BLACKROCK CASTLE could thrive with the surface switch and stretch out

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Ronel Blanco has been suspended for 10 games. Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images.

Astros starter Ronel Blanco received a 10-game suspension Wednesday for violating MLB’s prohibitions on foreign substances after being ejected from the game against the Oakland Athletics.

The suspension was announced by Michael Hill, MLB’s senior vice president of on-field operations. The suspension will begin Wednesday night unless Blanco appeals the penalty, which also includes an undisclosed fine.

Blanco was ejected at the start of the fourth inning of the 2-1 win over Oakland on Tuesday after umpires found a foreign substance that first base umpire Erich Bacchus said was “the stickiest stuff I’ve felt on a glove.”

Third base umpire Laz Diaz ejected Blanco after a check of his glove before he threw a pitch in the fourth inning. The umpires, Blanco and Houston manager Joe Espada stood at the mound for a couple of minutes discussing the issue before the right-hander was ejected.

Bacchus said there was nothing on Blanco’s glove when he checked it in the middle of the first, but he discovered it when he did his second check before the fourth.

“I felt something inside the glove,” Bacchus said. “It was the stickiest stuff I’ve felt on a glove since we’ve been doing this for a few years now.”

After Bacchus discovered the substance he called the rest of the crew in to confer.

“Everybody checked the glove to make sure we all had the same thing and he had to get ejected because he had a foreign substance on his glove,” Diaz said.

Blanco denied using an illegal substance.

“Just probably rosin I put on my left arm,” he said in Spanish through a translator. “Maybe because of the sweat it got into the glove and that’s maybe what they found.”

Espada added that when he went to the mound he saw “white powder” inside Blanco’s glove.

“It looked to me when I grabbed the glove (that) there was some rosin,” Espada said. “You’re not allowed to use rosin on your non-pitching hand and that’s what it looked like to me. It was a little bit sticky with the moisture and the sweat but that’s what it looked like to me.”

Blanco, who threw a no-hitter in his season debut, allowed four hits and struck out one in three scoreless innings Tuesday. He has a 2.09 ERA this season.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome