Belle's Best Bets: Stakes Standouts, NBA Scoring Mismatch

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

Friday, Oct. 25

Best Bet

Keeneland Race Course, Race 8, 4:57 p.m. ET

#7 Secret Stash: She narrowly missed winning a Grade 1 event at Woodbine in her first start on North American soil over the yielding turf course. She should appreciate being able to face off against much easier today, as lots of runners in this race have been competing against claimers only. Look for this filly to take advantage of a favorable post and put up a big effort trying Lasix (furosemide) for the first time.

Saturday, Oct. 26

Longshot Play

Woodbine, Race 6, 3:43 p.m. ET

#5 Positive Danger: This really well bred daughter of Uncle Mo makes her debut with blinkers in a sprint over the all-weather surface. The last time trainer Kelly Callaghan had a runner debut with blinkers for the first time, it paid off mightily with a big price winner. I’m definitely hoping for the same result today.

Best Bet

Belmont Park, Race 8, $200,000 Bold Ruler Handicap, 4:40 p.m. ET

#1 Maximum Security: He returns to sprinting, having made his first three career starts – all wins – going one turn. Having drawn the inside post, coupled with his early gate speed, should have him forwardly placed in this contest. Most of his competitors are route horses that are either making their sprint debut or returning to shorter distances, and they don’t have the class he has. Give him a big edge.

Best Bet

Santa Anita Park, Race 7, $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes, 6:30 p.m. ET

#9 Mucho Unusual: The price should be fair to take a shot on this filly at post time due to the full field today and her disappointing effort last time out in the Del Mar Oaks Presented by The Jockey Club. Prior to that start, she had won three straight all in different ways, and that type of versatility is key in a full and difficult field like this one. She’s undefeated at this distance and returns to Santa Anita Park’s turf course, where she is 2-for-2 in her career.

Favorite Sports Pick of the Weekend

Saturday, Oct. 26

NBA: Detroit Pistons @ Philadelphia 76ers

PICK: Philadelphia 76ers (spread: line TBD): The 76ers were one of the highest scoring teams at home last season averaging 117.9 points per game. The Pistons landed on the opposite end of the spectrum averaging only 104.8 a game away from home. Being without Blake Griffin until November is a huge offensive blow for a Detroit squad that already struggles to put up points. Although the spread isn’t out yet, look for the 76ers to take care of business at home and cover comfortably. I don’t expect it to be that high, but anything under 8.5 is a steal.

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