Best Bets: Key Class Drop, Stakes Selections

Fanless racing at Santa Anita Park (BENOIT photo)

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.

weekend Television schedule

Thursday, June 18: 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. on NBCSN; 1-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, June 19: 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. on NBCSN; 12:30-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, June 20: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on NBC; 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. ET on FS1; 2-3 p.m. ET on FS2; 2:45-6 p.m. ET, Belmont Stakes on NBC; 6-7 p.m. ET on FS2; 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, June 21: 1-2:30 p.m. ET on FS2; 2:30-6 p.m. ET on FS1; 4-7 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

This Weekend’s Bets

Saturday, June 20

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 3, 1:57 p.m. ET

#10 Moon Over Miami: He gets another try against allowance company today after trying his luck against stakes company earlier in the year. Blinkers are added which could aid this runner leave the gate with a little bit more urgency, and keep his interest down the lane. He was put in a good position last start to work out a rallying effort, but unfortunately didn’t fire.

Being raced back quickly on only a few weeks, making his second start off a layoff, and getting an equipment change could help spark a big effort here against a wide open allowance field.

Best Bet

Belmont Park, Race 10, $1  million Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, 5:42 p.m. ET

#8 Tiz the Law: The only multiple graded stakes winner among this field and he’s going to be incredibly difficult to beat here. This runner has been at his best working out stalking efforts, and that’s the exact type of trip he will be looking to execute behind some of the early speed.

Although there are a lot of very lightly raced colts in here, many of which could show considerable improvement in this start, this colt appears to be a clear standout and looks to be in a league of his own.

Best Bet

Santa Anita Park, Race 7, 6:32 p.m. ET

#7 Ax Man: Unfortunately a speed duel ensued last time out versus graded stakes company. This time around, there doesn’t appear to be a ton of early speed and this gelding should be the one on the front end controlling the tempo.

He also gets an opportunity to return to racing at the route distance which has yielded the best results. Lots to like especially seeing him raced back after that fifth-place finish on June 7.

Best Bet

Santa Anita Park, Race 9, $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes, 7:32 p.m. ET

#2 Ragtime Blues: He’s looked so good since returning from a seven-month layoff, logging two straight victories. He broke his maiden first start back, and then followed that up with another gate-to-wire victory, opening up to a comfortable win despite drifting in deep stretch.

Although he is racing against tougher, he’s going to be on the front end Saturday and if he’s able to rate well on the lead and slow down the fractions, he will be incredibly difficult to pass late. My Pick 5 single.

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