Belle’s Best Bets: Looking for Nice Price at Keeneland, Woodbine

Fans at Keeneland watch the horses race into the stretch. (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, Oct. 4

Best Bet

Santa Anita Park, Race 4, Speakeasy Stakes, 4:00 p.m. ET

#3 Mae Never Know: Although she has never raced on the turf, last race was scheduled to be on grass but was moved to the dirt and held on a sloppy dirt track. That ended up proving to be her most impressive effort as she led every step of the way following a very sharp break. Hopefully, she puts forth another effort like her most recent one, and shows off some of that speed she certainly seems to possess.

Longshot Play

Keeeneland Race Course, Race 8, First Lady Stakes, 4:40 p.m. ET

#7 Dona Bruja: She didn’t have enough left in deep stretch two starts back after setting a rather tepid pace. In her last start, she was never a factor as the effort was flat the whole way through. I think an off-the-pace style of racing suits her best, and I feel she is being completely overlooked due to her recent struggles. She’s still won 11 of 17 career races and showed flashes of dominance on the turf.

Longshot Play

Woodbine, Race 8, Mazarine Stakes, 4:49 p.m. ET

#1 Comic Kitten: I am not particularly fond of most of the shorter-priced runners who will be making their first start in a route race in the Mazarine. The stretch out in distance from sprinting to racing over a mile is often very tricky, and I usually like to see horses that have had success going longer before. After an impressive maiden victory on the all-weather surface, she moved to the turf and seemed a bit overmatched. I like the return to the all-weather surface, and I like her chances at a big price.

Best Bet

Keeeneland Race Course, Race 9, Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, 5:14 p.m. ET

#13 Mind Control: An outside post position in a field this big could prove exceptionally tricky, however this colt has shown some great early speed and so far he seems to show a great early jump out of the gate. I think he’s shown the most poise as a 2-year-old in this field thus far and his racing consistency has been great. I think he’s good enough to overcome the outside post, and backers of this runner may be rewarded with higher than expected odds because of it!

Favorite Sports Pick of the weekend

Saturday, Oct. 6

Tulane @ Cincinnati

PICK: Cincinnati Bearcats team total over 29.5 (-110): Tulane looks like a much weaker team on the road losing 10 of its last 12 road games. Cincinnati is undefeated at 5-0 this year and does possess some impressive victories. The most impressive is probably scoring 49 unanswered after yielding the opening kickoff to UCONN. They have been super successful putting points on the board this year, both through the air and on the ground. I see no signs of them slowing down offensively.

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