Friday Free Horse Racing Picks: Late Pick Four at Sam Houston

Sam Houston kicked off its 2022 meet Thursday, and handicappers should be paying attention. If you’re playing multi-race exotics, this is where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
Andrew Champagne |
Fri, January 7, 9:05 AM EST | 6 min read
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Friday Free Horse Racing Picks: Late Pick Four at Sam Houston

Sam Houston kicked off its 2022 meet Thursday, and handicappers should be paying attention. If you’re playing multi-race exotics, this is where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. Between the big fields and the player-friendly 12% takeout, there’s plenty of room for a big score, and I’ll look for one in Friday night’s late Pick Four. Here’s how I’ve assembled my $22.50 ticket.

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RACE #7

We’ll kick things off with an allowance for older fillies and mares. I’m going three-deep here, and while I’m going against a few shorter prices elsewhere in the sequence, I can’t do so here.

#6 MY GOLDEN BLING makes a fair amount of sense. She hasn’t run since July, but she has several strong back races over this surface and has a few flashy workouts for high-percentage trainer Austin Gustafson. I’m not crazy about the likely price, but her best race could certainly win this.

I’ll also use #2 DUST A FLYING and #3 BEBOP BABY. The former hasn’t run in nearly two years but can’t be ignored give her trainer’s 31% strike rate with horses coming off of long breaks, while the latter almost certainly needed her last-out effort after a hiatus of almost five months.

RACE #8

This is most likely a split of the previous race, as it has the exact same conditions and another big field. From a betting standpoint, I prefer this race, because I’m against 5/2 morning line choice #9 AIRLINE DRIVE. Her lone career win came over a muddy track at Lone Star Park, and she’s got one published workout since her last start. At her likely price? No, thank you.

I prefer #2 STONE FOX, who woke up last time out when dropped into the claiming ranks. She didn’t beat much in that outing, but she looked great doing it. This is her first start for trainer Danny Pish, who has excellent numbers with new acquisitions, and her record looks far better if you toss her two clunkers on turf (which is clearly not her preferred surface).

#6 DANCIN ALL ALONE and #7 TAKE CHARGE WOMAN are also on my ticket. Dancin All Alone is another exciting and impressive score against lesser foes, while Take Charge Woman’s big win came two back, and her last start at Oaklawn hits me as a “bounce” off of a career-best effort.

RACE #9

Good luck with this one, folks! This is a wide-open claiming race for non-winners of two. I see fit to go five-deep, and if you have the budget to use even more, go right ahead and do so, because I see this as the toughest handicapping event of the sequence.

My reluctant top pick is #3 RUNAWAY TRACY, and I think you can draw a line through his last-out effort. That was his first time going two turns, and he made it clear that’s not what he wants to do. Hie races two and three back came at this seven-furlong distance, and both of those efforts were strong. If he brings his Remington from across the state line, I think he’s got a big shot.

I’m also using #7 OSWALD COBBLEPOT, #8 SPEED EFFECT, #9 SOUTHERNER, and #11 TALE TWISTER. Tale Twister, in particular, intrigues me a bit. He’s clearly had his issues, as his one-start 2021 campaign bears out, but he has plenty of form from 2019. He ran in several stakes races that season and hit the board in two of them. Perhaps that form is long gone, but at his likely price, I need to have him on the ticket just in case he flashes that ability again on Friday night.

RACE #10

I’ll finish with a runner that’ll likely be a pretty popular single. This isn’t a great field of non-winners of two, and I simply cannot go against the 8/5 morning line choice.

#10 GRAYGIRLGO spent the fall at Remington Park and exits a solid second against state-bred allowance foes. Prior to that effort, she prompted the pace in a stakes event, where she finished fifth behind some of the classiest Oklahoma-bred runners in her division. This is her first start for a claiming tag since her debut last May, and while she hasn’t won in a while, the same can be said for almost every other runner in this field. If Graygirlgo doesn’t win, I don’t know who does.

THE TICKET

  • R7: 2,3,6
  • R8: 2,6,7
  • R9: 3,7,8,9,11
  • R10: 10
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Andrew Champagne
@AndrewChampagne

Andrew Champagne is a horse racing handicapper with a specialism in juveniles. One thing is for certain, Champagne gets the party started.

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