Best Bets: Woodbine Longshot, Belmont Stakes Play

The starting gate at Woodbine, which will host a Canadian Triple Crown race this weekend. (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, Oct. 24

weekend TV schedule

Thursday, Oct. 22: 12:30-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, Oct. 23: 12:30-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Oct. 24: 12-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Oct. 25: 12:30-2 and 3-6 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Best Bet

Woodbine, Race 4, 2:37 p.m. ET

#12 Raven’s Song: She had a tough trip in her most recent coming out of post 12 when she pressed the pace early on and never was able to settle in. She’s shown a lot of early speed in her most recent two efforts and once again drawing an outside post, I would expect to see this filly put into play early. The shortening in distance really adds to the appeal as she tired late in the most recent, and looks to be a major pace factor once again. If she goes off anywhere near the 6-1 odds on the morning line, she looks like a good play.

Best Bet

Belmont Park, Race 6, $175,000 Empire Distaff Handicap, 2:53 p.m. ET

#2 Ratajkowski: She’s been a short price in her two most recent tries versus stakes company and disappointed last time out after a slower than ideal break. There’s no surprise this mare is at her best when flashing her early speed and when she is able to get to the front end and control the tempo.

Speed-wise, she’s as quick as any in here and meets a much easier field. She won this race last year at age 3 by utilizing her early speed and I expect similar once again Saturday.

Longshot Play

Woodbine, Race 5, 3:10 p.m. ET

#1 Gospel Hill: Looked very good in her debut, just missing by three-quarter of a length at a huge price. She followed that effort up with a try versus easier and faded badly after setting the pace. Saturday, she has a good inside post to work out a trip similar to her debut – hopefully just behind some of the early speed in a stalking position.

Being one of only a handful in here with experience on the synthetic main track prove to be a valuable asset in what looks to be a very wide-open maiden race.

Best Bet

Keenland Race Course, Race 10, 6:03 p.m. ET

#7 Mandaloun: Saturday will be his first try in a parimutuel race, but he comes in off some seriously impressive workouts dating back to September. He draws a good post position to work with and gets to try his luck on the racetrack for trainer Brad Cox, who is clicking at a 23% rate within the maiden special weight ranks. It looks very likely that this colt will flaunt some of that speed he’s shown in the morning and be the one controlling the tempo at this sprint distance.

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