StableDuel is offering a very affordable $30 contest at Sam Houston tonight with a $3,000 guarantee. First place is worth $950, but the card is very tricky, full of cheap claimers and lightly raced maiden horses. Let’s take a look at a few plays I like tonight.
If you need a refresher on scoring, please refer back to our debut article that goes a little more in-depth, located here.
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High Price Favorites
Mo Tap $8,500 – Race 7
Honestly, there aren’t many high priced favorites who I feel confident about on today’s card. Mo Tap is perhaps the one I do trust the most. While he’s exclusively raced at Delta Downs, he has always run respectably and has improved in each of his three career starts. His pedigree suggests he should love this stretch out in distance, and he is likely to be on or near the lead in a race that doesn’t have much other pace. Remember that Delta Downs has a bull ring configuration, so he has already won around two turns despite never racing beyond a mile. He seems to have a decided edge over this mediocre field.
Newscaster $9,400 – Race 5
Race 5 is a conundrum for me, as I think Newscaster is an overwhelmingly likely winner in this race. However, I also love two value play horses in this field as well (see below). This is a race I will almost certainly double-up. Simply put, Newscaster is just faster than this field. He has never missed the trifecta in his five starts since switching to the turf, and he has an extremely tactical running style that should allow him to create his own trip from the outside draw. No need to overthink this one.
Mid Price Plays
Isabelle’s Joy $3,000 – Race 6
Isabelle’s Joy was making her first start off of a lengthy 8 month layoff last out, and she ran a surprisingly strong race. She made a middle move into the pace to grab the lead before ultimately tiring late. She looks like a horse who needed that start, and I expect her to be much sharper today making her second start off of the break. She was facing much better foes last year at Churchill and Keeneland, so don’t be discouraged by some of those poor efforts. Her speed coupled with the inside post should make her a threat to take this field gate to wire, but even if she tires late, $3,000 is a great value play for a horse very likely to hit the board.
Johan Zoffani $1,000 – Race 5
This is the sequel to the paragraph above on Newscaster. Johan Zoffani offers incredible value at only $1,000. This gelding is as consistent as the day is long. He has hit the trifecta in 14 of his 17 career starts, and he has 4 wins and 1 second place finish when trying this distance on the turf. He would have to show some mildly unexpected improvement to beat Newscaster, but this horse is a must-use in StableDuel and underneath in any vertical wagers.
Ima Big Bopper $1,000 – Race 9
This horse is by far the most risky play of the day, as it’s always a bit of a dice roll taking a lightly raced horse in a Texas bred maiden event. However, I’m not particularly enamored with any of the more expensive horses in this race. Ima Big Bopper has an excellent turf pedigree, as Golden Song gets 13% first time turf winners and the damsire, Scat Daddy, is an internationally renowned turf influence. This horse appeared to need a start last out when entering that race off of only two published workouts, so he should be more fit today while getting onto the right surface.