Best Bets: A Perfect Storm at Belmont, Trio Under Twin Spires

The famed Twin Spires at Churchill Downs earlier this year during the sprint meet. (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.

This Weekend’s Bets

Saturday, May 22

Best Bet

Belmont Park, Race 4, 2:33 p.m. ET

weekend TV schedule

Thursday, May 20: 3 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, May 21:
12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, May 22:
1 p.m.-3 p.m. and 4 p.m-11:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, May 23:
12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. and 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

#5 Love and Thunder: Made her North American debut after nearly eight months away from racing and got out to a slower-than-ideal start early in a sprint. Today, she gets to stretch out in distance and try her luck at a mile. Trainer Chad Brown is known to put up great numbers with all of his runners, but through a big sample size, he is clicking at a 28% rate with horses making their second start off a layoff!

This filly will be much sharper second start out, and with jockey Jose Ortiz familiar with many of these runners, choosing to ride this filly is a big nod of confidence for me.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 8, 9:39 p.m. ET

#8 Guest Suite: Was able to win versus a decent group in an allowance race at Oaklawn Park two starts back. He took advantage of a solid pace and was able to get up just in time. Following that effort, he was in a little too tough and was never a factor in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap April 17.

Saturday he is in for a claiming price tag and looks like he is a major player dropping in class and returning to racing at the shorter, one-mile distance.

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 10, 10:42 p.m. ET

#1 Calibrate: Small field in here and the two taking a large majority of the betting support will be the two inside horses. This colt is going to be tough getting another try in a winnable spot having raced most of his starts last year versus Grade 1 company.

Saturday, he makes his second start after a lengthy layoff and gets to run for the second time on Lasix (furosemide), both profitable angles for trainer Steve Asmussen, clicking at a 20% rate.

Best Bet

Churchill Downs, Race 11, 11:10 p.m. ET

#7 Casanova Kitten: Showed some prerace antics when acting up before the start in his most recent race, breaking through the starting gate. Although he was only beaten two lengths, I’m willing to draw a line through that effort.

This gelding gets another try on the turf and gets a new jockey on board in Ricardo Santana Jr. I expect him to show quite a bit of early speed and, hopefully, he is able to use that speed to his advantage to work out a stalking trip.

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