Belle's Best Bets: Stakes Action at Kentucky Downs and Del Mar

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. 31

Longshot Play

Kentucky Downs, Race 7, $250,000 One Dreamer Stakes, 4:38.m. ET

#10 Smart Emma: Post 10 is difficult, but she has shown enough early speed to overcome the outside draw. She doesn’t need to be in front early to win, and has shown enough versatility to be spotted anywhere. There is a lot of speed entered and a lot of horses that want the front end. Hopefully this mare can take advantage of a ground-saving trip positioned just behind the speed.

Longshot Play

Kentucky Downs, Race 9, $500,000 Juvenile Fillies Stakes 5:47 p.m. ET

#6 Weekend Fun: Although she has never raced over the turf before, she has put forth some morning works over the surface. She’s faced some quality competition at Saratoga and Churchill Downs, which should help prep her against a crop of mostly weaker fillies. Getting Julien Leparoux on board is a positive, and so is drawing inside of most of her main competition.

Best Bet

Del Mar, Race 7, $200,000 John C. Mabee Stakes, 8 p.m. ET

#1 Vasilika: She’s won 14 of her most recent 16 races throughout 2018 and into 2019. The added sixteenth of a mile in today’s race from her most recent start benefits this mare, who seems to do her best when going longer. Expect a patient ride like we have seen out of her before, where jockey Flavien Prat settles in midpack and makes a late stretch bid. Although she’s coming off a loss last time out, look for her to rebound in a big way.

Best Bet

Del Mar, Race 9, $300,000 Del Mar Debutante Stakes, 9 p.m. ET

#7 Inspiressa: She could not have looked better in her racing debut, getting the lead early and pulling away comfortably in deep stretch under a hand ride. That effort earned her a 97 Equibase Speed Figure and she returns only three weeks later to try her luck versus stakes company. She definitely looms as the one to beat.

Favorite Sports Pick of the Weekend

Friday, Aug. 30

NCAA Football: Utah State @ Wake Forest

PICK: Utah State team total Over 27 (-120): The Aggies ranked fourth in the nation in points scored last season with 618 and 15th in total offense. Although their offense features a lot of new weapons, quarterback Jordan Love was super special last season and is looking to build off that success. He should be able to pick apart a Demon Deacon defense that ranked 105th in points allowed and 120th in passing defense.

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