Belle’s Best Bets: Aqueduct Prices, NFL Home-Field Advantage

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, Jan. 11

Longshot Play

Aqueduct, Race 6, 2:55 p.m. ET

#4 Charge Ahead: He’s a big question mark in this field while being shipped in from Woodbine and trying his luck on the dirt for the first time. There’s been a steady improvement since his first start last October, and that progression is nice to see. He also has shown some versatility in terms of racing style, so the big question mark is how takes to a new surface. At big odds, I’m willing to take a shot.

Longshot Play

Aqueduct, Race 8, $100,000 Say Florida Sandy Stakes, 3:55 p.m. ET

#6 Arthur’s Hope: There’s very little that separates this field in terms of talent. With that being said, I’m looking to back a horse that has flaunted a lot of potential but should offer good value, perhaps, based on some recent poor efforts. This horse has done his best work on the front end and should be dictating the tempo. He’s shown at times an ability to really turn on the jets and get some separation late, posting four races with 100+ Equibase Speed Figures. I’m hoping for a similar effort Saturday.

Longshot Play

Gulfstream Park, Race 10, $100,000 Tropical Turf Stakes, 4:38 p.m. ET

#9 Exulting: This turf race contains numerous horses that like running on the front end, and could potentially set up a pace duel to really benefit this gelding, who has struggled in deep stretch making up ground. Hopefully his sixth turf start is a charm, and he’s able to sit just off the speed and capitalize off what looks likely to be fast early fractions.

Best Bet

Santa Anita Park, Race 8, $200,000 La Canada Stakes, 7 p.m. ET

#7 Spiced Perfection: Her graded stakes experience could really come in handy facing off against a bunch of talented runners. Although her best efforts have come sprinting, extending to a mile and a sixteenth today should help her work out a stalking trip. She definitely looms as the one to beat, and should be fresh coming back back after a hiatus of about a month.

Favorite Sports Pick of the Weekend

Saturday, Jan. 11

NFL: Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers

PICK: Green Bay Packers –4 (-110):  There’s no denying the struggles the Seahawks have had in Green Bay, winning only twice over their most recent 10 tries. The Packers this season have definitely played their best at home, and although they have had their defensive struggles against the run, the depleted running back core of the ‘Hawks (on their fourth-string running back, bringing back Marshawn Lynch) could be a big factor.

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