If you’re fond of jackpot-style exotic wagers, you’ll want to check out the Thursday racing action at Sam Houston and Turfway Park.
Down in Texas, where week two of the Sam Houston meet is getting underway, the 20-cent Houston Hi 5 brings a carryover of $11,164 to the mix. Yet a pot twice as large waits at Turfway, where the 20-cent Single 6 jackpot has climbed to $22,957.
Need help planning your tickets? We’ve got a few insights to share:
The Houston Hi 5 is available for betting in Race 10, a one-mile turf maiden special weight for fillies and mares. With 10 entries, there are “only” 30,240 possible outcomes to consider, though truthfully the race looks pretty straightforward.
Indeed, if you’re willing to concede that #3 Egyptian Princess (4-5) is a lock to win—as many bettors will surely conclude—you can cut the number of possible outcomes down to 3,024. A daughter of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who is siring classy turf runners left and right, Egyptian Princess was last seen finishing fourth in a competitive one-mile maiden race over the Gulfstream Park turf course.
This effort produced a solid 81 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest figure in Thursday’s field. Egyptian Princess hasn’t run since April, but she appears to hold a class advantage at Sam Houston and will be tough to beat for the hot jockey/trainer duo of Stewart Elliot and Steve Asmussen. One could do worse than play Egyptian Princess on top in the Houston Hi 5 and spread deep underneath.
There’s no such thing as an easy Pick 6, but Thursday’s Single 6 at Turfway looks more manageable than most. Just 63 horses (including four also-eligibles) have been entered, a far cry from recent sequences that have featured 80 or more entries.
The Single 6 kicks off in Race 3, a one-mile maiden special weight in which morning line favorite #3 Nineleventurbo (2-1) looks formidable after rallying to finish second in a similar race at Turfway last month. But if you’re looking for a horse to single, you might want to check out #3 Skygaze (2-1) in Race 6, a 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claiming race for fillies and mares.
With just seven runners in the mix, Skygaze won’t have to beat many rivals to reach the winner’s circle. Not that she minds facing large fields—on Dec. 10, Skygaze unleashed a huge late rally to defeat 10 challengers in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Turfway. By gaining four lengths in the final furlong alone, Skygaze prevailed by a neck with a strong 104 Brisnet Late Pace rating.
Skygaze has crossed the wire first in four of her five starts on synthetic and retains the services of hot jockey Chris Landeros for Thursday’s test. She’s versatile in terms of running style and has held her own against tougher competition, stamping Skygaze as a horse to count on in the Single 6.