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, March 17
Turfway Park, Race 8, Kentucky Cup Classic Stakes, 4:38 p.m. ET
#9 Camelot Kitten: The key in this race for me is that it’s being held over the all-weather surface, which I’d argue tends to be favorable for horses that have been successful on the turf. Inconsistency from the starting gate has been an issue for this horse, who tends to jeopardize their chances early breaking a tad slow. I think this is an ideal distance and I expect him to be involved late, closing in deep stretch.
#1 Ivy Bell: She loves sprinting and I do think this is her ideal distance. The layoff is concerning, but it’s been common for this mare to take some time off and she’s historically done well in his first start back off layoffs. I expect to see her sharp today and she should respond well to the jockey upgrade to Javier Castellano.
Oaklawn Park, Race 8, Essex Handicap, 5:55 p.m. ET
#4 Untrapped: Regardless of how little of a factor he was in the race, this colt was still good enough to qualify and compete in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. He’s been very inconsistent and he does seem to struggle late if he’s not involved early. I think he’s done better at the 1 1/16-mile distance, and I do think his last two starts have been excusable as he clearly doesn’t respond well to an off-track. I like his chances and the price is fair.
#3 Solomini: This colt definitely has Triple Crown hype and high expectations, and for good reason – he’s been super-impressive! I like to see that he’s already found success at the 1 1/16-mile distance and his stalking style plays well into a race like this, where there are quite a few horses who seem to need the lead. I expect a solid effort again today as he attempts to finish well to pick up qualification points toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve.