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Sam Houston Rules Texas

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Sunday, January 31, 2021

It's not often that horseplayers turn their attention to Sam Houston Park in Houston, Texas, both of which are named after Sam Houston. The only American to be elected governor of two different states, Tennessee and Texas. To paraphrase Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog, ain't Nuthin' But a T thang...

The track and city named in Sam Houston's honor plays host to six stakes races today with jackpots from $75,000 to $300,000. The big money run is for the Houston Ladies Classic Stakes. A Grade III affair for fillies and mare, four-years-old and up. A field of seven ladies will tackle 1 1/16 miles on Sam Houston's main track.

There aren't too many races run at the distance. So, we looked at the previous eight winners of the Houston Ladies Classic to find some clues at to which running styles or post draws might have an edge. Well, the first thing we notice is that the public has been spot on. The post time favorite has finished first (4x) or second (4x) in all eight.

There is a heavy pre-race favorite with LETRUSKA (PP: 7) at even money. The five-year-old daughter of SUPER SAVER is likely to take on some cash and it would not be surprising to see her at 3/5 by post time. Her running on the lead running style isn't a deal killer, but it could work against her. When she wins, she gets to the front and never looks back. However, just two of the previous eight Ladies Champs went wire to wire, but they were both favorites.

If it's not LETRUSKA in a gate to wire trophy celebration, then it's likely to be a horse that comes from off the pace at 9/2 odds or more. The quartet of non-favorites to cash the Classic's champion's check typically ran fourth or fifth at the quarter mile call and left the gates at odds of 9/2, 5-1, 8-1 and 17-1.

A few horses fit that bill.

JEWELED PRINCESS (PP: 2 ML 8-1) will probably be fourth or fifth in line at the quarter pole and has a solid record at the distance with a pair of wins, a second and third in five. Winning is familiar territory for this four-year-old filly, hitting the wire first in five of her last six starts. She should give it run for her sixth win of seven in her third start after a layoff.

UJJAYI (PP: 3 ML 6-1) likes to settle in third or fourth early on but has struggled to move forward from there, winning just once in her last 10 efforts. However, she appears to be in form at the moment hitting the board in four straight. Jockey Rafael Hernandez will be hoping for some fast early fractions as that's probably his best chance.

MOTION EMOTION (PP: 1 ML 7/2), FIGURE IT OUT (PP: 5 ML 15-1) and SHES OUR FASTEST (PP: 6 ML 20-1) past performance route histories suggest the trio will likely press the favorite LETRUSKA. Co-piloting hasn't been the way to the Ladies Classic winners' circle. It might put them in the money and solid choices for exacta and trifecta tickets, but likely to be losers at the top.

Only one left, and that's reigning, defending champion LADY APPLE (PP: 4 ML 4-1). She won in this spot last year with her best speed figure ever, by a decent margin. A horse for the course? It could be a tough order to defend her title as she was in better form a year ago, winning two of three before taking the 2020 checkered flag. She hasn't posed for a winner's photo since.

Using history as our guide, 7/2,3 and 2,3/7 exactas could be the way to go. Trifecta players might want to use the same combinations with ALL in third, just in case one of the shots hits the board. 

Get today's full picks for all tracks and races at Guaranteed Tip Sheet.