Best Bets: Trio of Fair Grounds Stakes Picks

Turf racing at Fair Grounds. (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, Dec. 19

Best Bet

Fair Grounds, Race 6, $75,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes, 3:27 p.m. ET

#1 Quick Tempo: He’s two starts removed from an absolute romp where he won by 6 ½ lengths after pulling away late in the stretch. This colt is going to be very tough to beat if he’s able to get to the front end and dictate the pace. There isn’t a ton of early speed entered outside of him, and he should be able to get the jump early on his main rivals from the rail draw. He is clearly the one to beat, and looks like a very logical single in all of your multi-leg wagers.

Longshot Play

Fair Grounds, Race 9, $75,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes, 4:54p.m. ET

#2 Captivating Moon: Both #11 Spectacular Gem from the outside post and #5 Sailing Solo look to be the race’s speed and could end up contesting one another on the front end. Faster early fractions and a speed duel upfront would help to set things up well for this horse who is likely to execute an off-the-pace trip.

Although he isn’t someone who wins all that often, two of his four career victories have come on turf and he does get to face off against regular stakes company after a stint versus graded stakes horses. He’s a very capable longshot to hit the board at a nice price.

Longshot Play

Gulfstream Park, Race 11, 5:14 p.m. EST

#2 American Tryst: He had a tough trip in his debut on turf where he was forced six-wide in deep stretch and was unable to make up any ground late. Saturday, he returns to racing on turf after a no-show effort in a race rained off the grass, and this time he gets to try a route race.

With many set to make their turf debut, and some others set to make their racing debut overall, his experience over the surface could really come in handy versus this field.

Best Bet

Fair Grounds, Race 11, $75,000 Blushing K. D. Stakes, 5:52 p.m. ET

#3 Dalika: She’s going to be tough in here as she’s taking a big class drop from a Grade 1 stakes to face easier. This filly is capable off many different types of trips, although I would expect her to stalk behind some of the early speed. Jockey Miguel Mena is very familiar with her and was on board in her most recent victory at Kentucky Downs. This is a good spot for this filly to get back to her winning ways. I’m expecting a big effort.

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