Best Bets of the Weekend: Belmont Longshot, Saturday Stakes Picks

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, Sept. 16

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 5, 2:45 p.m. ET

#3 Queen Bernardina: After a great performance breaking her maiden going a mile last year at Churchill Downs, connections chose to enter her immediately into a Grade 1 race where she was bet down to 5-1. She's struggled mightily since then but I think that's partly due to the much tougher competition she's been facing as well as not excelling at distances of a mile or more. I think she will certainly appreciate the return to racing against restricted fillies and mares and could work out a nice stalking trip relaxing off of quick fractions.

Longshot Play

Belmont Park, Race 5, 3:36 p.m. ET

#9 City Day: She is very well bred on both sides of her pedigree and I expect her to find success racing over the turf. She was heavily bet in her debut which was initially scheduled to be a turf race, but was taken off. It's usually safe to assume being given Lasix (furosemide) for the first time she may put forth a big effort. I anticipate her to break somewhere mid-pack and make her move on the front-runners late.

Best Bet

Arlington Park, Race 6, $65,000 Richard Scherer Memorial Stakes, 4:07 p.m. ET

#5 Puntsville: You can't ignore how she's excelled over the all-weather surface and how she's found success against stakes competition. She has shown some nice early gate speed, however I think she's more than content in a stalking position if the pace or a bad break dictate otherwise. There are quite a few front-running horses but I can't particularly envision a speed duel up front hurting her chances. She looks much the best.

Best Bet

Belmont Park, Race 9, $400,000 Sands Point Stakes, 5:45 p.m. ET

#4 La Coronel: She definitely disappointed in her last start – she was never a factor and faded late; however I think there's something to be said about racing over a turf course not listed as "firm." I expect her to improve today as she returns to facing mostly easier and perhaps a jockey change could help bring her back to her winning ways. She should be a good price as she meets a very tough field.

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