Belle’s Best Bets: Spa Stakes, Kentucky Downs Double

Fans at Saratoga get up close with a horse in between races. (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, Sept. 1

Longshot Play

Kentucky Downs, Race 3, 62,500 Optional Claiming, 2:32 p.m. ET

#11 Field of Courage: Well, we know he likes sprint distances, which certainly isn’t the case for many others in here. He’s also ran on the turf seven times with one win and a third, so I do think this might be his best surface. The post position is going to be tricky but the price at post will make up for it. His best efforts have been when he’s closer to the pace, so let’s hope for a clean break today!

Longshot Play

Saratoga Race Course, Race 9, Saranac Stakes, 5:39 p.m. ET

#9 Maraud: He’s ran quite a few races on less-than-ideal turf surfaces, so hopefully the rain stays away this weekend and the turf course is listed as firm. This runner has not been the most consistent, but I do think when on his game he’s certainly capable of competing against the best. Irad Ortiz Jr. has been great when on board, leading him to a win and second-place finish. We will be hoping for similar results today!

Best Bet

Kentucky Downs, Race 9, Kentucky Downs Juvenile Stakes, 5:58 p.m. ET

#3 Good Game: He’s entering today off an intriguing third-place finish against a tough field at Saratoga. He ran well last time out, but it looked like he ran out of racing room in the stretch while making a four-wide rally. I think he’s better suited today at this longer, one-mile distance, and I think drawing inside sets him up for a nice ground-saving, rail trip. Hopefully, he has more today in the stretch and he can track down the pacesetters late.

Best Bet

Saratoga Race Course, Race 10, Swinaway Stakes, 6:13 p.m. ET

#4 Catherinethegreat: Although there were quite a few impressive debuts within 2-year-old maiden races and fillies showing a ton of upside, I think out of the bunch she really stands out. Her dominant maiden win and victory in the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes show that the jump into facing stakes competition wasn’t too large and she’s well prepared to race against the best. I like how she draws inside and, although the price will most likely be shorter than I like at post time, she really looks like a standout.

Favorite Sports Pick of the weekend

Sunday, Sept. 2

Canadian Football League: Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Saskatchewan Roughriders

PICK: Saskatchewan Roughriders team total over 29.5 (-120): As much as I think this game could go either way in the win category, it’s going to be difficult to keep this Roughriders team out of the end zone especially with the way the Blue Bombers defense has been struggling as of late. They have given up a combined 83 points in their last two games and really struggled in the second half of games.

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