Best Bets of the Weekend: Holiday Weekend Picks at Saratoga

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. 2

Longshot Play

Saratoga Race CourseRace 5, 3:17 p.m. ET

#4 Lookin for Eight: This colt ran exceptionally well in his second career start and connections thought so highly of him they chose to run him in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in March. Obviously he proved to be a tad bit overmatched, but he didn’t run all that badly considering. It’s very interesting to see trainer Mark Casse entering him on the turf here. I never question trainer moves like this, and I think this colt will appreciate the drop out of the graded stakes ranks to face easier.

Best Bet

Saratoga Race Course, Race 11, $750,000 Woodward Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, 6:46 p.m. ET

#2 Gun Runner: He’s won four of his last five starts and looks like he’s really been in career form recently. He’s the lone speed in this race and judging by his rivals’ racing styles it doesn’t look like anyone will be sent along to contest the pace. There seems to be a huge skill gap between the other runners in the race with many moving up in class. Looks like an easy race for Gun Runner with a very soft field entered.

Longshot Play

Saratoga Race CourseRace 12, $200,000 Glens Falls Stakes, 7:17 p.m. ET

#1 Happyness: This mare was moved from Chad Brown at the end of last year and made her racing debut for Graham Motion in early July. This will be her third start since that change in trainers and third start in less than two months. Typically I like seeing horses run back quickly – usually a good indicator of fitness. With virtually no speed in this race, being closer to the pace and drawing the rail post could prove to be advantageous.

Sunday, Sept. 3

Exacta Box

Saratoga Race CourseRace 11, 6:13 p.m. ET

#9 Blue Atlas: I like the outside posts in turf sprints especially from runners who like to be close to the pace. It’s also a positive sign for me to already see this filly with two career starts – both on the turf. She’ll be a short price again today, and I’ll probably play against her, however she definitely looms as the one to beat.

#7 Cross Multiply: This colt is similar to the one mentioned above with two career starts and one over this exact turf course. He’s entered back off less than two weeks – a good sign – and enters off a super-impressive training time going three furlongs in 35 2/5 seconds. He’s definitely ready and is another which should be racing closer to the pace.

#1 Zigmund: I hate the rail post in turf sprints, there’s no denying it’s a super tricky place to be and it’s exceptionally tough to establish early position, however I think he’s definitely capable of filling up the second slot in an exacta wager. He’s bred well for the turf and comes in off some pretty steady works from June. It’s nice to see an aggressive rider in Rajiv Maragh on board, and I think he could be sent along early to try and establish position.

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