Best Bets: Southern California Superstar, Louisiana Longshots

Unique Bella, the 2017 champion female sprinter, after winning the Grade 2 Las Virgenes in 2017 (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, Feb. 10

Best Bet

Santa Anita Park, Race 4, Santa Maria Stakes, 4:34 p.m. ET

#4 Unique Bella: She’s won six of eight career races, but this will be only her second race longer than a mile. She won the first try by 2 ¼ lengths and there is no reason whatsoever why distance should be an issue as her breeding is stellar and she’s dominated the graded stakes ranks. I expect Unique Bella to be forwardly placed and win this handily in front-running fashion.

Best Bet

Tampa Bay Downs, Race 11, Tampa Bay Stakes, 5:25 p.m. ET

#7 World Approval: It’s very difficult to find faults when he made relatively light work of Grade 1 competition during the second half of 2017 and faces substantially easier competition today. There isn’t much to say to sell someone on his chances as he truly is the class of the field and his success speaks for itself. The price is that short for good reason.

Longshot Play

Delta Downs, Race 7, Louisiana Bred Premier Night Prince Stakes, 9:20 p.m. ET

#9 Greeley Went West: He has two wins out of three starts and one on a track listed as “good,” which is great to see with rain in the forecast. I love to see a win in less-than-ideal conditions already. His racing style and past performances seem to indicate he wants to go longer, so I think the stretch out in distance is something he will appreciate.

Longshot Play

Delta Downs,  Race 8, Louisiana Bred Premier Night Sprint Stakes, 9:50 p.m. ET

#8 Laughingsaintssong: The 10-1 morning-line price is incredibly generous on a gelding who already has enjoyed success in the stakes ranks and has shown a clear affinity for sprinting. I expect him to be much sharper making his second start after more than six months off. I think with a good break and probably being forwardly placed, this gelding could be in a very appealing position, especially against this group.

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