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, Oct. 14
Belmont Park, Race 3, 2:01 p.m. ET
#3 Expensive Taste: This filly ships in from Del Mar off a very solid effort against maiden company. She will be trying her luck on the East Coast with a new trainer, and I think might appreciate the extra eighth of a mile in this race. With rain expected in the forecast, it’s good to see her solid pedigree, which may even give her an advantage if the track is off. She posted a nice bullet workout in her last training effort.
Woodbine, Race 8, Victorian Queen Stakes, 4:54 p.m. ET
#3 Silent Sinner: It’s tough to gauge the potential of most of these horses because they only have one or two career starts, however if I’m analyzing them off those, this looks like a very evenly matched group. I like how in her only career start this filly has a win on the synthetic Tapeta Footings surface at Woodbine, so I anticipate her to take well to it again today. She will very likely be forwardly placed and, with not a lot of speed entered, she could be left relatively alone on the front end.
Belmont Park, Race 9, Pebbles Stakes, 5:19 p.m. ET
#2 Rubilinda: This filly sired by Frankel was expected to be good, and she’s certainly shown glimpses of her potential already. With quite a few horses entered with front-running styles, this greatly increases the appeal on this filly who prefers to race from off the pace. I don’t see why she should run into any problems stretching out to a mile for this race and perhaps we may find that it actually suits her racing style better as the added distance allows for a little bit more room for error if her break isn’t clean.
Sunday, Oct. 15
#1 Oscar Nominated: This ridgling may find himself in the right place at the right time as it looks like he may be able to work out an ideal, ground-saving rail trip. He’s shown some solid efforts traveling this distance, and I think his racing style of sitting midpack may be advantageous in a race like this with most of the speed drawing outside. He’ll be a big price at post time, and I would accept no less than high double-digit odds, but he’s worthy of a WPS bet or exacta box play if you agree he could work out the right trip.
#4 Idaho: He disappointed last year in his exact race as a super-short-priced favorite and hasn’t had any success whatsoever racing in North America … yet. I do think he’s one of the most talented horses on paper but for some reason he’s been struggling. The turf at Woodbine is a surface I anticipate him relishing, and the chance of rain in the forecast shouldn’t affect him. This horse has done a lot of traveling, not only for this start but for the majority of his racing career, which definitely could be a huge contributing factor for his struggles. If possible, check to see how he looks in the post parade and views from the paddock. Sometimes, physical indicators are the best way to judge how fit a horse is and if they want to run.
#8 Messi: He’s been incredibly inconsistent and hasn’t won in six starts since a victory in the Grade 2 Sky Classic Stakes in August 2016 at Woodbine. Stylistically, he hasn’t really shown if he’s a horse who likes to sit off the pace or closer to the front, but it’s nice to see him with two consecutive big efforts since Jose Ortiz has been riding. I definitely think he’s a live longshot, and it’s nice to see him coming off his career-best Beyer Speed Figure (104) in his last start at this very track. He’s definitely capable of defeating his main rivals.