Piassek’s Plays: Sam Houston Sunday Stakes

Gambling
Horses race on the turf at Sam Houston. (Coady Photography)

In his regular gambling blog, John Piassek presents his top picks for the upcoming weekend in horse racing, offering betting options at different budget levels.

Piassek has contributed to the horse racing sites The Racing Biz and Danonymous Racing and worked at Tioga Downs, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga Race Course. He joined America’s Best Racing in January 2021.


Sam Houston Race Park, Race 6, $75,000 Stonerside Sprint, Post time 5:25 p.m. ET

#1 Nitrous: Jockey Stewart Elliott and trainer Steve Asmussen are a dangerous combination at Sam Houston. They’re the leading jockey and trainer at the meet so far, winning at more than 20% each.

They’ll team up once again on this tough favorite. He’s coming off a win in the Thanksgiving Classic at Fair Grounds, where he came from off the pace to win going away. In the early part of his career, he was a stone-cold closer, which usually doesn’t work well in sprints. However, he’s been a little bit closer to the pace in his last few races. That’s an encouraging sign. There’s some high-quality speed in here, and he’s going to get first run at them, after rating off of the leaders on the rail.

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$5 exacta 1 with 5, 6 ($10 total)

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$10 exacta 1 with 5, 6 ($20 total)

50 cent trifecta 1 with 5, 6 with 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 ($5 total)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$10 exacta key box 1 with 5, 6 ($40 total)

$1 trifecta 1 with 5, 6 with 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 ($10 total)


Sam Houston Race Park, Race 7, $200,000 Texas Turf Mile Stakes, Post Time 6 p.m. ET

#3 Excess Magic: He probably didn’t beat much when he broke his maiden two starts back at Remington Park, but it was still a very impressive effort. He pulled away to win going 7 ½ furlongs on the grass by six lengths. Last out, he stepped up in class at Fair Grounds, and might have been more impressive there. He stalked a slow pace, then once again powerfully kicked away in the stretch for a strong four-length win. In this race, he has an ideal post position for his running style. He can tuck right in behind the leaders on the rail, then make that big move once again and draw off from the others. 

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$5 to win and $5 to place on 3 ($10 total)

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$10 to win on 3

$5 exacta 3 with 4, 5, 12 ($15 total)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$20 to win on 3

$2 exacta key box 3 with 4, 5, 12 ($12 total)

50 cent trifecta key box 3 with 4, 5, 11, 12 ($18 total)

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