Best Bets: Stakes Plays for a Winning Weekend

Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing

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

Friday, April 13

Best Bet

Oaklawn Park, Race 9, $700,000 Apple Blossom Handicap, 6:39 p.m. ET

#5 Unique Bella: She may not only be the best bet of Saturday, but probably the best play of the weekend as well. Although the price is super short, she’s so much the best in this field and hasn’t lost yet in races of a mile or longer. Her past performances have been exceptionally impressive and with one minor exception, super consistent and that’s what you want to see when backing a short-priced favorite.

Saturday, April 14

Best Bet

Keeneland, Race 7, $200,000 Ben Ali Stakes, 4:24 p.m. ET

#3 Hollywood Handsome: I love to see that he’s running back so quickly, usually a good indicator of how a horse has been training. Blinkers added today should help keep him focused and may help him break a little bit closer to the front. He’s also making his third start off a layoff and I think exits a key race where the winner was just too good. There’s a lot to like and the price should be very fair at post time.

Longshot Play

Aqueduct, Race 8, $100,000 Bridgetown Stakes, 5:17 p.m. ET

#1 Mentality: She took some time off after disappointing as odds-on favorite last time out. She definitely fits in well with this group and stylistically it looks like she wants to go shorter as she seemed to tire in both of her races at more than a mile. Drawing the rail is a tricky post for a turf sprint, but it’s advantageous to be drawing inside as with sprinting there isn’t often room for error or slow breaks.

Longshot Play

Keeneland, Race 9, $200,000 Stonestreet Lexington Stakes, 5:34 p.m. ET

#6 Greyvitos: He’s entering this race in sharp form off two straight wins. I like to see that connections have taken their time with this colt and he’s been strategically placed in races he’s performed well in. He was bet down to 3-1 and drew the far outside post in a field of 12 and won convincingly. I think he’s placed well again and I think he could certainly add another graded stakes win to his name today.

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