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. 23
#5 Lovely Lucky: There has been considerable improvement from this mare since making the change of surface to racing on the turf. She’s gotten more involved in the pace scenario and has done better racing longer. Look for her to be involved in the mix early on out of an ideal draw.
Both of her victories have come with Jose Ortiz on board, albeit versus easier; however, getting him back on board adds to the appeal of this longshot.
#7 Tide of the Sea: The slow break in his most recent start cost him any chance early on as he spotted the field as many as 10 lengths from the break. He’s been much more impressive when joining the pace scenario early on, so pending a clean break, look for him to get involved in the mix.
He should get some play and go off lower than his 10-1 morning line odds, but still should offer a good enough price to take a shot.
#5 Colonel Liam: He’s going to be very tough to beat if he’s able to work out the type of stalking trip we’ve seen in his two career victories. Although he’s lightly raced and only possesses three career turf starts, he’s looked solid in all three and is undefeated with Irad Ortiz Jr. on board.
This is his first big task versus graded stakes company. The nod of confidence for me is his victory against a good group of older runners at Saratoga in an allowance race in July.
Oaklawn Park, Race 8, $150,000 Pippin Stakes, 5:47 p.m. ET
#1 Vault: She was no match versus stakes company in her most recent try, tiring late while battling for early position. Saturday she returns to the mile distance and gets to meet an overall easier group and has a good post to work with on the rail. The rail draw could come in handy for a ground-saving trip sitting just behind some of the early speed, and I think that would give her the best shot at pulling off the minor upset with a late rally.