Best Bets: All Eyes on Belmont’s Saturday Card

Horses break from the gate on Belmont Park’s turf course. (Adam Coglianese/NYRA)

America’s Best Racing 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.

This Weekend’s Bets

Saturday, Oct. 31

Best Bet

weekend Television schedule

Friday, Oct. 30: 12:30-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Oct. 31: 12-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Nov. 1: 12-6 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Belmont Park, Race 2, 1:15 p.m. ET

#5 Princess Fawzia: One of two horses entered in here for trainer Linda Rice, and both look to be major factors. This filly has been racing very well versus similar allowance company and now gets to reunite with Irad Ortiz Jr. and return to route racing. She’s been at her best when showing some early speed and draws a great post to do exactly that. If she is able to get to the front end and control it, she could prove very difficult to track down late.

Longshot Play

Belmont Park, Race 6, $75,000 Zagora Stakes, 3:22 p.m. ET

#6 Luck Money: She nearly pulled off a 29.80-1 upset two starts back when trying her luck versus stakes company on the turf. She followed that up by capitalizing on a perfect trip in her most recent try racing over a turf course listed as “good.”

She’s thrived going longer thus far throughout her career, but faces the toughest task today going a mile and a half. I have no concerns about the added distance, and she’s been racing at top form this year – two victories through five starts and she’s yet to finish off the board. I like her chances at what should be a very fair price at post time.

Belmont Park, Race 7, 3:55 p.m. ET

#4 Jerry the Nipper: He broke his maiden back in February in a dazzling display, winning handily by almost seven lengths. He was able to get to the front end right from the break and drew away convincingly. Saturday he tries his luck versus winners for the first time after eight months away. Despite the break he enters off two quick bullet works and if anyone would have them ready after a hiatus from racing it would be trainer Todd Pletcher, who’s clicking at a 29 percent rate off such a layoff. He looks very tough in this spot.

Longshot Play

Belmont Park, Race 8, $80,000 Awad Stakes, 4:27 p.m. EST

#9 Heat of the Night: He broke his maiden in his racing debut on turf at Gulfstream Park. Following that effort, he tried his luck versus Grade 1 company at Woodbine and got out to a slower than ideal start and was never able to track down a good-looking winner in Gretzky the Great on that day.

Saturday, he drops out of the graded stakes ranks and face off against easier. This is a tricky group of lightly raced 2-year-olds, and trip is going to dictate who wins this race. I’m hoping this gelding can take advantage of a stalking trip behind some of the early speed. He could definitely pull off the upset if he races anything like he did in his debut.

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