Belle's Best Bets: Belmont Stakes Pick and NBA Finals Action

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, June 8

Best Bet

Belmont Park, Race 4, $700,000 Longines Just A Game Stakes, 1:22 p.m. ET

#4 Rushing Fall: She is the definite class of the field with her only loss coming by a neck in a graded stakes effort at Churchill Downs early last year. She is very lightly raced, but that seems to be paying off as her efforts have been stellar every time.  With not a lot of speed entered she should have it exactly how she wants it while rating well on the front end.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:22 p.m. ET

#6 Road Tiger: Her only route race on the turf turned out to be a very difficult one as a lot of talented fillies from that Saratoga race last summer have gone on to do some damage within the stakes ranks already. The return to turf today helps her chances, along with the added distance. In a super wide-open field, this longshot has a good chance of working out a trip sitting just off the pace in her return to the route distance and with a new change of surface.

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 10, $125,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes, 5:26 p.m. ET

#3 Mom's On Strike: She definitely struggled in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf race after a slow beginning out of the 11 post. Although she has shown a nice ability to close late, I think her best efforts have come when settling in mid-pack, or even a little closer to the pace. It’s tough to ignore how good she has been in the higher graded stakes races, and even with nearly seven months away from racing, she still looks like the one to beat.

Longshot Play

Belmont Park, Race 11, $1,500,000 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, 6:48 p.m. ET

#4 Bourbon War: I’ll toss his effort in the Preakness Stakes as the addition of blinkers did not help and perhaps may have even harmed his chances. This colt is at his best when closing, and with quite a bit of speed entered, he might be able to work out a good trip settling in nicely and closing late in deep stretch. If he races anything like he did in the earlier part of his 3-year-old campaign, he is worthy of a closer look especially with Mike Smith on board to ride for the first time.

Favorite Sports Pick of the Weekend

Friday, June 7

National Basketball Association: Toronto Raptors @ Golden State Warriors

PICK: Game total Under 216 (-110): The Raptors pulled off an impressive road victory Wednesday night putting up 123 points and shooting over 52 percent from the field and 44 percent from beyond the arc. The absence of Kevin Durant, and as of the last game Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney, really hurt the Warriors as their offense struggled.

I’m targeting the Under in this game as the Warriors have had two games this series shooting below 44 percent from the floor. Offensively, the Raptors have eclipsed 115 points twice already, but in the games they have struggled their offense has gone cold. Look for defense to be an emphasis on both sides, and back the Under 216.

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