Belle’s Best Bets: A Trio of Saturday Longshot Plays

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. 20

Best Bet

Belmont Park, Race 2, Iroquois Stakes, 1:00 p.m. ET

#7 Satisfy: This is for sure her toughest test, as she faces off against many runners taking drops in class and some speedy horses that have had success already within the stakes ranks. I love that she is a pure sprinter and hasn't strayed away from what she's best at, and I think the early speed and battle for position upfront work to her advantage, as she's more than comfortable sitting off the pace and making a late run.

Longshot Play

Belmont Park, Race 3, Mohawk Stakes, 1:30 p.m. ET

#6 Mo Maverick: He should be on the front end or forwardly placed in this one, and that's great in a race that really lacks a lot of speed. He's struggled over his most recent three races, tiring late – which isn't what we are used to seeing out of this runner who usually flaunts a nice closing kick. Having taken some time off may be useful, and facing off against a fairly weak field might be all this runner needs to get back into the win column.

Longshot Play

Keeneland, Race 9, Lexus Raven Run Stakes, 5:30 p.m. ET

#1 Amy's Challenge: She struggled in a Grade 2 at Churchill Downs two starts back, but I think a lot of that was just due to not being on her game and perhaps just not feeling up to racing. Timing wise, her second career victory, where she ran six furlongs in 1:09.58, is a standout, and if she races anything that like that on the front end Saturday, she will be incredibly hard to track down late. The morning line odds are generous on a runner with speed who should be on the lead early.

Longshot Play

Keeneland, Race 10, 6:03 p.m. ET

#12 Cosmic Code: It doesn't get much tougher than winning your first ever career start out of post 12. This runner should take really well to trying the turf surface and will have more than enough furlongs to overcome the outside post if the break isn't ideal. Trainer Brad Cox has fantastic numbers for horses making their debut over the turf and for first time starters. She's worthy of a closer look inside the paddock and in the post parade to see how she's taking to being on a racetrack for the first time.

Sports Pick of the Weekend

Sunday Oct. 21

New Orleans Saints @ Baltimore Ravens

Pick: UNDER 51 total points (-110): The Ravens defense has been great this year, allowing only 270 total yards a game. The Saints enter as the third ranked offense with 424 total yards per game. This projects to be a shootout – with the Ravens new offensive success to go alongside their stellar defense – however, the total is very high in a matchup that truly could go either way in a closely contested game that both teams need to win to sit on top of their respective divisions.

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