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, Aug. 19
#2 Holy Helena: This talented filly has wins over both dirt and synthetic surfaces with her two best performances being over the synthetic. She impressively stalked the boys and worked out a near perfect trip in the Queen's Plate last month to win handily. She receives a top pilot today in John Velazquez and the level of her talent remains a mystery as she competes against some the best of the east and west.
#5 Unchained Melody: It's interesting to see Rosario's choice out of the two super talented fillies. I'm rather shocked he chose Unchained Melody over Salty he has ridden five times prior. Perhaps it's due to how easily she won in her last start, or her being some of the only speed in the race may have played a factor. I think she may have it just the way she wants it on the front end and certainly looms as the one to beat.
#8 Arrogate: He meets a tough field today but that's what he's been used to doing his entire career. I really do think he just didn't feel like running in the San Diego Handicap at the end of July and I'm not entirely concerned with how he will "bounce back" as that effort last time out seemed to be the exception. There's no denying he'd prefer to be forwardly placed and the outside post could prove to be a tricky one to make sure it's established, however there isn't a lot of early speed which certainly works to his advantage. The price will be short, but I do think he's worthy of a single in your exotics if you so choose to include this race.
#6 Meadowsweet: Beyer speed figure-wise, she fits in with the group and it's interesting to see jockey Kent Desormeaux choose this filly over the one to his direct outside whom he's ridden in each of her career starts. It's nice to see her have three solid turf efforts and I think the distance is great for her particular pedigree and running style. She takes an enormous jump up in class from the optional claiming ranks into graded stakes but I think the early running style helps her chances and it's possible she hits the board at an enormous price.
Sunday, Aug. 20
Saratoga Race Course, Race 5, 3:15 p.m. ET
#6 Sureis: This filly was never a factor in her first start after being bumped at the start. I still thing having one career start may prove to be super valuable especially at a distance over a mile like she's entered into today. The price should be right and I expect to see an improved effort pending a good, clean break.