Best Bets: Pimlico and Churchill Focus with a Preakness Pick

A scene from Preakness Stakes day 2014. (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 15

Best Bet

weekend Television schedule

Friday, May 14: 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. ET on FS1; 5 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; 5 p.m.-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, May 15: 2 p.m.-2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m-6:30 p.m. on FS2; 2 p.m.-5 p.m. ET on NBCSN; 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. ET on NBC; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, May 16: 12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Churchill Downs, Race 6, 3:18 p.m. ET

#5 Tayet: This filly has looked much better since trying her luck racing on the turf. Both of those efforts have been good ones as she’s lost by a combined distance of less than two lengths.

In her most recent start, she made a move a little bit early and was not able to fend off some late pressure which resulted in a third-place finish (moved to second due to disqualification). Today, she gets to try her luck racing a little shorter and draws a great post to use some speed and position herself on or near the front end.

Longshot Play

Pimlico, Race 12, $250,000 Dinner Party Stakes, 5:38 p.m. ET

#6 Talk Or Listen: He well in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes two starts back, but unfortunately was left with a little too much work to do in his most recent start at Keeneland. This gelding is yet to record a graded stakes win; however he could benefit from some of the speed entered and working out an off the pace trip.

Jockey Flavien Prat will be on board for the first time, which makes this longshot even more appealing.

Longshot Play

Churchill Downs, Race 11, $150,000 Louisville Stakes, 5:58 p.m. ET

#5 Fantasioso: The favorite in this race, #10 Arklow, is almost surely going to be over-bet in this particular race, which leads me to look elsewhere for horses offering value. This horse raced well in his North American debut putting up a fourth-place effort beaten only 2 ½ lengths. He logged a 102 Beyer Speed Figure for that effort which was his first start in over six months.

I’m expecting a much better effort, which makes him an intriguing option if he goes off anywhere near his 10-1 morning line price.

Best Bet

Pimlico, Race 13, $1,000,000 Preakness Stakes, 6:47 p.m. ET

#10 Concert Tour: He impressed mightily in the Rebel Stakes but followed that performance up with a disappointing one in the Arkansas Derby. That poor effort had connections pointing elsewhere as he opted to skip the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve.

Look for this colt to show early speed and likely work out a stalking trip behind Medina Spirit and a couple of others close to the lead. He’s going to be tough in here.

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