Best Bets: Looking for Longshots on Derby Day

Eclipse Sportswire

America’s Best Racing and handicapper (and avid gambler) Monique Vág team up to provide horseplayers with their best bets of the weekend in a regular feature blog that will run on Fridays.

For some posts, Vág will try to identify a 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 look for strong exacta plays for the weekend or occasionally try to spot a nice opportunity for other wagers.

This Weekend’s Bets

Saturday, May 5

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 6, $300,000 Humana Distaff Stakes, 1:13 p.m. ET

#8 American Gal: Not to take anything away from the others, but she just wasn’t on her game last time out. It’s hard to fault an effort that fell short by a neck after making a start after an eight-month layoff. The advantage is, she should be ready to go today and I think pending a clean break she should be right in the mix of things early.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 7, $300,000 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, 1:55 p.m. ET

#9 On Leave: Very generous morning-line price on a mare who has been exceptionally consistent throughout the graded stakes ranks. She’s found most success at the mile distance and I think her ability to travel well and compete at various tracks is advantageous and could certainly give her an edge.  Speed-wise I like what I’ve seen and I expect her to be sharper making her second start of 2018.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 9, $300,000 American Turf Stakes Presented by Ram Trucks, 3:37 p.m. ET

#1 Speed Franco: In almost every single start this colt has been involved in a speed duel, forced outside, or drifted in deep stretch. With that said, he’s still managed to put forth super impressive results and some quick time figures. He definitely races his best on or near the lead, so having a quick, clean break is imperative especially out of the inside post for this colt.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 12, $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, 6:50 p.m. ET

#2 Free Drop Billy: He’s a huge longshot for good reason – the times aren’t there, some efforts have been completely flat and he is only 2-for-8 lifetime. He’s had quite a bit of bad racing luck especially in his last two starts being interfered with early and bumped and never really having a chance for a real bid. I think his mid-pack racing style will transition well into the Derby and there should be enough speed to benefit. He should be competitive with his best effort and at 30-1 on the morning line I’m certainly willing to take a shot!

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