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 29
#9 River Maid: This mare has had a lot of success on the all-weather surface and that often translates well into racing on the turf. The outside post position isn't ideal, but I think the advantage she has is the ability to race from far back or settle in midpack and make her move in deep stretch. There seems to be quite a bit of speed which often bodes well for closers, and I think this mare's speed figures are high enough to compete with the best. 15-1 is a very generous price to take a shot on a horse who has already been successful within the graded stakes ranks.
#2 Drefong: He meets a group of “up and comers,” many which have made good runs in 2017 thus far. Ideally, I would have liked to see a start in 2017, but seeing the workouts steadily spaced from February, along with a sprinting win after a 6-month layoff in his lines (albeit against easier) are often positives. I think he beat a super tough group of sprinters in last year's TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint, which was as competitive of a race as it gets. This race today is exceptionally important as it is a “Win and You're In” qualifier for the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint here on November 4. I expect him to fire.
Sunday, July 30
Woodbine, Race 8, Wonder Where Stakes, 4:47 p.m. ET
#4 Enstone: This filly will likely break to the front and looks to be the lone speed. Leaving her uncontested on the front has created problems for others in the past, and I think today could be no different. Distance does not seem like an issue as it seems she'll prefers the extra real estate.
#7 Inflexibility: She'll be making her move late as I anticipate she'll try to run down my top selection in deep stretch. She's bred to go long and really does her best running in the last couple of furlongs. I think she will appreciate the return to the turf as opposed to the synthetic Tapeta surface that her last two races were on.
#2 Miss Temple City: Her victory in the Shadwell Turf Mile against males is still very prevalent in my memory, although she definitely has had her struggles in a couple races after that. I'm usually hesitant in backing short-priced horses if it looks like their best races may be behind them, but I do think she meets a really soft field today. Although her race in the Queen Anne was disappointing, having a start under her belt for 2017 is usually good to get back into a competitive gear.