Best Bets: Holiday Plays at Belmont Park

Eclipse Sportswire

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, July 4

Longshot Play

Belmont Park, Race 5, 3:30 p.m. ET

weekend Television schedule

Thursday, July 2: 1-2:20 and 4:30-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, July 3: 1-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, July 4: 1-7 p.m. ET on FS1; 5-6 p.m. ET on NBC; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, July 5: 1-6 p.m. ET on FS1; post time varies on TVG

#1 American Power: Narrowly missed pulling off the upset in his first start in nearly seven months away from the track finishing second by a nose.  Today he gets another try versus similar company in the optional claiming ranks and would be a major threat working out a trip similar to his most recent.

Timing-wise he fits in with this group, and there is a lot of upside in backing this runner, including wins versus much tougher last year, and a lot of early speed that could help set this horse up well for a late rally.

Longshot Play

Belmont Park, Race 6, 4:03 p.m. ET

#11 Zaccapa: The outside post and time away from racing should help to elevate the odds on this filly at post time. Saturday she makes her North American debut after trying her luck against stakes company in France. She gets to make her first start racing on Lasix (furosemide) under a new trainer in Brad Cox who has had a ton of success with shippers clicking at 30 percent through 10 starters. She could be sitting on a big effort with the new change of scenery.

Longshot Play

Belmont Park, Race 8, $150,000 Poker Stakes, 5:13 p.m. ET

#4 Seismic Wave: He’s been a tough horse to predict, but it does appear the time off has helped as he posted a career-best speed figure of 96 in his most recent effort after eight months away from the track. In that most recent effort, broke very slowly but was beaten only a length after a very late stretch rally.

There appears to be quite a bit of early speed and that could set things up well for this ridgling who reunites with jockey Joel Rosario and gets another try at this mile distance where he is a perfect 2-for-2.

Best Bet

Belmont Park, Race 10, $400,000 Manhattan Stakes, 6:20 p.m. ET

#1 Instilled Regard: I expect him to be a much shorter price than his morning-line odds due to his graded stakes success and very sharp speed figures.  In his most recent start he was able to capitalize off a perfect stalking trip and work out a late rally. Expect a similar trip here while sitting behind some of the early speed of Cross Border who looks to be the pacesetter. I give Instilled Regard a slight edge over Sadler’s Joy who might just be a little too far back in the smaller field.

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