Belle's Best Bets: Trio of Saturday Longshots, Key NFC Showdown

Fans at Woodbine enjoy the racing action in this file photo from earlier in 2019. (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, Nov. 23

Longshot Play

Aqueduct, Race 3, 12:54 p.m. ET

#11 Barrel of Destiny: This filly should not be hindered by the outside post as her racing style is best-suited making one late stretch bid. Removing blinkers today, pairing back up with top jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., and debuting for a new trainer could spark a big effort out of this longshot.

Longshot Play

Aqueduct, Race 9, $200,000 Red Smith Stakes, 3:47 p.m. ET

#1 Tiz a Slam: Sadler’s Joy will most likely be a short price in here, and I’m not willing to take anywhere near even-money on a horse that hasn’t won in more than 20 months. Instead, I’ve landed on the rail horse due to his early running style and success racing at longer distances. The rail can be an advantage for horses that want the lead early, and he should have it. I think it is a matter of how far he can carry his speed and if he can hold off some solid closers late in deep stretch.

Best Bet

Woodbine, Race 9, $225,000 Coronation Futurity, 5:13 p.m. ET

#7 Muskoka Gold: He has been really good early on in his racing career, and although he is yet to win racing on the all-weather Tapeta surface, he shows two really solid runner-up finishes in which he was beaten by less than a length both times. With the smaller field, expect him to be not as far back early as he was last time out versus graded stakes company. Look for him to save some ground positioned midpack on the rail and rally late.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 11, 6:06 p.m. ET

#7 Hail to the Chief: He raced wide and was never a factor in his career debut when he tried his luck in a field of 11. Today, he returns at a longer distance, which should really help his closing style. Trainer Wesley Ward has great numbers with maidens making their second career start (25% from 85 starters) and should have this colt ready to go.

Favorite Sports Pick of the weekend

Sunday, Nov. 24

NFL:  Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers

PICK: Under 47.5 (-110):  The bye week could not have come at a better time for the Packers who face one of the league’s best in the 49ers. Green Bay will be well rested and relatively healthy for one of the first times all year. With difficult schedules looming the rest of the season for both squads, this is an imperative game. A win Sunday and the Packers take over the No. 1 seed in the NFC. QB Aaron Rodgers will be able to make some plays, but the 49ers defense will be the difference maker.

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