A look at the early Pick 5 on Houston Ladies Classic Day

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

January 25th, 2020

Sunday is the biggest day of the 2020 Sam Houston meet, a day when bettors across the country can perhaps focus on the track more than usual as it hosts a rare weekend afternoon card.

Of course, Sam Houston's main attraction is its 12% takeout on multi-race wagers. There are a pair of Pick 5s (Races 1-5, 6-10) offered Sunday, and here's how we'll be looking to hopefully kick off the card in strong style.

Race 1 -- Maiden Special Weight

Disqualified from a win two back and second two other times, #1 EMPIRE OF GOLD (6-5) is clearly the horse to beat. However, note much more was expected of #5 HARD CANDY (3-1) in their mutual debut at Remington, but the Asmussen trainee was a no-show. Seems a bit early to give up on the latter, especially with Parker in the saddle.

Race 2 -- Allowance

Definitely not the strongest N1X on the turf for older horses you'll see, which gives recent Canterbury/Turf Paradise mainstay #2 SHIRL'S READY (6-1) a fighting chance for Diodoro. His A-game might not be good enough, but #3 TORNADO MAN (20-1) has brought it every time he's stepped foot on this turf course and is an obvious separator inclusion. The same also goes for recent Broberg claim #7 SHELL FIRE (20-1), who figures to be more effective stretching back out to two turns.

Race 3 -- Allowance

This Texas-bred heat a good spot for #2 BOLD LEGEND (8-5), who's been running in conditioned claimers of late but has twice placed at this level. #4 BLUE DARTER (5-2) crumbled against similar in his only loss from three starts, but could out-hustle these and forget to look back. #9 SPARKLING AIR (4-1) likely needed return try earlier this month and had been facing much stronger for several months beforehand.

Race 4 -- Allowance

#1 THREE D FLAG (5-2) finished midpack in the Alcibiades (G1) won by British Idiom, and last time hardly picked up her feet in sloppy conditions at Churchill. By far her coziest spot since the Ellis maiden win. #3 GEE SHE SPARKLES (4-1) twice won for fun against Texas-breds, and last two against open stakes company were far from embarrassments. Threat on the drop.

Race 5 -- Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint

#4 FAST BOAT (4-1) last seen winning an N2X turf sprint at Keeneland over Texas Wedge, who's flattered the form since with back-to-back wins in the Joe Hernandez (G2) and the World of Trouble Turf Sprint at Gulfstream on Saturday. #10 REAL NEWS (7-2) a gem of consistency so far, with stakes placings against much better than these.

Here's the 50-cent ticket:

1,5 with 2,3,7 with 2,4,9 with 1,3 with 1,10 = $36.