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

Friday's free horse racing picks from handicapper Andrew Champagne comes to us from the late Pick Four at Sam Houston.
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Friday Free Horse Racing Picks: Late Pick Four at Sam Houston

I’m a fan of the product at Sam Houston, which offers a bettor-friendly 12% takeout on all multi-race wagers. This, of course, includes the late Pick Four, which starts in the seventh of 10 races on Friday night’s program. I’ll attack it with a $21 ticket, and here’s how I’ve put it together.

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RACE #7

Right off the bat, I’m going against an entry that’s 4/5 on the morning line. That isn’t to say #1 JACKMAN or #1A SPEED EFFECT can’t win, but I have my doubts. Jackman hasn’t won in a while (and hasn’t been facing much over the quirky bullring at Delta Downs), Speed Effect had a picture-perfect trip in a win over weaker foes last time out, and I simply can’t stomach that entry’s likely price.

I prefer #6 BOBBY DON, who’s never run a bad race in his six-lifetime starts. Unlike other runners in this field, he doesn’t need the lead in order to run well, and I think he’ll be going the right direction late. Add in that he almost certainly won’t go favored, and a horse that’s already a contender becomes a much more attractive proposition.

I’ll also use #4 ROUSING SLAMMER and #5 ALTERNATE TIME. Both go second off of layoffs for talented barns, and I’m willing to throw out each runner’s last-out clunkers (which coincidentally came on the same day at two different tracks).

RACE #8

I feel the need to spread in the second leg, a race that hit me as a grass grab bag. A field of 10 will go two turns on the lawn, and I’m using seven of them.

If forced to give a top pick, I’d reluctantly land on #7 COLLOQUIST, who got pretty good last spring and summer before going to the sidelines. The drop in for a tag isn’t an ideal sign, but he’s a closer in a race with plenty of early speed, and it helps that he’s run well over this turf course in the past.

#1 HOLY VOW, #2 JOHAN ZOFFANI, #5 NEWPORT BEACH, #6 SPACE MOUNTAIN, #8 QUARKY, and #9 HARD ATTACK are on my ticket as well. If you want to hit the “ALL” button, I can’t say I blame you. This is a tough race to decipher, and it’ll take some skill (and a little luck!) to get through it.

RACE #9

The reason I spread in the first two legs is that I’m pretty narrow to finish things off. My best bet of the sequence will go postward in the third leg, a claiming event for older horses where the likely chalk hits me as very formidable.

#6 SHANGHAI’S DREAM drops back in for a tag after several runs against allowance foes at Remington Park. He’s a closer, and that track sometimes plays very kindly to early speed, so I have no problem tossing the last-out clunker (especially since it was going two turns, which probably isn’t his preferred trip). His last two starts against claimers have both been wins against runners that are probably better than the ones he faces here, and if he runs to that ability, I think he’s a very likely winner.

RACE #10

3-year-old fillies will go to the gate for the Friday nightcap. Steve Asmussen trains likely favorite #2 SPEEDOMETER, who certainly looks like the speed of the speed. I’m using her, but I don’t think she’s a single.

My top pick is actually #5 DREAM PIRE, who ran very well to be second in her debut last month at Remington. She had an inside post and broke last, which isn’t a preferred trip for any horse, let alone a first-time starter. However, she made an aggressive middle move while wide, and while she did tire a bit late, that’s to be expected given the journey she had. Trainer J.R. Caldwell’s runners usually improve with experience, and she’s been working very well since coming to Sam Houston just before the new year.

THE TICKET

  • R7: 4,5,6
  • R8: 1,2,5,6,7,8,9
  • R9: 6
  • R10: 2,5

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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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