Belle's Best Bets: Preakness Pick and a Trio of Turf Touts

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 May 18

Longshot Play

Belmont Park, Race 3, 1:01 p.m. ET

#1 Global Exchange: Her last start was over nine months ago at Saratoga, and in that race she came very close to breaking her maiden first asking. She meets a really weak field today, and should take well to getting an extra half-furlong to make a late run. Despite the time away from the track, she still looks like the one to beat.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 6, 3:18 p.m. ET

#1 Diva Day: She was not a factor last time out in her first try over the turf, but a lot of that was due to a lack of clear racing room in the stretch. She is at her best when closing, and drawing the rail post could help her work out a ground-saving inside trip. Expect her to be better second time racing over the turf.

Best Bet

Belmont Park, Race 11, $100,000 Soaring Softly Stakes, 5:26 p.m. ET

#3 Stillwater Cove: She looked great returning to the racetrack after a five-month layoff last month, and also considering she didn’t have a firm turf course to run on. She is at her best when working out a stalking trip, and there looks to be more than enough speed entered to give her a good trip and a great shot to track down the leaders. Look for a much-improved effort today as she looms as the one to beat.

Best Bet

Pimlico, Race 13, $1.5 million Preakness Stakes, 6:48 p.m. ET

#4 Improbable: Mike Smith will be on board for the first time and that bodes well as he is the defending Preakness Stakes winner after capturing a Triple Crown with Justify last year. Racing over what projects to be a fast track will likely mean an improvement for this one, as he has not taken well to racing over an off surface. Look for him to be ready to strike in deep stretch off of a stalking trip.

Favorite Sports Pick of the Weekend

Sunday May 19

National Basketball Association: Milwaukee Bucks @ Toronto Raptors

PICK: Toronto Raptors money line (Odds TBD): Toronto nearly stole the opening game on the road, so returning home whether tied up 1-1, or in a 0-2 hole (depending on Friday’s contest), they should still be feeling good.

The Raptors have posted a 38-9 record on their home court this season, and have posted a 28-17-2 ATS record at home.  Look for Toronto to take care of business at home and continue that success.

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