Best Bets: Aqueduct Stakes Standouts, Fair Grounds Longshot

Horses break from the gate at Aqueduct on Cigar Mile day 2019. (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, Dec. 5

Best Bet

Aqueduct, Race 6, $100,000 Go For Wand Handicap, 2:07 p.m. ET

#1 Nonna Madeline: She gets to shorten in distance back to a mile, and drops out of the graded stakes ranks to face off against easier in this start. She’s two starts removed from putting up a career best Equibase Speed Figure of 109 against stakes company at Monmouth Park and she clearly looks like the one to beat on paper.

Along with the class drop, she reunites with jockey John Velazquez was her regular rider earlier in her career. Since then she’s progressed nicely and seems to have her early misbehaving antics out of the way. There’s lots to like, and she looks like a logical single in all of your multileg wagers.

Longshot Play

Aqueduct, Race 8, 3:15 p.m. ET

#5 Timeless Journey: She's been racing against some tough competition in her two most recent tries on turf. Saturday she gets to try her luck over the dirt for the first time, and looks to be much sharper making her third start off the layoff.

She should offer a decent price with the surface change, and even though there is a lot of uncertainty, trainer Christophe Clement is clicking at a 20 percent rate on horses going turf to dirt.

Best Bet

Aqueduct, Race 10, $250,000 Cigar Mile Handicap, 4:13 p.m. ET

#1 Performer: His only loss came in his debut at age 2 back in 2018, and since then he’s gone a perfect 5-for-5. Although he does flaunt victories off different types of trips, he’s been at his best when able to get to the front end or control it off a stalking trip. That looks to be exactly where this colt will be positioned with not a ton of early speed entered.

As far as betting him goes, look into singling this horse in all of your multileg wagers. This could definitely help getting the best return on your investment especially considering how short of a price he will be at post time.

Longshot Play

Fair Grounds, Race 9, $75,000 Pan Zareta Stakes, 5:52 p.m. ET

#10 A Bit of Both: She has not lost since Florent Geroux has been on board with two recent victories, the first over turf and most recently on dirt, both off stalking trips. Geroux keeps the mount and should give her a similar ride today. With quite a bit of speed entered, and with her drawing to the outside, she should be put into play early on and in good position to pounce late in deep stretch. Given how well she has been racing in her recent starts, she might go off as a very enticing overlay at post.

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