Best Bets of the Weekend: Churchill Single, Bomber at Belmont

Fans discuss the races on opening night at Churchill Downs in 2014. (Eclipse Sportswire)

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, April 29

Best Bet

Santa Anita Park, Race 7, Thunder Road Stakes, 7 p.m. ET

#3 Bolo: It’s interesting to me to see this horse entered in a Grade 3 race as opposed to the usual Grade 1s he’s been racing in. Perhaps he’s entered in here because there are no other Grade 1/Grade 2 mile turf races? He’s had two really good 2017 starts thus far, so I don’t view it as problematic. I love to see Mike Smith aboard and Bolo returning to Santa Anita Park – a track his last three wins have come at. I think he’s much the best.

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 9, William Walker Stakes, 10:11 p.m. ET

#1 Syndergaard: One poor race is often very easy for me to dismiss, and I think it’s even easier to do when it’s up against some of the early Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands favorites. He draws a great post-position to break to the lead, and I actually think the sprinting distance of six furlongs he’s entered at today suits him best. He takes a huge drop in class and meets a very soft field. The price at post time will reflect that, however he will be the single in all of my exotic wagers.

Sunday, April 30

Longshot Play

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

#1 Thaddeus: His first start was ultra-disappointing. He had a slow break and never really recovered after that. I do find it interesting that he’s making his second career start for a new trainer after more than eight months off. He’s had some steady workouts since February, and there are a couple of solid ones, which might indicate he could be sitting on a big effort. I anticipate a good price at post time, and I’ll certainly be taking a shot.

Longshot Play

Santa Anita Park, Race 9, 8 p.m. ET

#5 Ample Sufficiency: This colt is certainly bred for the turf, and I hold a lot of weight to the caliber of competition he’s faced in Ireland. In his third start, he narrowly missed winning a Group 2 race, finishing fifth by a length. He’ll be racing for the first time on Lasix (furosemide), and removes blinkers today. I think he’ll like the firmer turf. It’s worth a look handicapping this colt with your eyes in the post parade to see how he’s handling the change of equipment and scenery.

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