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Sam Houston Race Park picks for Friday, Jan. 17

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An interesting card to start the meet. Some new outfits in town should make for some very intriguing betting opportunities. Not feeling great about this being the first card of the meet, but do like a few races tonight. Keep an eye on the track surface; early in the meet last year is was incredibly speed favoring. I will update after a few races via twitter @fredfaour if I see trends developing.

How to use the picks: These aren't necessarily the order we think they will finish, but more the four most likely winners. We recommend using them in pick threes and fours, exactas, trifectas and superfectas.

Races we like best: Three D will be a short price in the third but looks like the most likely winner on the card. We will play him in hard exactas over the 6 and 8.

In the eighth, we will take a swing with Discreet Girl, who should over some solid value in a competitive affair.

The ninth is also intriguing. Vilao figures to be the favorite and loves this surface. But she has been off early a year so we'll take a stand against. We'll take a shot with Triplemental, 20-1 morning line. Don't take less than 10-1, however. The horse was eased and vanned off in its last race, which is never a good sign. But prior efforts were solid and it seems like a runner that will appreciate more distance.

Post time for the first race is 7 p.m.

Good luck and enjoy the races.

FIRST

4-2-1-6

TOO MUCH DUCK rates a slim edge off a nice win

SECOND

5-1-3-4

FINAL SONG has some early foot and might be able to steal this one

THIRD

3-8-6-5

THREE D has some strong efforts on tough circuits. Looks strong here

FOURTH

4-8-3-6

HILDA TENORIO's last was suspect but prior efforts put her in the mix

FIFTH

6-4-8-11

Class drop might do the trick for PLATFORM in a wide open affair

SIXTH

1-3-6-7

Slim edge to MAQUITA ELAINE but any of the top four could takethis

SEVENTH

4-1-6-7

LASTING BUBBLES has some big efforts on the main track

EIGHTH

1-2-5-3

DISCREET GIRL shortens up and could surprise at a price

NINTH

10-3-8-2

Something went awry for TRIPLEMENTAL in last but best effort puts her in the mix at a price

TENTH

1-6-10-5

FLY SO TRUE has been off nearly a year but barn usually has them ready

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