Best Bets: Stalkers at Saratoga, Green Flash Play at Del Mar

Horses race in the stretch on the turf course during the 2020 summer meet at Del Mar. (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, Aug. 22

weekend TV schedule

Thursday, Aug. 20: 1-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, Aug. 21: 1-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Aug. 22: 1-4 p.m. ET on FS1; 4-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Aug. 23: 1-6 p.m. ET on FS1; post time varies on TVG

Best Bet

Saratoga Race Course, Race 3, 2:20 p.m. ET

#6 Cryogenic: He is one that benefits the most from the early speed as he’s at his best working out a stalking trip. That type of trip looks ideal and very possible for this horse who comes in very sharp winning two starts back and finishing second, beaten by only a nose, versus a similar allowance group last start.

If he works out a trip similar to his most recent two and is able to capitalize off a perfect post draw, he will be very tough to beat.

Best Bet

Saratoga Race Course, Race 5, 3:28 p.m. ET

#6 Nautilus: Tried turf last time out while simultaneously stretching out in distance to try his luck routing. Luckily for him the surface change and additional furlongs resulted in his best effort yet – a runner-up finish while losing by less than a length. Saturday, he gets another try versus comparable competition and draws a good post to work out a trip similar to his most recent one, a stalking effort just behind some of the early speed.

He should get some play based on that effort in his most recent start, but in a full field of 10 for a Saratoga maiden race, the price should be fair to take a shot.

Best Bet

Del Mar, Race 3, $100,000 Green Flash Handicap, 6 p.m. ET

#8 Mikes Tiznow: Comes in on a three-race winning streak where he’s been able to get to the front end, rate well, and open up in deep stretch. Although he does meet a much tougher group than he has been racing against at Golden Gate Fields he looks like a clear standout in this group. Although there are a few other horses that do show some early speed, he should be able to control it right from the break.

Longshot Play

Del Mar, Race 11, 10 p.m. ET

#4 Shadow Sphinx: Looked good in his most recent effort, albeit against easier competition, when returning to a route distance and making his first start after five months away. Today he gets another try moving up a little bit in class and does have the advantage of versatility – an ability to win showing early speed or making a late stretch rally. Another upside is getting jockey Flavien Prat on board; Prat has ridden him in all three recent victories.

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