Belle’s Best Bets: Elite Turf Racing and ‘America’s Team’

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 in April 2018.

This Weekend’s Bets

Saturday, Oct. 12

Longshot Play

Woodbine Race 7, $250,000 Nearctic Stakes, 4:30 p.m. ET

#7 Woody Creek: I really think this filly will benefit from the speed drawing to her outside and a pace duel upfront potentially ensuing. She’s another European invader that tries Lasix (furosemide) for the first time and that has historically produced great stats for her trainer when shipping to Woodbine. She’s a filly trying her chances against the boys, and that weight allowance could really prove helpful.

Best Bet

Woodbine, Race 8, $600,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes, 5:05 p.m. ET

#2 Red Tea: She’s done very well within the graded stakes ranks overseas, and now she tries her luck going a mile and a quarter getting Lasix (furosemide) for the first time. Getting jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva on board is a positive addition as he knows the Woodbine turf well. She has shown that she can travel well, and if she gets away faster this time certainly looks like the one to beat.

Best Bet

Keeneland, Race 9, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes Presented by Lane's End, 5:30 p.m. ET

#3 Cambier Parc: She will be real tough in here as she draws an ideal post and is coming off a big win in the Del Mar Oaks Presented by The Jockey Club. Expect a patient ride out of John Velazquez, allowing her to unleash her late closing kick to win the race. Her most recent start showed us that she can win even if placed even farther back, and that just adds to the appeal of backing a shorter-priced filly in case she breaks slow.

Longshot Play

Keeneland, Race 10, 6:03 p.m. ET

#5 First Wave: Draw a line through her most recent effort, she wanted no part of the longer distance, but she was involved in the mix early. Her best effort was her first ever career race on the dirt three starts back, so it is good to see the return to that surface today. Speed figure-wise she looks quick, and I think she will be among the early leaders. I like her chances returning to the dirt and at a sprinting distance.

Favorite Sports Pick of the Weekend

Sunday, Oct. 13

National Football League: Dallas Cowboys @ New York Jets

PICK: Dallas Cowboys team total Over 26.5 (-120): The Jets are just not very good. They are 0-4 and their schedule does not get any easier with the Cowboys and Patriots up next. They are averaging only 9.8 points a game (that should be a bit higher with Sam Darnold back), but they are dead last in almost every offensive statistical category, averaging only 179.5 total yards.

The Cowboys have been disappointing in terms of their record and expectations, but still lead the league in total yards per game with 452.8. Look for Dallas to cruise and put up points with ease.

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