Belle’s Best Bets: Saratoga Turf Trio, Canadian Classic Play

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, Aug. 17

Longshot Play

Saratoga Race Course, Race 5, 3:14 p.m. ET

#3 Stella d’Oro: He is an intriguing morning-line longshot that should be much better in his second start after winning last month at Arlington International Racecourse. That effort came after he was away from racing for nearly a year. Breeding-wise, he has one of the best turf bloodlines in the field, and took well to Lasix (furosemide) last time out when he first raced using it. The 1 3/8-mile distance of Saturday’s contest should not be an issue as he has raced longer overseas with some success, through in limited starts. Getting Joel Rosario on board adds to the appeal.

Best Bet

Saratoga Race Course, Race 8, $100,000 Smart N Fancy Stakes, 4:53 p.m. ET

#5 Morticia: She’s been dominant throughout her career in turf sprints, winning nine of 23 career races and hitting the board in 20 of them. Although she hasn’t posted the best speed figures throughout her career, she is off to a great start in 2019. She’s up against an experienced field, but several of these horses are trying the turf sprint distance for the first time. If she gets a clean break, with Irad Ortiz Jr. on board she’s going to be tough to beat.

Best Bet

Woodbine, Race 10, $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes, 5:42 p.m. ET

#7 Avie’s Flatter: The final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown runs Saturday, and held on turf at a mile-and-a-half distance. It is tough to pick elsewhere considering the success this colt has had on the turf already, as he’s won two of four races including a graded stakes. He’s shown an ability to win on the lead or coming from off the pace, so his versatility is a big asset in a field that does not possess a lot of speed.

Longshot Play

Saratoga Race Course, Race 10, $600,000 Alabama Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, 5:59 p.m. ET

#2 Lady Apple: The 6-1 morning line odds are super generous on this filly who has won four of her most recent five races, including two graded stakes scores. She’s been at her best when working out a stalking trip, and the inside post should help her carve out a good early position upfront. Although she is 0-for-2 at Saratoga thus far, it seems that she’s found her niche route racing and is in too good form to ignore, especially at a price.

Favorite Sports Pick of the Weekend

Friday, Aug. 16

Canadian Football League: Edmonton Eskimos @ Toronto Argonauts

PICK: Under 50.5 (-110): The last time these two teams met, the Eskimos comfortably took care of business, winning 26-0 three weeks ago where they held the Argos to only 13 first downs and 187 total yards on offense.

The Argos last game was a huge upset victory, 28-27 over the first place Winnipeg Blue Bombers; however, that game was two weeks ago, and they are coming off a bye-week that might have killed some of their momentum. The Eskimos defense will be tough to put points on, and with their offense seemingly struggling recently, look into betting the Under.

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