Best Bets: Closer Look at Santa Anita and Churchill

Secret Message won the 2020 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes. (Coady Photography)

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, June 12

Longshot Play

weekend TV schedule

Thursday, June 10: 3 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, June 11: 12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, June 12: 5 p.m.-8 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, June 13: 12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Santa Anita Park, Race 6, 6:30 p.m. ET

#7 Win Often: Looks like she needed that most recent start after a three-month layoff. On Saturday, she returns to face off against an easier group of optional claimers and gets to return to a dirt surface after a two-race stretch on the turf. 

This change in surface could help to spark a big effort as she’s already won both tries racing on the dirt surface at Santa Anita, capitalizing off a perfect stalking trip in both efforts.

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 7, 9:05 p.m. ET

#2 Sams Time: Raced really well in his parimutuel debut and just missed, finishing third beaten only a length and a half. He battled for the lead early on and was not able to fend off some runners at the finish line. Having that one start of experience could really come in handy with many in here set to make their racing debuts. Another factor which adds to the appeal is the early speed he seems to possess. With a sharp break, look for this colt to be positioned not too far off the pace early.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 8, 9:39 p.m. ET

#4 Code Name Kate: Broke her maiden in a big way winning by more than six lengths but followed that effort up a month later disappointing as the favorite versus an overall tougher optional-claiming group. She ended up tiring late and fading after a pace duel up front.

Saturday, she returns to the sprinting distance and draws a good post to utilize her gate speed. She also enters off a quick bullet workout and she’s in with a big chance here to outrace her odds.

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 9, $150,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes, 10:11 p.m. ET

#2 Juliet Foxtrot: The price will be short at post most likely around the 6-5 morning line offered here, but she’s looked ultra impressive in her most recent three starts. She’s won two of her last three setting the pace, and that’s exactly where she will be once again. There isn’t a ton of early speed entered, so expect this mare to secure the lead fairly easily versus this group.

On top of her racing style, this mare gets to drop in class and face off against much easier. Her back class will come in handy versus this group.

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