Best Bets of the Weekend: Fall Stars Focus

Fans pack the Keeneland Race Course paddock area to get up close to the competition at one of racing’s most impressive venues. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

America’s Best Racing and handicapper (and avid gambler) Monique Vág team up to provide horseplayers with their best bets of the weekend in a regular feature blog that will run on Fridays.

For some posts, Vág will try to identify a longshot play of the weekend, a nice opportunity to swing for the fences on a win bet or to take a shot with a show bet. She also will look for strong exacta plays for the weekend or occasionally try to spot a nice opportunity for other wagers.

This Weekend’s Bets

Longshot Play

Saturday, Race 5, Keeneland Race Course, Woodford Stakes Presented by Keeneland Select, 3:25 p.m. ET

#12 Mongolian Saturday: I think the outside post and large field will help give us a higher than normal price on this gelding. He won last year’s TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint out of the outside post and I think, because of his early speed, it actually works to his advantage. We can be fairly certain he won’t run into traffic trouble or be squeezed in on the rail like many of the others drawing inside. He makes his return to North America after racing in Hong Kong and Great Britain.

Best Bet

Saturday, Race 7, Keeneland Race Course, First Lady Stakes, 4:35 p.m. ET

#2 Tepin: It feels like cheating selecting this mare as a “best bet,” however, she’s been spectacular. Her perfect record of 3-for-3 at Keeneland is an added bonus! She seems so much the fastest in here and clearly is the class of the field. Not that any Grade 1 is particularly easy, but she’s in a league of her own Saturday and won’t be meeting any of her main turf rivals.

Best Bet

Saturday, Race 9, Keeneland Race Course, Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes, 5:45 p.m. ET

#8 Ironicus: There aren’t many turf horses anywhere in the world that could give Tepin a run for her money, however I firmly believe, if healthy, Ironicus is one. His 2015 form was exceptionally impressive, but injuries kept him out of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile. He’s shown ability to win spotting the field up to 10 lengths, but he’s also won sitting just off the pace. Versatility is key. He’s never been off the board in turf races in his career, and I don’t think he would be entered today unless fit, sound and ready.

Longshot Play

Sunday, Race 10, Keeneland Race Course, 6:18 p.m. ET

#7 Dona Elba: This filly ran well enough in her debut to catch my attention in this wide-open field of maidens. I think she will certainly appreciate the added furlongs today. I like how jockey Miguel Mena stays on board after riding her in the debut race. If her workouts are any indication, she has some sneaky speed and drew enough betting attention in her first start to spark my interest.

newsletter sign-up

Stay up-to-date with the best from America's Best Racing!