Best Bets: Looking for Green on the Grass in Kentucky

Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing

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, Sept. 11

Longshot Play

weekend TV schedule

Thursday, Sept. 9: post time varies on TVG

Friday, Sept. 10: post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Sept. 11: 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. on FS2; 5 p.m.-6 p.m. on NBC; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Sept. 12: post time varies on TVG

Kentucky Downs, Race 4, 2:54 p.m. ET

#6 Group Hug: There appears to be quite a bit of early speed in here, which could help to set up well for a closer or a stalker who can capitalize off fast early fractions.

I landed on this colt who has looked good speed figure-wise and has been very close to breaking his maiden. In his most recent effort, a return to the turf, he rallied well to finish third. This time around he gets Tyler Gaffalione to ride. Gaffalione has hit the board with this runner all three of his previous mounts. He looks like a major player getting another try over the turf.

Best Bet

Kentucky Downs, Race 8, $1,000,000 FanDuel Turf Sprint Stakes, 5:09 p.m. ET

#12 Imprimis: He draws the extreme outside post, but he does seem to possess enough early speed to at least be positioned well from the break. Although he’s only landed in the winner's circle once this year, I think that’s a testament to the horses he’s been up against recently meeting tough fields. 

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. is going to be on board who has been on this horse in all three of his most recent victories. The outside draw should help to elevate the odds, and despite that he looks capable of pulling off a minor upset.

Longshot Play

Kentucky Downs, Race 9, $1,000,000 Calumet Turf Cup Stakes, 5:44 p.m. ET

#9 Glynn County: Most importantly for me, in a race as long as a mile and a half I like to find horses who have experience racing at this grueling distance and are bred to thrive going long. Although this colt has only tried it once before, three starts back at Churchill Downs, it resulted in a comfortable victory, albeit against a smaller field and a much easier group.

This colt seems to be getting better with many starts and he has a huge chance to pull off the upset, or at the very least hit the board at big odds.

Best Bet

Kentucky Downs, Race 10, $600,000 Franklin-Simpson Stakes, 6:18 p.m. ET

#3 County Final: He just missed rallying late in his most recent sprinting effort and finished second, beaten only a head. That was also his first start in over nine months and it looks like he may have needed a tightener as it was also his first start since hitting the track with any kind of a noticeable layoff in between.

Look for this gelding to flaunt some early speed to set the pace, or to sit just off of it. With a clean break, and if he’s positioned well, he looks to be a major player down the lane and with how deep and wide open this field looks to be on paper, he may go overlooked, parimutually speaking.

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