Best Bets: Stakes Selections and Live Longshots

An exciting stretch duel on the Whitney Stakes undercard Aug. 1 at Saratoga Race Course. (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

weekend TV schedule

Thursday, Aug. 27: 1-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, Aug. 28: 1-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Aug. 29: 1-2 p.m. ET on FS1; 2-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Aug. 30: noon-1 p.m. ET on NBC; 1-2:30 p.m. ET on FS2; 2:30-6 p.m. ET on FS1; 6-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Aug. 29

Longshot Play

Saratoga Race Course, Race 5, 3:24 p.m. ET

#3 Love and Love: She has been racing very well this year, finishing out of the money only one time and already winning twice through four starts. She owns wins versus allowance company tougher than she’s up against today and tried to make it three wins in a row trying to turf. She’s definitely better suited racing on the dirt and today makes the return to her preferred surface. Last time this filly went from turf to dirt she won by four lengths. Expecting a similar result.

Best Bet

Saratoga Race Course, Race 8, $300,000 Forego Stakes Presented by America’s Best Racing, 5:07 p.m. ET

#2 Whitmore: He is one of only a few in here that seem to possess racing versatility as he boasts wins using many different types of trips. That could come in very handy versus a field like this that has some speed drawing toward the middle of the gate.

In 2020, this gelding already has two wins versus stakes company and two runner-up finishes through four starts. Having the luxury of drawing inside and not relying on being on the lead or a faster pace is what sets this runner apart for me.

Longshot Play

Saratoga Race Course, Race 9, $500,000 Sword Dancer Stakes, 5:43 p.m. ET

#6 Cross Border: Enters in terrific form with two straight victories with the most recent earned while being placed first due to disqualification. Saturday, he gets to try his luck at a track that he’s shown a clear affinity for, Saratoga, where he is a perfect 5-for-5 throughout his racing career.

Although he’s yet to win racing as long as a mile and a half, his early speed should have him involved in the pace scenario early. As long as he avoids a pace duel up front and finds clear racing room, he’s going to be very tough to beat, especially when getting the early jump on some of the closers.

Longshot Play

Del Mar, Race 8, 8:40 p.m. ET

#6 Tiger Dad: Willing to take a shot on this gelding who has found his niche racing on the dirt. He’s been at his best when put into play early and positioned either on the front end or working out a stalking trip, and Saturday he draws a great post to do so. Although the efforts aren’t always consistent, if he shows that early speed, he’s capable of beating anyone in this race and already flaunts two 100+ speed figures this year already.

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