Best Bets: Full Slate of Stakes Selections

Fans crowd the rail at Gulfstream Park. (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

Saturday, Dec. 16

Best Bet

Gulfstream Park, Race 7, $100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes, 3:05 p.m. ET

#1 Dearest: This multiple stakes winner draws a relatively soft field and a great post position to win this six-furlong contest. I think this a great distance and I anticipate her to be positioned close to the pace, perhaps even on the front end.  Her best races have been run off a layoff of couple months so I wouldn’t say the time off is cause for concern as it looks to be the norm for her training regime. Short price, but she is definitely worthy of favorite status.

Best Bet

Gulfstream Park, Race 8, $100,000 My Charmer Stakes, 3:35 p.m. ET

#5 On Leave: I think this filly is a notch above her competition today as she’s a multiple stakes winner, seems to prefer racing at this distance – one mile – and she’s also fairly fresh off her 107 Beyer speed figure effort. Timing-wise, she looks to be in a league of her own. I think she will be forwardly placed and attempt to wire the field today as not many in here have shown early speed, nor do a lot of these like to win racing on the front end.

Longshot Play

Fair Grounds, Race 10, $75,000 Tenacious Stakes, 6:35 p.m. ET

#2 Far Right: I’m very intrigued by this ridgling who has been competitive against some top horses this meet at Keeneland and Churchill Downs. I think this is a good distance for him, and I think although he hasn’t won in almost 10 months, he’s put forth some very competitive efforts. I think I’m much more intrigued by why connections are choosing to enter him in a stakes race rather than drop him versus easier optional claiming horses. Perhaps he’s impressed in workouts? At 10-1 on the morning line in a wide-open field, I’m willing to take a shot.  

Sunday, Dec. 17

Longshot Play

Remington Park, Race 12, $100,000 Trapeze Stakes, 9:08 p.m. ET

#6 Rose of Malibu: Very low morning-line odds on this horse at 6-1 who I anticipate will be almost double that near post time. Although she hasn’t tried the route distance yet, her pedigree looks promising that she should handle the added furlongs very well. I like the way she has closed in her races, it looks like she’s been screaming out for those added furlongs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see fast early fractions as a lot of these horses seem to want to be forwardly placed and this could open up the door to see her late closing kick. The race may set up perfectly for her.

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