Best Bets of the Weekend: Queen of the North, Champ Returns

Fans enjoy an afternoon of racing at Woodbine. (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, July 29

Longshot Play

Woodbine, Race 8, Royal North Stakes 4:47 p.m. ET

#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.

Best Bet

Del Mar, Race 9, Bing Crosby Stakes, 9:10 p.m. ET

Eclipse Sportswire

#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

Exacta Box

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.

Best Bet

Monmouth Park,  Race 11, WinStar Matchmaker Stakes, 5:12 p.m. ET

#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.

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