Best Bets: Back Class at Aqueduct and a Laurel Longshot

Racing at Aqueduct (Dom Napolitano/NYRA Photo)

America’s Best Racing 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, Feb. 20

Best Bet

weekend Television schedule

Friday, Feb. 19: post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Feb.20: 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. ET on FS2; 12 p.m.-1 p.m. ET on FS1; 1 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Feb.21: 1 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Gulfstream Park, Race 6, 2:36 p.m. ET

#1 Girolamo’s Attack: He took a considerable drop in class in his most recent start and produced a runner-up finish at this level. He gets another try in this race and meets an overall easier field.

We’ve seen early speed out of this gelding and he’s certainly capable of doing that again, but he’s also worked out rallying efforts in the past. That versatility could come in very handy especially at this six-furlong distance.

Longshot Play

Laurel Park, Race 6, $100,000 Wide Country Stakes, 3:12 p.m. ET

#6 Buckey’s Charm: The favorite, #5 Street Lute, will be bet heavily in this contest coming having won five out of six starts and four in a row, all versus stakes company. She is clearly the one to beat and looks very tough at least on paper.

I’ll be taking a shot on this filly to potentially pull off the upset, or at least bet her to hit the board at a nice price. The early speed entered could set her up well to capitalize on from a stalking trip, especially if early fractions are quick.

Longshot Play

Aqueduct, Race 8, $100,000 Maddie May Stakes, 4:50 p.m. EST

#3 Make Mischief: She won her debut race for new trainer Chris Englehart in her most recent start. That score came versus an overall easier group than she has been used to competing against; however, that win could do a lot for her confidence.

She looked good versus graded stakes fillies last summer at Saratoga, producing two runner-up efforts. Both times she checked in second behind fillies that romped at the Spa, but she finished a length ahead of the third-place runners. I like her chances in this race at what should be a decent price at post.

Best Bet

Santa Anita Park, Race 9, 7:52 p.m. ET

#1 Cruel Intention: This gelding looks to be tough versus this allowance group as he makes his second start after a five-month layoff. He showed early speed last time out setting the pace, but he wasn’t able to hang on late despite some favorable fractions.

I’m expecting to see even more improvement with this horse who should be a lot more fit and also could improve as he returns to dirt after making a couple of starts on turf. He fits in really well with this group and should be involved in the pace scenario early. I just hope he has enough left late in the stretch and is rated well.

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