Best Bets: Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion Picks Plus a Churchill Longshot

Rooting home a winner at Parx Racing. (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. 25

weekend Television schedule

Thursday, Sept. 23: 2 p.m.-8 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, Sept. 24: 12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Sept. 25: 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Sept. 26: 12:30 p.m.-6 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Parx Racing, Race 7, $200,000 Parx Dirt Mile Stakes, 2:51 p.m. EST

#6 Silver State: He’s a complete standout in this field coming in off three consecutive 100+ speed figure numbers and he’s a winner of 4-of-5 thus far this year within the stakes ranks. With shorter-priced horses, I want to be backing one that can win off different types of trips – and we've seen him show some speed, stalk, and rally so I think that just adds to the appeal. He will be incredibly difficult to beat in this spot.

Although he’s expected to be odds-on at post time, I will be targeting all of my multi-leg wagers around this colt and hope to get some prices along the way in those sequences.

Longshot Play

Parx Racing, Race 11, $1,000,000 Cotillion Stakes, 5:02 p.m. ET

#8 Always Carina: This filly won her first two starts by showing off early speed and getting to control the fractions from the front end. Following those back-to-back scores, she finished a very game second in only her third career start in the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park. Although she’s relatively light on graded stakes experience and route experience compared to some of the other fillies, timing-wise she fits in well with this group and should appreciate the return to racing longer distances.

This is a very deep field with many in here who have win chances, but I can’t help but think this Chad Brown filly could be a big overlay at post time with some others likely to be over-bet in this spot.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 10, $275,000 Harrods Creek Stakes, 5:26 p.m. ET

#3 Bob’s Edge: He comes in off a solid rallying effort in his first try racing over the turf for a trainer in Larry Jones clicking at a 21 percent rate through 28 starters on horses making the move from turf to dirt.

What’s most appealing about this gelding in this spot is his versatility. He’s tallied wins in different ways and he drew a great post to watch what enfolds outside of him and employ racing strategy based on that. If fractions are faster in this race, it also helps that he’s reeled off some of the fastest sprinting times in the field, including a 1:08.42 six-furlong outing at Churchill Downs two starts back!

Best Bet

Parx Racing, Race 12, $1,000,000 Pennsylvania Derby, 5:49 p.m. ET

#7 Hot Rod Charlie: He’s had some extremely unfortunate luck in his two most recent outings and last out suffered a disqualification in the Grade 1 Haskell Stakes at the end of July for causing interference.

Although he has been a tad bit camera-shy, this colt never runs a bad race – he's been very consistent at hitting the board. If he’s able to work out a stalking trip, I expect him to finally be able to turn the tables on some longtime rivals in here.

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