Belle’s Best Bets: Finding a Fair Price, Falcons Offense to Take Flight

Fans celebrate a winner at Churchill Downs during Breeders’ Cup week. (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. 17

Longshot Play

Aqueduct, Race 7, 3:17 p.m. ET

#7 Lunaire: The price should be fair at post time on this runner who put forth some good efforts closing from off the pace, and he takes a noticeable drop in class today. Distance should not be an issue nor should pace as there seems to be more than enough speed entered today. Hopefully, there’s a speed duel up front and this runner is able to reel them in deep in the stretch.

Best Bet

Aqueduct, Race 8, Red Smith Stakes, 3:47 p.m. ET

#6 Call Provision: He has not taken very well to softer turf with some disappointing efforts. He tends to start a little bit slowly on a “good” turf course, so on Saturday let’s hope for some good weather and firm ground. I think he’s at his best when closer to the pace. He should appreciate the return to racing on the grass at Aqueduct, a course on which he’s posted a record of three wins and one runner-up finish through four starts.

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 7, 4:06 p.m. ET

#4 Harvey Wallbanger: He’s put forth three very solid efforts in attempts to break his maiden, unfortunately two late stretch duels have led to two of his three consecutive second-place finishes. On paper, it looks like he’s making a move a little bit too early and getting outfinished in the stretch. If that’s the case, hopefully the stretch bid is a little bit more calculated. Seeing him return so quickly after a start on Oct. 28 is a really good sign and he clearly looms as the one to beat.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 9, 5:06 p.m. ET

#5 Auspicious Babe: Her two most recent starts were rather disappointing races where she had nothing left in the stretch and tired badly at short prices. Her recent workouts following those two starts look fine. She definitely performs best when a little bit closer to the pace, so hopefully she breaks well. I like her chances at a really fair 6-1 morning-line price.

Favorite Sports Pick of the weekend

Sunday, Nov. 8

National Football League: Dallas Cowboys @ Atlanta Falcons

PICK: Atlanta Falcons team total over 26 (-110): Atlanta has been a complete disappointment this season thus far, however they have played much better at home, where they have won three of five games and scored 30 or more points four times. The Falcons game plan will be passing …  and lots of it. They rank 29th in the league in rushing yards per game with 89.9, but second in passing yards with 319.1. Defensively, the Falcons have been terrible, so it’s difficult to back them to win, especially as favorites. The Falcons will need to put points on the board to make up for their poor defensive play, and I think they will do just that.

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