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Sweet Lou Monaco is here to provide expert racing picks for today's action at Sam Houston Park

PICK: #4 Akulina (Race 2 - Sam Houston Park)

#4, Akulina, Lane Luzzi, 7-2

She looks for her first career win in her sixth career start (0-3-1) and four straight at Sam Houston. She finished out of the money for the first time in her career in her last start where she finished sixth here in a maiden special weight race on Feb. 7. Lane Luzzi is in the saddle for trainer Beverly Burress. Taking a shot over the even-money morning line favorite. We shall see how she does.

Verdict: The pick

#3, Peppermint Match, David Cabrera, 1-1

The even-money morning line favorite comes off her best finish in her last start, second-place, in a maiden claiming race at Delta Downs back on Oct. 11. This will be her first start in just over five months, which I don’t like and this will be her first start here. David Cabrera is in the saddle for trainer Karl Broberg.

Verdict: Runner-up.

#5, Marcy’s Gray Girl, Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez, 5-2

This will be her 14th career (0-3-3) and third this year (0-1-1). She comes into today’s race in solid form finishing in the money in both starts here: second-place in a maiden special weight race on Jan. 25 and third-place in a maiden special weight race on Feb. 28 in her last. Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez has the mount for trainer Ronnie Cravens III.

Verdict: Contender.

PICKS: 4-3-5


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