Two Graded Stakes at Sam Houston Park on January 27

Sam Houston Park on Sunday will host the John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes (GIIIT) and the Houston Ladies Classic Stakes (GIII).

Sam Houston Race Park’s John B. Connally Turf Cup attracted a field of nine for Sunday’s race, including two-time champion Bigger Picture, who will go 1 1/2 miles in his title defense. Bigger Picture will attempt to be the second horse history to win the John B. Connally three times. That horse that currently has the record for 3 wins is Candid Glen, who was victorious in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

The Houston Ladies Classic Stakes is the richest race in the Houston Racing Festival. Inaugurated in 2013, this race is the richest graded thoroughbred race in Texas.

Race 8. John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes (GIIIT). For four-year-old and up at 1 1/2 miles on turf. Purse $200,000.


PP Horse Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Zapperini Florent Geroux Gregory D. Foley 15/1
2 Team Colors Adam Beschizza Joe Sharp 8/1
3 Lawless West Eddie Martin, Jr. Joe S. Offolter 30/1
4 Bigger Picture Jose L. Ortiz Michael J. Maker 4/5
5 Net Gain Glenn W. Corbett Clinton C. Stuart 15/1
6 Some in Tieme Manoel R. Cruz Efren Loza, Jr. 6/1
7 Budro Talking Iram Vargas Diego Mike R. Neatherlin 12/1
8 Markitoff Mike E. Smith Michael J. Maker 4/1
9 Cooptado Gabriel Saez Thomas Morley 20/1

Bigger Picture will be making his 38th career start in the John B. Connally. His 11 lifetime wins include five graded stakes. He eclipsed the $1 million earnings mark winning last year’s Connally Turf Cup and has earning of $1,374,135.He made his last start at Del Mar, running second in the Hollywood Turf Cup, Grade II. He should be able to capture his third win of the John B. Connally.

 Markitoff competed in two turf stakes last year at Woodbine, finishing fourth in the Northern Dancer. 

 Some In Tieme runner-up in 2018 Connally, returns for a rematch race. He  has earned $470,468 in 19 lifetime starts. He ran a fifth in the Sycamore Stakes, GIII, last October at Keeneland. 

Team Colors was claimed for $62,500 last summer at Saratoga. He will be making his 28th career start. His current record for 27 starts of 5-6-4 and earnings of $323,843. Beschizza making his Sam Houston debut.

Cooptado has earned $1.1 million in 44 starts. His career record for 44 starts is 6-7-4. He finished sixth in most recent start the Tenacious Stakes at Fair Ground on December 22. His best finish in 2018 was running second in the Laurel Turf Cup on September 22.

Our Top Three Picks

  • Bigger Picture
  • Markitoff
  • Some in Tieme

Race 9: Houston Ladies Classic Stakes (GIII). For four-year-old and up fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on dirt. Purse $300,000.


PP Horse Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Song From Above Sasha Risenhoover Stephanie Herb 50/1
2 Remedy Joe Bravo Brad Cox 3/1
3 Viva Forever Deshawn Parker Karl Broberg 12/1
4 Moonlit Garden Jose Ortiz Christopher Davis 8/1
5 Heavenhasmynikki Gerard Melancon Robert Hess, Jr. 15/1
6 Prado’s Sweet Ride Florent Geroux Gary Scherer 6/1
7 Midnight Bisou Mike Smith Steven Asmussen 3/5

Midnight Bisou has been installed the 3-5 morning-line favorite for the Jan. 27 Houston Ladies Classic Stakes (GIII). She’s the lone grade 1 winner in the field of seven. She was clearly one of the top three sophomore fillies last season. She won the Santa Anita Oaks (GI), Mother Goose Stakes (GII), and being placed ahead of Monomoy Girl in the Cotillion Stakes (G1) at Parx Racing. She also placed in four GI races and capped her season with a third in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI). She has never been off the board. Her career stats for 11 races are 5-3-3 and earnings of $1,565,000. The Houston Ladies Classic Stakes is her 2019 season debut. She should be able to capture the victory in the 2019 Houston Ladies Classic Stakes.

Remedy will be the main competition for Midnight Bisou and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. She finished second in last two efforts, her first in graded stakes company. She ran second in the 2018 Remington Park Oaks (GIII) and the Comely Stakes (GIII) at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Prado’s Sweet Ride is the other graded stakes winner in the field, having won the Falls City Handicap (GII) on November 22 at Churchill Downs. She ran fifth in her most recent race the Blushing K.D. Stakes on December 22 at Fair Grounds. She has raced 31 times with a career record, mainly in stake races, 8-5-7 with earnings of $500,000.

Moonlit Garden ran third in the Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds on December 26. She finished third in her prior race the Turnback the Alarm H. at Aqueduct on November 3. She won two races in 2018: broke her maiden on April 20 at Keeneland and capture the Summer Colony at Saratoga on August 19.  She has a career record for 18 starts is 3-4-5 and earnings of $218,073.

Our Top Three Picks

  • Midnight Bisou – Best bet on the card
  • Remedy
  • Prado’s Sweet Ride



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