Low multi-race takeout featured as Sam Houston opens Jan. 6

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

January 5th, 2022

Sam Houston kicks off its 50-day Thoroughbred meet Thursday evening with plenty that bettors across the country will find attractive.

The track has become an increasingly popular wintertime signal. Average daily handle during the 2021 Thoroughbred meet was more than $2.4 million, roughly 33 percent higher than in 2020.

Sam Houston also has one of the few turf courses in operation during the first quarter of the year, so fans of grass racing will appreciate the additional wagering opportunities.

The biggest draw of all is Sam Houston's 12 percent takeout rate on all multi-race wagers (i.e. doubles, Pick 3s, Pick 4s, Pick 5s, etc.). For the average fan clamoring for lower bites industry-wide - it's usually in the 15-25% range - it would be self-defeating not to respond favorably by supporting a track offering them, at least once in a while.

We'll do just that by tackling the first of the 50-cent Pick 4s on the 10-race card, which begins in Race 2.

Race 2

If #3 Hush Hush (9-5) improves even modestly off her debut at Turfway Park last month, she'll prove the horse to beat. However, a couple rivals might improve dropping in class.

#5 Izanami (3-1) was no factor in an open maiden special weight at Remington first out, but that was a tough race with two next-out winners among the top three. She also adds Lasix for her second start. Another to watch for is #6 Bering's Special (4-1), whose debut against Oklahoma-breds was one of the better efforts turned in by anyone in this field.

Race 3

Stakes-placed #3 Expect the Boss (9-5) figures tough in this spot for the Asmussen stable, though she'll have to overcome the effects of a six-month layoff. #8 Amazonian Queen (6-1), a first-time starter, enters with a mildly intriguing worktab for a horse of this caliber. Both her sire and dam were competitive on debut.

Race 4

#8 Queen of the Lane might be a heavy favorite here, but the class drop off her latest looks a tad negative. We'll instead go with #1 Flew by You (10-1), whose early foot could prove more effective cutting back from a pair of route races. #4 Math Mystery (7-2), a recent blowout maiden winner for a $15,000 tag, doesn't look out of place in a field largely composed of N2L lifers.

Race 5

The feature on the card is this first-level allowance for three-year-olds on the turf. #6 Revenir (5-2), a close second in his lone prior turf appearance in late September, is the class of the field as he drops from a pair of lucrative stakes attempts at Remington.

The other I'll use is #2 King Jingaling (10-1), who has some hidden turf influences on both sides of his pedigree. His Travers (G1)-winning sire, V. E. Day, won on the grass, too, and hails from the family of turf champ Sunshine Forever and Grade 1 winner Two Emmys, among others.

The 50-cent ticket:

  • 3, 5, 6 with 3, 8 with 1, 4 with 2, 6 = $12