Belle's Best Bets: Saturday Night Picks at Santa Anita, Churchill

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, Sept. 28

Best Bet

Santa Anita Park, Race 10, $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes, 8 p.m. ET

#4 McKinzie: He is in a league of his own in terms of speed figures, and although this is still a Grade 1 contest, he is lucky enough to avoid most of his main rivals. He has found a lot of success at the mile and an eighth distance, and he’s done very well in California, posting a 3-3-0 record through six career starts at Santa Anita. Expect this runner to make light work of this field at a super short price.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 6, 8:30 p.m. ET

#1 Road Game: Making your racing debut going longer than a mile can often be tricky, so I’m looking for a runner that has tried their luck in an actual race before. This gelding had a good debut over the turf where he got out slow and unfortunately ran out of racetrack closing late in a sprint. He then ran a very good second stretching out to a mile on the turf, and now switches to dirt for this 1 1/16-mile event. Although the rail post is tricky, he did show some nice early speed in his most recent start.

Longshot Play

Santa Anita Park, Race 11, $75,000 Unzip Me Stakes, 8:30 p.m. ET

#9 Holly Hundy: She appears to be at her best working out a stalking trip, and she draws a great post to make that happen with speed to her outside. She’s done very well within the sprinting ranks thus far and is coming off a stakes victory in her most recent start where she opened up late in deep stretch. In her wins she’s won handily, and hopefully with a perfect trip she’s able to execute a similar game plan.

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 8, $125,000 Jefferson Cup Stakes, 9:39 p.m. ET

#5 Faraway Kitten: There do appear to be two horses who will be vying for the front end, and that could set things up well for this colt, who’s at his best racing from a stalking position. He recently dropped out of the graded stakes ranks, and should benefit from facing off against easier competition. The price should be generous at post time due to the wide-open nature of this race.

Favorite Sports Pick of the Weekend

Sunday, Sept. 29

National Football League: Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals

PICK: Seattle -5 (-110): The Cardinals are yet to record a win under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the first overall draft pick in quarterback Kyler Murray. Sunday will be no easy task for the Cardinals, who have gone just 1-8-1 straight up in home games dating back to last season. They have not beaten the Seahawks at home since 2012. Offensively the ‘Hawks can pick apart the weak Cardinals defense through the air or on the ground, and should be able to put up big points.

newsletter sign-up

Stay up-to-date with the best from America's Best Racing!