Belle’s Best Bets: United Nations Standout, Churchill Comeback Candidates

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 22

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 3, 1:43 p.m. ET

#6 Catherinethegreat: Her sprinting efforts at Saratoga last summer were almost a full second faster than some others entered today at the same distance. I would not be surprised to see her push the pace and use some of that early speed to secure the lead. When on the front end she has proven very tough to pass, and I like her chances to improve Saturday in her third start off the seven-month layoff.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 9, 4:55 p.m. ET

#1 Neepawa: His 105 speed figure last year over the turf is by far the fastest in the race, and I think facing off against easier and shortening in distance for this race could do a lot for this colt. He is at his best when on the lead, and drawing a rail position may help solidify that early spot upfront. He seems overdue for a good effort, and at double-digit odds is worthy of a closer look.

Best Bet

Monmouth Park, Race 11, $300,000 United Nations Stakes, 5:28 p.m. ET

#1 Bigger Picture: He has been so good over the turf throughout his career, and 2019 looks no different as he has already won twice in three starts. Drawing the rail post could prove advantageous as he likes to sit back and work out a ground saving trip from off the pace. With clear racing room, I expect him to be flying late down the stretch.

Best Bet

Santa Anita Park, Race 6, $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes, 6:30 p.m. ET

#9 Lieutenant Dan: He narrowly missed last time out in his first try over the turf, coming up just a head short of the eventual winner. The outside post position today should not harm his chances, as this gelding has shown some early speed and is at his best when he can work out a stalking trip. I think he rebounds in a big way after failing as the race favorite last time out.

Favorite Sports Pick of the Weekend

Saturday, June 22

Canadian Football League: Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ Toronto Argonauts

PICK: Under 53 total points (-110): Week two of the Canadian Football League kicks off, and it is the first week of playing time for the Toronto Argonauts. Both teams come into this season with good defenses (Toronto revamped theirs in the offseason), and the added week to prepare for the Argos might prove useful. The Under is 21-6 in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ last 27 games in June, and the Under is 22-6 in the Argonauts in June.

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