Best Bets: Banking on Equipment, Trainer, and Jockey Changes

Con Lima is 2-for-2 since switching to turf and is one of Monique Vág’s top picks this weekend as she jumps into the graded stakes ranks at Gulfstream Park. (Ryan Thompson/Coglianese Photo)

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, Jan. 30

Best Bet

weekend Television schedule

Friday, Jan. 29: post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Jan. 30: 1:30 p.m.-4 p.m. ET on FS2; 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS1; 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Jan. 31: 2 p.m.-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Gulfstream Park, Race 7, 2:44 p.m. ET

#2 Action Jackson: He looked really good in his debut rallying from as many as 16 lengths back early to finish third. Today he draws a great post to work with and will likely be a little bit closer today. Along with a good draw, this colt gets to try his racing luck on Lasix (furosemide) and gets one of the best in newly crowned Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr. on board. I’m looking for quite a bit of improvement in this start and maybe even different racing tactics.

Best Bet

Gulfstream Park, Race 10, $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes, 4:18 p.m. EST

#5 Con Lima: Since making the move and trying turf, she’s won two straight. Both have been comfortable victories where this filly has been able to settle in on the front end and rate well.

Although there is a little bit more speed entered this time around, she should be very tough if she’s able to get to the front once again. She continues to improve with more experience and I expect her winning streak to continue trying her luck versus graded stakes company for the first time.

Longshot Play

Oaklawn Park, Race 6, 4:38 p.m. ET

#10 Bettyann: Today she meets an overall easier group in her debut for new trainer Kenny Smith. There does appear to be a lot of early speed, and that should help set up well for a horse working out a stalking/closing trip. Her most recent races should have this mare set up for a good effort. If she sits just off the early pace, she could be a major factor late.

Best Bet

Fair Grounds, Race 7, 4:54 p.m. ET

#4 Colonel Bowman: He’s coming back a few weeks after an impressive debut where he was bet down as a big favorite and finished second after having to steady twice. Today, he gets blinkers added which should help keep him focused down the lane. Adding blinkers has been a profitable angle for Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox who is clicking at a 25 percent rate making the equipment change and 26 percent on horses making their second career start.

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