Belle's Best Bets: Stakes Picks at Keeneland and Aqueduct

Eclipse Sportswire

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, April 6

Best Bet

Keeneland, Race 3, 2:15 p.m. ET

#1 Covfefe: Her racing debut against maiden company was so impressive that connections moved her into a Grade 1 immediately in her second career start. Unfortunately she was bumped at the start and never settled in or looked comfortable disappointing as a super short-priced favorite. Today she takes a huge drop in class to face off against substantially easier, and returns to the track after a six-month layoff. Her workouts look good, and the return to facing easier makes her the one to beat.

Longshot Play

Keeneland, Race 7, $200,000 Shakertown Stakes, 4:35 p.m. ET

#11 Imprimis: Drawing an outside post position is certainly going to be tricky, however he has won from post 10 before, and has shown enough early speed to overcome it. This gelding is six of seven at the distance and although a lot of those efforts have been run against much weaker competition, his speed figures have been solid and he has put forth some of the fastest times. The price is generous to take a shot on.

Longshot Play

Aqueduct, Race 10, $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, 6 p.m. ET

#10 Outshine: It is great to see John Velazquez back as he has been the jockey on board in both wins. With his closing kick and four-wide rally, the added distance of today’s race should work to his advantage as he may be positioned a little farther back than hoped for with the outside post. Although his times look substantially slower than some of the others, he may be in the perfect position to rally late.

Longshot Play

Keeneland, Race 10, $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, 6:23 p.m. ET

#6 Dream Maker: Consistency has been a huge issue and he has rotated between solid efforts and poor ones, although in the poor races he has had excuses – bumped at the start, and shuffled around and eased in the stretch.

Distance won’t be an issue as he has route raced before, and the perhaps drawing a good post will help settle him into a nice trip mid-pack, just off the speed. His recent workout times have been exceptionally fast, and it only seems like a matter of time before he puts up a big effort - why not at 12-1 morning-line odds?

Sports Pick of the Weekend

Saturday, April 6

NCAA Tournament: Auburn Tigers vs. Virginia Cavaliers

PICK: OVER 130.5 total points (-110): The Auburn versus Virginia Final Four matchup should be great as it puts two teams with fantastic defenses – although drastically different styles – up against one another. The Tigers have been known to force turnovers with their aggressive style of play. These turnovers have led to three-point shots and they lead the nation in that category.

Virginia’s defense ranks first in the country forcing up tough shots, and holding opponents to 55.4 points per game. Only four times this year have opponents scored more than 70 against UVA.

Despite how solid both defenses are, both offenses have been equally as impressive. Although it looks to be close, back the game total Over 130.5.

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