Best Bets: Looking for Value from Coast to Coast

Dalika crosses the wire first at Fair Grounds. (Amanda Hodges Weir/Hodges 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, March 20

Best Bet

weekend Television schedule

Friday, March 19: post time varies on TVG

Saturday, March 20: 6 p.m.-7 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, March 21: 2 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET on FS2; 2:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS1;post time varies on TVG

Fair Grounds, Race 10, $150,000 Tom Benson Memorial Stakes, 4:42 p.m. ET

#3 Dalika: She won her most recent racing over a turf course listed as “yielding.” In that start she was able to capitalize off a perfect stalking trip and has shown a lot more speed in her most recent few efforts than we have seen prior. Having that early speed could prove to be a weapon here, and I would expect to see this mare put into play early and involved in the pace scenario. 

She’s won two of her most recent three tries, with both of those coming at Fair Grounds. I’ll be building my multi-leg wagers with her as a single.

Longshot Play

Aqueduct, Race 8, 4:55 p.m. ET

#8 Dark Money: He's one of a few in here entered with a claiming price tag of $40,000. He’s only two starts removed from posting a career best speed figure of 100 winning by over six lengths pulling away late in deep stretch. Even though that particular effort was versus easier, he’s gotten some big wins versus much tougher in the past and visually that race passes all the tests.

He’s been at his best when showing some of that early speed and drawing outside, so expect him to flaunt some of that early. Looks like a major player.

Best Bet

Aqueduct, Race 9, 5:26 p.m. ET

#3 Irresistible Girl: She made her debut at the sprinting distance and finished a solid fourth, only beaten 2 1/4 lengths. She stretched out to try routing in her most recent, but unfortunately tired late after getting to the lead. Trainer Brad Cox is clicking at a 29 percent rate going from route to sprint and has done exceptionally well (24 percent) within the maiden special weight ranks.

Expect this filly to be even sharper making her third career start and this time at a distance she is much better suited at.

Longshot Play

Santa Anita Park, Race 9, 8:25 p.m. ET

#3 Airman: He was left with a little too much work to do in his most recent two starts trying to work out rallying efforts. That particular style could come in handy versus this group which does seem to possess quite a bit of early speed. Expect this colt to be even sharper this time around making his second career start of Lasix (furosemide) and drawing inside of most of his main rivals.

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