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, July 8
Belmont Park, Race 5, 4 p.m. ET
#5 Roman Approval: He should appreciate the drop out of the graded stakes ranks and returning to a distance at which he's experienced success. The two miles in his last race looked to be a little bit long, especially for a horse which enjoys setting the pace. He's entered for a claiming tag today, which usually isn't my favorite angle to back, but I do think running his best race he could beat any in here handily.
#2 Battalion Runner: By no means is it an easy choice trying to look for anything that separates the two short-priced favorites in the Dwyer, but I do think trying to analyze how the race will play out is often an advantageous strategy. With virtually no speed entered today, it looks like this colt will have it just the way he wants on the front end. I doubt there's anyone that will pressure him, and with well-rated fractions on the front end, it doesn't look very likely that he will be caught in the stretch.
#2 Beau Recall: The 1:46.92 last time out racing at 1 1/8 miles certainly caught my interest, and I think if she produces anything like that time today she's a super-live longshot. It's nice to see how she has shown ability to close from as many as 11 lengths back or work out a midpack trip and close strongly in deep stretch. The jockey upgrade to Flavien Prat certainly adds to her appeal.
#6 Shaman Ghost: His last two wins look fantastic on paper, but I really think his two shining moments were his win in the 2016 Woodward Stakes over Frosted and his runner-up effort in the Pegasus World Cup to Arrogate in January. He's really been in career-best form lately, and I'll always favor a horse which has been trending upward over horses that appear to have some of their best efforts behind them.