Houston Ladies Classic looks ripe for an upset

The Grade III, $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic, Sam Houston’s annual centerpiece event, is set for Sunday. A field of seven will do battle over 1 1/16th-miles on the main oval, including Grade III Rampart winner LETRUSKA. Post time for the Houston Ladies Classic, Race 8 of 10 on the day, is 6:32 p.m. ET.

#7 LETRUSKA (EVEN, morning-line favorite) was last seen winning Gulfstream’s Rampart Stakes by 6 3/4-lengths in December. As a result, she’s getting plenty of respect by the track oddsmaker. However, the Houston Ladies Classic is far from a “gimmie” for the speedy LETRUSKA.

The daughter of Super Saver figures to get a stern early challenge from #1 MOTION EMOTION (7-2). The Steve Asmussen trainee was last seen trying to wire the Grade I Personal Ensign at Saratoga while still under the care of Richard Baltas. MOTION EMOTION has worked sensationally since that off-the-board finish in August, drilling back-to-back bullets at Sam Houston to prepare for this.

Having drawn the rail, Miguel Mena figures to be aggressive and challenge LETRUSKA and Jesus Castanon for the lead. If the pace falls apart, #2 JEWELED PRINCESS (8-1) could be one to take advantage at a nice price.

JEWELED PRINCESS is in fantastic form at present, having crossed the line first in five of her last six races. That includes her victory in the She’s All In Stakes at Remington Park last month. JEWELED PRINCESS gets live rider switch to Reylu Gutierrez for the Houston Ladies Classic. Anything above 4-1 would be fair enough to take a shot with on this Ken McPeek pupil.

The play: $10 win 2

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