Belle’s Best Bets: Hunting Value, Price Play in Pegasus

Fans at Gulfstream Park cheer for the horses in the stretch at the Hallandale Beach, Fla. track. (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, Jan. 26

Best Bet

Gulfstream Park, Race 7, Fasig-Tipton Hurricane Bertie Stakes, 2:33 p.m. ET

#8 Stormy Embrace: She came up just a neck short of the win in her most recent start on a sloppy track at Gulfstream, but the bump and minor interference in deep stretch didn't help her chances. She fits well with this group and, historically, she's found success racing at Gulfstream. You should get better odds than her morning line by post time making her well worth a shot.

Best Bet

Aqueduct, Race 8, Jazil Stakes, 3:49 p.m. ET

#7 Sunny Ridge: He won this race in 2017 convincingly, but has struggled somewhat to get into the win column since. The drop in class out of the graded stakes ranks should be very useful along with returning to a distance longer than a mile. The price is short, but his resume is too strong not to use as a single in your exotics.

Longshot Play

Gulfstream Park, Race 10, W. L. McKnight Stakes, 4:14 p.m. ET

#8 Hunting Horn: The huge 14-horse field is great from a betting perspective as it inflates the odds on many runners, but may cause some traffic trouble for horses who struggle to get out of the gate fast or prefer an off-the-pace style. Take a shot on this colt who will relish the longer distance and takes big drops in class to try his luck against much easier competition.

Longshot Play

Gulfstream Park, Race 12, Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes, 5:36 p.m. ET

#12 Patternrecognition: Accelerate looks like the one to beat here, but there are some generous prices on some of the lesser-known horses. This runner has won three straight and showed that the jump up to graded stakes competition was not too big. His early speed is an asset and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a runner that’s tough to pass late. He may hang on for a big share of the purse money at a very generous price.

Favorite Sports Pick of the weekend

Sunday, Jan. 27

National Basketball Association: Phoenix Suns @ Los Angeles Lakers

PICK: Over the Lakers team total: The Lakers have been the second-highest scoring team over their last three with a points-per-game average of 127.7. With the Western Conference as close as it is, it is becoming imperative to get the wins you need to against lesser-quality opponents. Luckily for the Lakers, Phoenix only has 11 wins on the season and has surrendered an average of 123 points over their last three on the defensive end. While the number isn’t up yet, back the Lakers on their team total as they should dominate this one.

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