Belle’s Best Bets: Aqueduct Class Drop, NFL Shootout

Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing

America’s Best Racing, Belle Premium American Vodka, and handicapper (and avid gambler) Monique Vág team up to provide horseplayers with their best bets of the weekend.

Vág will identify her top picks as well as at least one 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 occasionally look for strong exacta plays for the weekend or try to spot a nice opportunity for other wagers.

Belle Premium American Vodka is the official vodka of America’s Best Racing. The American-made, American-owned vodka is distilled in Virginia, the birthplace of Thoroughbred breeding and racing in North America. The company’s mascot, Belle ‘n Tonic, broke her maiden at Laurel Park in Maryland last April. 

This Weekend’s Bets

Saturday Nov. 10

Best Bet

Woodbine, Race 1, 1:00 p.m. ET

#2 Strike It Royal: The price should be short for this runner who has come close to winning in both of her prior starts. Unfortunately, due to contested stretch runs, she’s come up a bit short so far. Today, she tries her luck in a turf sprint once again, and draws a great post position where she should be able to secure the front end early.

Longshot Play

Woodbine, Race 3, 2:02 p.m. ET

#6 Worlds Apart: It’s tough to gauge her first start, as she was interfered with early and was never a part of the race with no room to run in the stretch. There have been times in her workouts where she’s flashed some speed, and perhaps if she uses that ability, this filly could avoid potential troubles in the stretch if she’s not boxed in and forced too wide.  Her trainer, Malcolm Pierce, has excellent numbers for second-time turf starters, and with horses making their second career start. This runner is worthy of a closer look at a big price.

Longshot Play

Aqueduct, Race 6, Atlantic Beach Stakes, 2:47 p.m. ET

#2 Neverland Rock: I like that all of his career races, whether in North America or England, have been turf sprints. His only career start here was interesting as he had a rough start and tired late. It’s very possible he didn’t take well to the change of scenery, and adding blinkers today might make all the difference. I like how jockey Joel Rosario stays on board, and the price should be generous at post time to take a shot on a runner with a fantastic pedigree and some good turf results already.

Best Bet

Aqueduct, Race 8, Artie Schiller Stakes, 3:47 p.m. ET

#1 Qurbaan: Aqueduct’s turf course is tricky, and with this runner drawing the inside post, it’s imperative he breaks well out of the gate to secure some early position to avoid being shuffled back late. Although he’s only raced twice in North America, he’s put forth two solid efforts – winning once, and running third when it appeared the turf condition wasn’t to his liking. He takes an enormous drop in class out of Grade 1 racing to run in a listed stakes race, and certainly looks like the one to beat.

Sports Pick of the Weekend

Sunday, Nov. 11

New Orleans Saints @ Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. ET

PICK: Cincinnati Bengals +6 (-110): These two teams have shown very potent offenses. Combined, they are putting up better than 62 points per game. The Saints have won seven straight and are coming off a huge win, handing the Los Angeles Rams their first loss of the season.

Cincinnati is coming off a bye week after getting out to an early start versus Tampa Bay, but allowing the Buccaneers to tie the score by surrendering 18 points in the fourth quarter. Points should be easy to come by once again, and while the Saints are favorites for a reason and look like the team to beat, the Bengals are 3-1 at home and have played some of their best football there. Take the 6 points with Cincinnati in what should be a high scoring, but close, matchup.

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