Belle's Best Bets: Looking for Winners at Gulfstream, Santa Anita


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, March 2

Best Bet

Gulfstream Park, Race 7, $150,000 The Very One Stakes, 2:30 p.m. ET

#3 Holy Helena: The price will very likely be short at post time, but that is largely due to her success at three and in early 2018. She takes a necessary drop in class today to face off against many runners who haven’t had success against stakes competition yet. With a clean break, and settling in not too far off the pace, she should make light work of this field with a powerful stretch bid.

Longshot Play

Santa Anita Park, Race 4, 5 p.m. ET

#11 Twice Golden: He narrowly missed last time out when racing on a sloppy track that was initially scheduled for these conditions – a 6 ½-furlong turf sprint. He has shown nice early speed in his two starts, and trainer Doug O’Neil has good numbers on horses trying turf for the first time or making the move from dirt to turf. His odds should be inflated due to the large field size, and he has a very good shot to win while very likely racing on the front end.

Longshot Play

Gulfstream Park, Race 13, $400,000 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes, 5:32 p.m. ET

#4 Bourbon War: With several of the expected favorites entering with only one or two races of experience, including the morning-line favorite with only a debut win on his record, look into this runner who has already won versus winners and has competed in a graded stakes. Timing-wise there isn’t much that separates this longshot from the favorites, and he already has a win at this distance at Gulfstream Park. The 10-1 price is very fair to take a shot on an exceptionally well-bred runner.

Best Bet

Gulfstream Park, Race 14, $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes, 6:06 p.m. ET

#11 Channel Maker: The distance is long enough to overcome the outside gate, so having to start from post-position 11 shouldn’t affect his chances with a clean break. He takes a necessary drop in class to face off against easier after struggling in his most recent two efforts in Grade 1 races. Look for him to bounce back in a big way and get back into the win column.

Sports Pick of the Weekend

Saturday, March 2

National Basketball Association: Detroit Pistons @ Cleveland Cavaliers

PICK — Detroit Pistons money line (line TBD): The Pistons have won the most recent two meetings head to head, 110-103 and 113-102. They are holding on to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, so must-win games become imperative at this point, with only a few wins separating sixth from 11th in the standings. Look for Detroit to get things done on the defensive end, as they have been solid all year holding opponents to only 108.1 points per game and are up against a Cavs team averaging the second fewest point per game in the NBA.

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