Best Horse Racing Bets for Thursday, January 20, 2022
My Thursday picks at Charles Town Races, Fair Ground Race Course, and Sam Houston Race Park ran the gamut for deep-sleepers at Fair Grounds to favorites with mortal lock-level morning-line odds at Sam Houston.
Don’t forget to check my math (I was sick the day they taught arithmetic in school) at one of our recommended online racebooks.
Thursday’s Picks for Charles Town Races
Let’s start on the main track for race three, a 6-1/2 furlong allowance run for four-year-old’s and upward that have never won two races (West Virginia-bred races not considered for eligibility).
I’m betting on the second-favored (at 6/5) Nico, piloted by veteran jockey Antonio Lopez.
This five-year-old moneyed ten of his eleven career starts, winning five—two in 2019 and three in 2021 (he took 2020 off). Nico notably finished second in both the Henry Mercer Memorial Stakes (Black Type) and the West Virginia Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders’ Classic Stakes (Black Type) in 2019 at Charles Town. His speed figures remain high.
Thirty-five-year horseracing veteran Javier Contreras trains Nico for owner-breeder O’Sullivan Farms LLC. Contreras has put Lopez in the irons for all six of Nico’s 2021 races, resulting in one also-ran, two seconds, and three wins.
Race seven is a 4-1/2 furlong allowance race on the dirt track for West Virginia-bred fillies and mares four years old and upward that have never won three races. I like the third-favored (at 7/2) Eye of the Needle, ridden by Fredy Peltroche.
With more than four decades in the business, David Walters trains Eye of the Needle for owner-breeder Michael J. Miller.
Race eight is a 4-1/2 furlong allowance race ont eh dirt track for three-year-old’s that have never won two races (West Virginia-bred races not considers for eligibility). I’m buying a win ticket on 8/5 morning-line favorite, Run to Daylight, with top jockey Arnaldo Bocachica in the irons.
This three-year-old gelding moneyed three of his five career starts, winning all three—his initial maiden attempt last August, the Henry Mercer Memorial Stakes (Black Type) in September, and the West Virginia Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders’ Classic Stakes (Black Type) in October.
He was an also-ran in his next two stakes races, but his speed figures remain consistently high.
Among the top-ranked trainers in North America for the past two decades, Jeff C. Runco trains Run to Daylight for owner David M. Raim.
Thursday Picks for Fair Grounds Race Course
We’re on the turf for race two, a five-furlong starter optional claiming race for four-year-old’s and upward.
If the also eligible/MTO entry Curtin’s Up is in this race, bet him to win. He’s piloted this run by Jose Riquelme with 3/1 morning-line odds making him the second-favored horse.
Trained by Keith G. Bourgeois for owner Matthew Bellard, this six-year-old gelding moneyed nine of his 16 career starts, winning seven.
If that doesn’t happen, bet the other 3/1 second-favored entry, Spectrolite, ridden by Roberto Morales. This ten-year-old gelding finished in the money 19 of his 35 career starts, winning 13. Shane Wilson trains Spectrolite for David Fontenot Racing LLC.
We’re moving back to the dirt track for race three, a six-furlong claiming race for Louisiana-bred four-year-old’s and upward that have never won four races or have not won two races since July 20, 2021. I like the 7/2 second-favored Cryptozonic, with jockey James Graham aboard.
Regularly ranked among the top trainers in North America over the past decade, Joseph M. Foster trains Cryptozonic for owner Dusty Foster.
Returning to the turf for race six, a 7-1/2 furlong allowance race for Louisiana-bred three-year-old’s and upward that have never won two races. I’m calling this one for the 8/1 sleeper, Big Scully, ridden by Brian Joseph Hernandez Jr.
This three-year-old gelding moneyed three of his four career starts, winning one. Most recently, he finished third in the Louisiana Futurity (Black Type) in December. In September he finished sixth in an 11-horse field in the Hopeful Stakes (Grade I) at Saratoga.
Breeders’ Cup veteran Dallas Stewart trains Big Scully for Valene Farms LLC.
My Thursday Picks for Sam Houston Race Park
We’ll start on the dirt track with race one: the My Dandy Division of the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes, a $75,000 purse, 5-1/2 furlong run for Texas-sired three-year-old colts and geldings.
This short field of five yields up our no-brainer bet of the day: the 2/5 morning-line favorite, Pinky Ring Bling, with Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez in the irons.
Ronnie E. Cravens III trains Pinky Ring Bling for Lone Star Racing Club.
Race two is the Darby’s Daughter Division of the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes, a $75,000 purse, 5-1/2 furlong race for Texas-sired three-year-old fillies. This is another five-horse field, but the choices are not quite as obvious.
Still, I’m backing the 6/5 morning-line favorite, Eagle Express, ridden by veteran jockey Stewart Elliott.
This filly finished in the money three of her five career starts, winning one—the Texas Stallion Pan Zareta Division Stakes (Black Type) last June at Lone Star. She also finished second in her initial maiden attempt, and third in the Prairie Gold Lassie Stakes (Black Type) last August at Prairie Meadows.
Hall of Famer Steven M. Asmussen trains Eagle Express for owner-breeder W.S. Farish.
Race seven is a six-furlong allowance optional claiming race for fillies and mares four years old and upward. I must go with the 5/2 morning-line favorite here, as well: Shes Our Fastest, piloted by Ty Kennedy.
For the record, she finished 27 of her 38 career starts in the money, winning ten—eight of which were stakes races, from the Evangeline Downs Princess Stakes in 2017 right after her initial maiden run to the Bluebonnet Stakes (Black Type) last April and the Valor Farm Stakes (Black Type) last July.
Ranked among the top 100 trainers in 2021, Scott Gelner trains Shes Our Fastest for owners Mark Norman and Norman Stables LLC.More Betting Predictions