Horses to watch on stakes-laden Sam Houston card

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

January 29th, 2017

The biggest day of the 2017 Sam Houston meet is Sunday when it hosts its two graded events as well as three other stakes. is offering a $10 cash back bonus to all players that bet at least $30 on Sunday's Sam Houston card, including at least four of the five stakes.

On paper, Hogy appears difficult to oppose in the $75,000 Turf Sprint (Race 6) and I'm a Chatterbox is the class of the field in the featured $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic (G3) (Race 9). The other stakes offerings, however, look a bit more contentious on paper.

Race 7 -- $50,000 Space City -- A wide-open sprint for three-year-olds might be a good place to shop for a price. Mannford (#9, 9-1 ML) is presumably better than what he's showed in his last couple at Remington. Talented enough to win at first asking and runner-up to eventual Springboard Mile winner Cool Arrow in the $75,000 Kip Deville, and think he can turn it around with a well-timed move under Luis Saez.

Race 8 -- $250,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3) -- This looks like an intramural battle between trainer Mike Maker's trio of Bigger Picture, Greengrassofyoming, and Oscar Nominated. Greengrassofyoming (#5, 5-2) is the pick off a photo-finish loss in his Fair Grounds prep, and appreciate his Arlington form from last summer when he won a Grade 3 and was a strong fourth in the Arlington Million (G1). Definitely would prefer firmer ground.

Race 10 -- $50,000 Houston Distaff -- Hip Hop N Jazz (#7, 7-2) is a lot less exposed than most of these. Good enough to get Grade 3-placed in her third lifetime start, she came back from a long layoff last fall and has responded well since moving to turf two starts back. Retention of Florent Geroux is surely an asset as he's enjoyed a high strike rate aboard Tom Proctor trainees the past couple of seasons.

First post for Sam Houston's 10-race Sunday card is 1:10 p.m. (EST).

(Coady Photography)