2015 John B Connally Turf Cup

Sam Houston’s John B Connally Turf Cup

Admiral KittenSince I decided to make selections for the Houston Ladies Classic at Sam Houston, it seemed only right for me to weigh in on this year’s John B. Connally Turf Cup, too. On Saturday, January 24th we have the $200,000 Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup. In last year’s edition of this race, Admiral Kitten made a late run and scored a neck win over Fredericksburg, paying $3.80 for the win. Last year, dad covered this race and in his article he made mention that he didn’t understand why Vertiformer was third pick on the morning line. The only reason he could offer up was because of Vertiformer’s career earnings. As it turned out, Vertiformer ran third in that race so in theory, his ML odds seemed to be in line with how the race played out. Normally, I wouldn’t mention this at all, but this year’s race has some similar questions about the morning line odds that we need to look at. Let’s see if we can wade through it and find the real value here.

2015 John B Connally Turf Cup

Bim BamThe $200,000 Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup is the 7th race on the card at Sam Houston and will feature a field of 9 four year olds and up traveling 1 1/8 mile. The 3 to 1 morning line favorite is Bim Bam. Here’s where the head scratching begins. If you go by earnings, Bim Bam tops the charts with $789,070 in career earnings. But he is also the oldest horse in the field. His last two outings were allowance races where he placed 8th in one and 5th in the other. Prior to that he did have 2 good wins in non-graded stakes where he won the Independence Day at Mountaineer by a neck and the Edward J. Debartolo Memorial Handicap at Remington by ½ of a length. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not trying to take anything away from this seasoned war horse, but I’m not buying that he should be the favorite. He does get the services of Deshawn Parker here which is a plus. Next on the morning line is Dreams Cut Short at 4 to 1. Again, I have to scratch my head and question him as second choice. He had a rough bounce in his last outing where he finished 11th in the Emerald Stakes at Gulfstream. He did earn a nice 2nd place finish in the Vid Stakes at Gulfstream missing that win by ½ of a length, but that was back in September of last year. CoalportThe true favorite here, in my opinion, is Coalport at 5 to 1 on the morning line. He is currently on a two win streak (would have been 3 had he not been disqualified in the Unbridled Stakes at Louisiana Downs), and looks great coming into this race. I would say that Coalport is my value play, but I just refuse to believe that the public won’t spot him as the play. He’s definitely going to be the horse to beat here, so if he stays at his morning line odds, I’ll definitely bet him. He looks like the true lone speed in this one, too.  So what I am hoping for is that Trace Creek, Fleet Mitchy and Devon’s Iron Giant wrestle with him for the early lead in hopes that my value/longshot play Daddy’s Kid can make a late move and steal this one. Coalport is versatile, though and can stalk the pace, so be careful (not to mention the fact that Javier Castellano will be at the helm!) Good luck everybody!



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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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