Belle’s Best Bets: Intriguing Longshot at Belmont, Value in Joe Hirsch

Fans pack in by the rail at Belmont Park to watch the live racing action. (Eclipse Sportswire)

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, Sept. 29

Longshot Play

Belmont Park, Race 5, 2:54 p.m. ET

#6 Tip at Tapit: She made her racing debut on a yielding turf course, so it’s rather difficult to gauge if she didn’t take well to the turf or just had a poor break from the starting gate that she was never able to overcome. Regardless, racing experience when backing maiden runners is usually super valuable, and I think the addition of blinkers might be useful to help her get off to a better start.

Best Bet

Woodbine, Race 7, Ontario Damsel Stakes, 4:21 p.m. ET

#2 Dixie Moon: Her best efforts have been when on or near the lead, so I hope to see her take advantage of the inside post and go right to the front. Although her most impressive win was arguably in the Woodbine Oaks racing on the all-weather track, I do feel turf is her ideal surface and I like the way she’s typically gotten a good jump out of the starting gate when racing on grass. The price is shorter than I would like, however I think she’s by far the most talented runner in the field and meets relatively soft competition today.

Longshot Play

Belmont Park, Race 8, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes, 4:42 p.m. ET

#3 Sadler’s Joy: It’s been a while since he’s found the winner's circle, and I think a lot of that is due to the tough competition he’s been entered against and his ideal racing style being reliant on an honest pace. There should be a few runners in here that will attempt to be close to the pace, and I think if the fractions are honest, or on the quicker side, that gives this runner a huge leg up on his competition. I hope to see him finally get back to his winning ways, most likely by showing off his impressive closing kick to get up in time.

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 8, Ack Ack Stakes, 9:39 p.m. ET

#6 Seeking the Soul: There isn’t really much that separates this field, so the Ack Ack should be a super-interesting race where the odds should dictate who to select. While consistency has been an issue plaguing most of these runners, I think if everyone shows up Saturday, I give Seeking the Soul the nod. Hopefully, he works out a perfect stalking trip and can use his speed to track down the front-runners in deep stretch.

Sports Pick of the Weekend

Sunday, Sept. 30

National Football League: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts

PICK: Houston Texans +2 (-110): The Texans take to the road for the third time this season. Offensively, they have struggled to put points on the board and it’s taken a lot longer than anticipated to get quarterback Deshaun Watson back to what he showed us years ago, but I think this is the perfect game to get their confidence back. Defensively, they should be able to capitalize off some Colts mistakes, and I think we are getting points with a far more talented team here that could easily win this outright.

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