Best Bets of the Weekend: Woodbine Focus

The action heats up at Woodbine this weekend with graded stakes on Saturday and Sunday. (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, July 1

Best Bet

Gulfstream Park, Race 11, Carry Back Stakes, 5:02 p.m. ET

#3 Three Rules: He’s gone from a perfect 5-for-5 to lose his next five in a row, which definitely doesn’t look good on paper. I think it’s important to gauge the competitiveness and the talent he’s raced against in those defeats. Some of his recent foes have been: Always Dreaming, Gunnevera, Practical Joke, Classic Empire and Recruiting Ready. It’s nice to see him back sprinting, and I anticipate this colt looking comfortable leading every step of the way.

Best Bet

Woodbine, Race 10, Dominion Day Stakes, 5:58 p.m. ET

#5 Are You Kidding Me: He narrowly missed last time out after being left with just a little bit too much work to do in deep stretch. There’s no denying he loves Woodbine and looks to be in super sharp form again in 2017. I expect him to work out a perfect, stalking trip while saving ground behind the front-runners. By no means is this an easy race, and the price does seem short, but I think there’s something to be said about current form and the success he’s had on the all-weather surface at Woodbine, particularly as of late.

Sunday, July 2

Exacta Box

Woodbine, Race 6, King Edward Stakes, 2:53 p.m. ET

#6 Shakhimat: There was a time last year where this gelding looked to be the clear favorite for the Queen’s Plate. The digression of competition, the poor efforts and the two sprint races seem a little bit odd to me, but I do think he has a ton of talent. I’m not willing to write this horse off just yet, as the addition of Javier Castellano today certainly adds to his appeal.

#5 Tower of Texas: His best effort will most likely win him the race comfortably; however, he’s been very inconsistent and has only found the win column twice in his last 10 starts. I think there’s something to be said about the competition he’s faced, but I do also think he’s dependent upon a good trip. He’s definitely capable of making it two in a row today, but there are others at better prices that intrigue me.

#9 Hootenanny: He’s another in here who has lacked consistency; however, his best effort could definitely be rewarded. He’s entered at the one-mile distance today, which is where he’s found the most success. Speed-wise, he looks a tad slow, however not all races end up being speed duels on the front end. The addition of jockey Jose Ortiz is always a positive, and he’s a huge overlay at 8-to-1 odds. I’ll take a shot.

Best Bet

Woodbine, Race 9, Dance Smartly Stakes, 4:51 p.m. ET

#5 Suffused: Her last start looked to be the exception as she’s been consistently putting up 100+ Beyer Speed Figures against much better than she faced last time out. This is a good distance for her, and I anticipate a trip in which she settles nicely into third or fourth behind the speed and makes a move at the top of the stretch.

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