John B Connally Turf Cup & Houston Ladies Classic

John B Connally Turf Cup

Admiral KittenIt is time to preview the John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes at Sam Houston Park. This is a Grade 3 race to be run over 11/8 miles on the turf course. It is for four year olds and upward with a purse of $200,000. The morning line favorite is Michael Maker’s Admiral Kitten who has not been worse than 2nd in nine of his last ten races and most of those races were Graded stakes events. He is getting the services of Julien Leparoux and he loves to come running from off the pace. Even though it will be difficult to do, let’s try and find someone to beat him. Second in the ML is Michael Maker’s King David. It seems that Maker is going all out to win this event with one horse or another. King David will be ridden by Rosie Napravnik and while he likes to come from off the pace also, he generally stays a little bit closer than Kitten. His last win came in September in a Churchill Downs optional claiming race. As a matter of fact he has been out only 3 times in 2013, but one of those three was a second place finish in this race. Third in the morning line is Christophe Clement’s Vertiformer. I don’t know who set this morning line but I certainly would not have set this horse in as the third pick. He has not raced in a year and only once in 2013! Unbelievable. If he wins it I will be shocked. He is a 7 year old and his last win came in 2012 and that was an optional claiming race. I guess they like him because he earned so much money in his career, but I believe that career is winding down. I can’t believe I am doing what I am doing, but I just think that Admiral Kitten will win it with King David second and Fredericksburg third. I believe Maker came in to take the money home.

Houston Ladies Classic Stakes

Awesome FlowerNow let’s look at the next race on the card, the Houston Ladies Classic Stakes for fillies and mares four years old and upward going 11/16 miles over the main track for a purse of $400,000. The morning line favorite is Sal Santoro’s Rose to Gold. Her last win came in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park which was a Grade 3 stakes event. She went wire to wire in that one, but hasn’t had but one start this year. I don’t really believe that she will be the favorite but you never know. Next in the ML is Michael Maker’s Awesome Flower with Rosie Napravnik in the irons. Her last race was in early December when she finished 9th in the Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap at Calder. I believe that this filly is better suited to the shorter races and will come up short in this one. I think Maker’s real effort will be in the previous race and he just brought this one down here hoping to pick up a piece of this purse. The morning line’s third choice is Jeff Bonde’s Unusual Way with Edwin Maldanado up. She is a west coast shipper who likes to run on the front end. There is plenty of speed going in this race and she is bound to hook up with it. I don’t see her winning this one at all. So after careful consideration I have decided that Michael Malz’s And Why Not with Luis Saez up will win this race despite the fact that she has won only one race in her lifetime. I believe she will come from just off the pace with Awesome Flower and prevail at the wire. So it will be And Why Not first, Awesome Flower second and Rose to Gold third. Happy Racing guys and gals!





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Handicap Horses

Co-lead Author & Admin at Handicap Horse Racing
Mike Lane, Sr is co-lead author and administrator of With over 38 years of experience and a degree in the "School of Hard Knocks" for handicapping, Mike has seen it all when it comes to thoroughbred racing and wants to help other horse players learn how to handicap and avoid the mistakes he has made in the past.

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