Belle's Best Bets: Stakes Plays at Woodbine

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, June 29

Longshot Play

Woodbine, Race 3, $100,000 Zadracarta Stakes, 1:06 p.m. ET

#7 Zestina: She has won three of four starts on the Woodbine turf, and has done so well on the turf historically that the return to the surface today should help her chances. In her turf efforts she has flaunted a nice late closing kick which bodes well at a track like Woodbine with a very long stretch. In a field lacking speed or front-running horses, her versatility could make the difference.

Best Bet

Woodbine, Race 6, $175,000 King Edward Stakes, 2:53 p.m. ET

#7 Emmaus: Since the move to North America he has come up just a bit shy in both of his starts, losing by a neck in both. The added furlongs today could help, and so could the addition of Lasix (furosemide) and making a third start back racing after a six-month layoff. Look for this horse to try and work out a stalking trip and be positioned well to track down the pacesetters late.

Best Bet

Woodbine, Race 8, $175,000 Dance Smartly Stakes, 4:18 p.m. ET

#4 Starship Jubilee: She’s been fantastic racing on the turf throughout her career winning 12 of 26 tries. She’s also had a lot of success at Woodbine with four victories through 10 career starts there. Most impressively, late last season she recorded her highest-ever speed figure at Woodbine of 104 in this exact race. This mare certainly looks like the one to beat and should be on the front end.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 12, 6:27 p.m. ET

#7 Passion Play: He has been close to breaking his maiden a couple of times and should appreciate the return to route racing after a brief try sprinting. He’s coming off two very solid workouts since his last start, and the new jockey change to David Cohen coupled with trying the turf could spark something different. For a runner who has been pretty heavily bet in all of his career starts, but has come up just shy – he certainly looks overdue for a big effort.

Sports Pick of the Weekend

Saturday, June 29

Canadian Football League: B.C. Lions @ Calgary Stampeders

PICK: Calgary Stampeders team total over 31.5 (-120): The Calgary Stampeders are big 10-point home favorites in this matchup and this should be no surprise as the defending Grey Cup Champions are 0-1 thus far, but return home versus a subpar Lions team. The bye week should help get this team freshened up and add some motivation, avoiding another loss. The Stampeders have been dominant at home and get to take on a team that struggles to defend the run. Look for Calgary to run up the total quick.

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