Sam Houston spot plays for March 20

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

March 20th, 2021

A total of seven black-type races for Texas-bred runners will be held at Sam Houston on Saturday. Below are a few of the contenders I believe will run big:

Race 4: Spirit of Texas S.

Eight will go postward in the six-furlong dash, and it’s hard to look past #4 Good Judgement (2-1). The Steve Asmussen pupil has been first or second in seven of eight lifetime tries, and he exits a game score on this oval when running down a clear leader in the lane. Son of Too Much Bling gets the nod to kick off the stakes action.

Race 6: Groovy S.

Sophomores will sprint six panels in what appears to be a good betting race. The well-matched field boasts numerous win contenders, and I will play an exacta with the two runners on the outside of the nine-horse cast. #8 Island Sun (12-1) was a solid third after contesting a swift pace in the Jim’s Orbit S. last time out, and he will move forward in his third try off the long break.

#9 Bobby Brinkley (5-2) will be tough to upend if he improves off of a strong allowance second going one mile most recently. Shanghai Bobby gelding has run well in both local engagements and has a perfect post slot outside. I expect the dark bay to be close early in a field lacking an abundance of pace.

Race 9: San Jacinto Turf S.

The 1 1/16-mile affair on the green attracted an octet of fillies and mares. A swift pace is expected, which leads me to my selection of deep closer #2 No Mas Tequila (4-1). The bay daughter of Northern Afleet closed from well back to be third in her seasonal debut and will improve on Saturday. The four-year-old runs for a trainer having a nice meeting currently, and I think she will get the right setup at a fair price.

Race 10: Yellow Rose S.

#5 Sardabling (10-1) has run well in each of her three races on this surface, and her turf experiment last time is a toss for me. Lightly raced five-year-old will stalk the pace early before moving into contention under jockey Alfredo Contreras.

#1 Boerne (2-1) will be the one to catch and beat from the rail for trainer Robertino Diodoro. Fed Biz filly has some class and will be very hard to pass if she runs her race on the drop in with state-bred foes.

I'll use the pair in my exactas.