Best Bets: Saturday Plays at Churchill and Santa Anita

Horses break from the starting gate at Churchill Downs. (Coady Photography)

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, Sept. 26

Best Bet

weekend Television schedule

Thursday, Sept. 24: 12:30-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, Sept. 25: 12:30-6 p.m.. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Sept. 26: 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. ET on FS1; 1:30-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Sept.27: 12:30-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Santa Anita Park, Race 1, $75,000 Unzip Me Stakes, 3:30 p.m. ET

#6 Parkour: She has recently tried her luck versus graded stakes company, and unfortunately ended up tiring late in both tries. I’m expecting improvement on Saturday as she makes her second start off a three-month layoff and returns to the sprinting distance. If she’s able to make the front end and rate well, she could be very difficult to pass late on the class drop.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 8, 4:21 p.m. ET

#2 Sanenus: She made her North American debut back in August, and despite the small field size, unfortunately she didn’t get out to a great start. Today she gets to make her second start on Lasix (furosemide) and moves from California to a completely different change of scenery in Louisville for trainer Mike McCarthy who is clicking at a 27% rate with horses he ships in.

If she gets a good break, I would love to see this filly positioned much closer. At a big price, she’s worthy of a much closer look.

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 9, $100,000 Ack Ack Stakes, 4:53 p.m. ET

#1 Warrior’s Charge: As much as I want to try and play against this colt expecting a shorter than ideal price at post time, he’s just been racing too well over his most recent few tries, working out three straight 100+ speed figures.

He’s going to be on the front end flaunting that early speed we’ve seen throughout his career, and if he’s able to rate on the lead and avoid a pace duel, I don’t envision anyone able to track this colt down. I’ll be looking to single him in the multi-leg wagers.

Best Bet

Santa Anita Park, Race 8, $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes, 7:00 p.m. EST

#5 Spielberg: He’s 0-for-2 to start his career, but he’s ran second best to highly regarded Dr. Schivel both times. Thankfully for Spielberg, he dodges the that colt and does meet an easier group in this race.

Look for him to be put into play early either on the front end dictating the tempo, or working out a stalking trip just behind the early speed. All signs point to him excelling racing longer.

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