Best Bets: Focus on Florida, Tampa Bay Derby Longshot

The stretch run of the 2019 Tampa Bay Derby. (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.

Saturday, March 6

Best Bet

weekend TV schedule

Friday, March 5: post time varies on TVG

Saturday, March 6:
5 p.m.-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, March 7:
2 p.m.-7 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Tampa Bay Downs, Race 9, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes, 4:25 p.m. ET

#1 Magic Attitude: There should be more than enough early speed to help set up this filly well for an off-the-pace bid or an opportunity to work out a stalking trip. Expect even more improvement making her third start on North American soil, this time around versus an overall easier group.

Even though it’s been almost five months since her last start, trainer Arnaud Delacour has been clicking at a 25% rate for horses coming off of layoffs of 90 days or more. The rail draw seems ideal for a horse very likely looking to save some ground.

Best Bet

Gulfstream Park, Race 10, $75,000 Captiva Island Stakes, 4:46 p.m. ET

#6 Miss Auramet: She comes in off a victory on Feb. 24 where she was able to capitalize off a perfect trip and track down the front-runners late. It’s a very good sign to see her back so quickly once again at the sprinting distance after just missing a two-race winning streak in the start prior. She’s blessed with tactical speed and should be able to utilize that versatility with a good post to work with. I like her chances in what should be a pretty wide-open betting race.

Best Bet

Tampa Bay Downs, Race 10, $200,000 Florida Oaks, 4:55 p.m. ET

#2 Jouster: She’s looked great since trying her luck on the turf, leading every step of the way in both tries. She followed up her maiden-breaking romp with a comfortable victory versus a decent field in an allowance-optional claiming race in early February.

She’s blessed with early speed and drew inside of her main rivals, so expect her to use her speed early and control the pace. The price will be pretty short at post, so I’ll be looking to single her in all of the multi-leg wagers.

Longshot Play

Tampa Bay Downs, Race 11, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, 5:25 p.m. ET

#2 Super Strong: He’s an intriguing option set to make his mainland debut for new trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. after winning his debut in Puerto Rico. He will be stretching out in distance and trying his luck versus many horses already with graded stakes experience.

His only career race was a very nice rallying score and drawing inside, a trip similar to that could be in the cards. There does appear to be quite a bit of speed and that could help set up well for a horse to pick up the pieces late from off the pace. At post time, he should offer a good price to take a shot … and I’m hoping he’s ready.

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