Belle’s Best Bets: Looking for Longshots on Busy Weekend

The picturesque paddock at Delaware Park before a race. (Eclipse Sportswire)

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, July 13

Longshot Play

Woodbine, Race 2, 1:33 p.m. ET

#4 Mission City Girl: In a field of mostly first-time starters with minimal workout experience, this race looks to be as wide open as it gets. This filly’s dam (mother) has had success with her runners, producing two stakes winners. Signs in the pedigree point to success the turf, which often plays will on the Tapeta Footings synthetic surface as well. Her connections are good with first-time starters, and trainer Stuart Simon is winning at a 20% clip with 2-year-olds.

Best Bet

Saratoga, Race 5, 3:21 p.m. ET

#8 Catch a Thrill: She was competitive in both sprint races on the turf, and it is tough to say if she was overmatched against graded stakes company in April when  she set the pace and tired late. Today, she returns to a five-furlong race, and with quite a bit of speed entered she could work out a perfect trip sitting just off the pace. Look for her to be better racing shorter.

Longshot Play

Arlington International Racecourse, Race 6, $150,000 Modesty Handicap, 5:12 p.m. ET

#9 Vexatious: She makes her second start for a new barn, and although the results over the turf have been inconsistent, she’s been competitive within the graded stakes ranks. That gives her a big edge over runners moving up in class. She has been at her best when positioned just off the pace, and drawing an outside post position should help her find good tactical position early.

Best Bet

Delaware Park, Race 8, $750,000 Delaware Handicap, 5:25 p.m. ET

#7 Elate: She finally got her first win of 2019 last time out after two runner-up finishes. This 1 ¼-mile trip has been her ideal racing distance with two wins in as many starts. Look for her once again to be a short price, but she looks like a very worthy single in exotic wagers.

Favorite Sports Pick of the weekend

Saturday, July 13

Canadian Football League: Calgary Stampeders @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats

PICK: UNDER (odds and number TBD): The Tiger-Cats offense has gotten out to a very quick start, scoring 151 points through four games. Unfortunately, this has come at a cost losing their star running back Thomas Erlington, who was placed on the six-game injured list. The Stampeders have won 14 straight regular season games and have found a suitable replacement at quarterback in Nick Arbuckle. Look for a lower-scoring game as both defenses need to step up in the face of adversity.

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