Belle’s Best Bets: High-Class Standout at Del Mar

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, Aug. 18

Best Bet

Monmouth Park, Race 10, Monmouth Oaks, 5:09 p.m. ET

#3 Gio Game: A lack of consistency has been a huge issue for her along with many others in this race, and asking most of them to compete within the graded stakes ranks seems like a tall asking. I think this shorter distance is much better suited for her as she seemed to have tired late going longer in prior races. She takes a substantial class drop and luckily won’t face the likes of Monomoy Girl or defending champion juvenile filly Caledonia Road.

Longshot Play

Woodbine, Race 10, Breeders’ Stakes, 5:45 p.m. ET

#7 Neepawa: I don’t think turf is the preferred surface for many of these runners, which makes this an intriguing race with huge upset potential. It’s tricky to gauge if this horse wants any part of a mile and a half. He’s gotten tired in lot of his longer races (mostly due to speed duels, or racing wide). His stalking style plays well into the distance, and Mark Casse always seems to find his way to the winner’s circle at Woodbine.

Longshot Play

Del Mar, Race 8, Del Mar Oaks Presented by The Jockey Club, 8:40 p.m. ET

#5 Fatale Bere: Unlike the TVG Pacific Classic, the Del Mar Oaks has a much larger and far more competitive field. This filly has had a couple of slow breaks and unfortunate racing events compromise her chances, like a slipped saddle in the Honeymoon Stakes two starts back. I think she will be much closer to the pace today and her turf pedigree may help her pull off the upset at big post-time odds.

Best Bet

Del Mar, Race 10, TVG Pacific Classic Stakes, 9:43 p.m. ET

#5 Accelerate: His consistency makes him a hard candidate to play against. He’s made light work of opponents in Grade 1 stakes already this year and doesn’t need to be on the front end to win. Racing versatility is such a secret weapon in races like this, where there are often speedy horses and the break may not be ideal. I think he’s the class of the field, and although regular jockey Victor Espinoza will be out for some time due to injury, he has a very capable replacement in Joel Rosario.

Sports Pick of the Weekend

Friday, Aug. 17

Canadian Football League: Ottawa Redblacks at Winnipeg Bluebombers

PICK: Ottawa Redblacks team total over 22.5 (-120). The Bluebombers will be without one of their best receivers in Weston Dressler, and losing one of their key offensive playmakers could be potentially harmful. These two teams have historically played each other very tough and since 2015 have split the series 3-3.

The Redblacks are coming off a huge game with a lot of net yardage, but they failed to put up many points on the board due in large part to four fumbles. Their success could certainly be duplicated, and if they want to pull off the upset, they will need to put up points versus a Bluebombers team that leads the league in numerous offensive categories.

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