Best Bets: Saturday Focus on Turf at Keeneland and Belmont

Enjoying the paddock scene at Keeneland. (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, Oct. 16

weekend Television schedule

Thursday, Oct. 14: 12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, Oct. 15:
12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Oct. 16:
8 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Oct. 17:
12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Best Bet

Keeneland, Race 3, 2:04 p.m. ET

#10 Grand Sonata: He raced really well in his debut less than a month ago versus a tough group at Belmont Park. He was simply second best on that day and now tries his luck stretching out in distance and trying routing for the first time. The added furlongs could really prove advantageous especially if new jockey Tyler Gaffalione chooses to race this colt from off the pace.

I expect him to take quite a bit of support at the windows as he looks to take another step forward for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Best Bet

Belmont Park, Race 5, 2:43 p.m. ET

#6 Get the Candy: She’s been the victim of tough trips in her most recent two outings, mostly due to the outside posts she was stuck with. This time around she draws much better and now has the luxury of being able to see what unfolds around her and where the other horses are positioned.

I like that she’s raced back on only a few weeks rest and now gets another try on the same turf course she's already won on. Although she loses the services of Luis Saez, she reunites with Manuel Franco who has ridden this filly twice in her 2-year-old campaign.

Best Bet

Keeneland, Race 6, 3:40 p.m. ET

#4 Curbstone: Here’s another 2-year-old race that seems to have a horse stand out above the rest based on what we’ve already seen in their efforts on the racetrack. This colt showed noticeable improvement adding blinkers last time out. The blinkers added definitely helped this colt show more early speed and helped with the break.

Saturday, he draws inside of his main rivals and is likely to show off that gate speed once again. He should be tough to beat trying his luck versus an overall easier group.

Longshot Play

Keeneland, Race 8, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes Presented by Dixiana, 4:44 p.m. ET

#10 Closing Remarks: She does draw a difficult outside post, but this filly has shown more than enough early speed to get involved in the pace scenario. She also gets another try racing at this long 1 1/8-mile distance where she just missed last time out and flaunts two runner-up finishes.

She’s been at her best working out stalking trips just behind the early speed, and should be positioned well to track down some of the early pacesetters. Although this is a tough task and she’s yet to win a graded stakes contest, I think with a good trip she’s capable of beating this group.

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