Best Bets: Blinkers On at Aqueduct, Churchill Stakes Standout

Horses break from the gate at Aqueduct. (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, Nov. 21

Longshot Play

weekend TV schedule

Friday, Nov. 20: 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Nov. 21: 12-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Nov. 22: 12–4 p.m. on FS1 and 4-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Aqueduct, Race 6, 2:15 p.m. ET

#7 Tic Tic Tic Boom: This filly makes her fourth start on turf on Saturday after trying her luck versus stakes company in her three prior starts. In her turf debut racing on a firm course, she rallied from way back and just missed despite some traffic trouble.

Saturday, she takes a logical drop in class to face off against easier and should get an honest enough pace up front to give her a good shot to track down some rivals late. I’m hoping for a big price and some faster early fractions.

Longshot Play

Aqueduct, Race 8, 3:17 p.m. ET

#6 Notorious Flirt: He makes his second start after an eight-month hiatus away from the racetrack. In his first effort back he did not have much of a closing kick racing on a muddy track at Belmont Park.

Blinkers will be added for Saturday’s contest, and that equipment change has been a very profitable angle for trainer Linda Rice, who is clicking at 26% when adding blinkers for the first time. I’m hoping that the addition today can help keep this gelding interested down the lane as there should be more than enough early speed to track down in deep stretch.

Best Bet

Gulfstream Park West, Race 7, Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes, 3:38 p.m. EST

#4 Sweet Souper Sweet: She looked ultra-impressive in her most recent try racing over the all-weather surface at Presque Isle Downs, winning comfortably and taking advantage of a perfect trip. This time around she tries her luck on the turf and stretches out in distance to a mile for the first time in her career.

Although she’s only raced on the turf once before – a stakes try at Saratoga where she was never involved – I'm willing to chalk that effort up to her having to face much tougher, and I expect her to be a lot sharper this time around. This is a good spot, and getting jockey Paco Lopez on board adds to the appeal.

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 9, $100,000 Chilukki Stakes, 5:06 p.m. ET

#2 Finite: This is a very good spot for this filly to thrive, trying her luck versus Grade 3 company and drawing a great post to work out a stalking trip similar to her most recent effort, where she fell short by only a neck in the Grade 2 Lexus Raven Run Stakes.

I give her a big edge in this field due to her experience versus tougher, early speed, and her perfect 2-for-2 record at Churchill Downs. Although the price will be short at post, she looks like a very logical single in all of the multi-leg wagers.

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