Belle’s Best Bets: Live Longshots For Travers Day

Fans at Saratoga cheer for a winner earlier during the 2018 summer meet. (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. 25

Best Bet

Saratoga Race Course, Race 7, Personal Ensign Stakes, 2:59 p.m. ET

#1 Abel Tasman: It is exciting to see these two super fillies unite again for the first time since the Coaching Club American Oaks more than a year ago. I think the race will play out in a more favorable way for Abel Tasman as she will almost surely be closer to the pace and draws a better post to solidify that early position. Distance wise, I do think Elate prefers going longer whereas this looks ideal for my top choice.

Best Bet

Saratoga Race Course, Race 9, Forego Stakes, 4:12 p.m. ET

#8 City of Light: He has had no problems finding the winner’s circle this year and he does ship well, which bodes favorably for a runner traveling cross country to try a track for the first time. He possesses some great tactical speed and should be forwardly placed today. I like his chances to go right to the from and lead from start to finish.

Longshot Play

Saratoga Race Course, Race 10, Sword Dancer Stakes, 4:49 p.m. ET

#6 Bigger Picture: I have no concerns with him handling the 1 ½-mile distance. It definitely looks like he prefers going longer, and he’s already been successful traveling long. He has had some really wide stretch runs, which have certainly compromised his chances of winning in a couple of starts in his career. Hopefully, he works out a ground-saving trip and can blow by runners late.

Longshot Play

Saratoga Race Course, Race 11, Runhappy Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, 5:44 p.m. ET

#11 Catholic Boy: He’s performed well enough on the dirt, although I’m typically not a fan of horses trying out multiple surfaces, especially within the stakes ranks. I like how he’s been perfect since Javier Castellano has been on board, and I think he may find a strong liking to the lengthy Saratoga stretch. He will almost surely be coming from off the pace and I think can track them down in deep stretch.

Favorite Sports Pick of the weekend

Saturday, Aug. 25

Canadian Football League: Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Calgary Stampeders

PICK: Calgary Stampeders team total over 30.5 (-120): The Stampeders really struggled to get their offense going early last week and, although they scored three touchdowns in the second half and started clicking, it was too little too late. The Stamps not putting up big points is a rarity and, despite their loss last week, they are by far the best team in the CFL.  The Blue Bombers lead the league currently in rushing yards and points scored, so it will be pivotal for the Stamps to put up some points at home and I think they do so with ease.

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