Best Bets: Saturday Longshots at Spa, Del Mar

Horses race on the Del Mar turf course. (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, July 17

Longshot Play

weekend TV schedule

Thursday, July 15: 12:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, July 16:
1 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, July 17:
1 p.m.-2 p.m. on FS1; 2 p.m.-5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.-7 p.m. and 8 p.m.-10 p.m. on FS2; 5 p.m.-6 p.m. on NBC; 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FOX; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, July 18:
1 p.m.-1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS2; 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m. on FS1; post time varies on TVG

Saratoga Race Course, Race 7, 4:29 p.m. ET

#7 Guildsman: This is a very competitive turf sprint event which could definitely light up the toteboard in terms of the potential payouts. I landed on this gelding who made the move to new trainer Robert Falcone Jr., who boasts a fantastic 24% win rate first start after the claim. 

On Saturday, he’s entered back in for an $80,000 price tag and could show some significant signs of improvement for his new conditioner. Getting new jockey Javier Castellano on board adds to the appeal.

Best Bet

Monmouth Park, Race 11, $500,000 United Nations Stakes, 5:12 p.m. ET

#1 Arklow: Tried his luck in this event last year and spotted the field many lengths early. He was never able to get a late run going and ended up disappointing as the 13-10 favorite. This time around, he enters riding a two-race winning streak winning in two different styles – off a stalking trip and from off the pace.

Jockey Florent Geroux has gotten along amazing with this horse riding him to two of his most recent three victories and, as long as he can avoid being shuffled too far back early on, he’s going to be very tough to beat. Expect him even sharper making his second start off the six-month hiatus.

Longshot Play

Del Mar, Race 8, 8:30 p.m. ET

#8 Mr. Impossible: Could go a little bit overlooked on the odds board at post time, but he’s very capable of a big bounce-back effort. This colt broke his maiden two starts back after blinkers were removed and he looked impressive doing so taking advantage of a perfect stalking trip and drawing clear late. Following that victory he jumped up in class and tried his luck versus graded stakes horses. In that effort, he tired late.

Saturday he returns to a much easier level and could be very dangerous if he’s able to work out a similar trip to the one he did in his victory. The early speed entered should help his chances.

Best Bet


Del Mar, Race 10, $250,000 San Diego Handicap, 9:30 p.m. ET

#4 Royal Ship: He’s started to show a lot more speed since making the surface change to racing on the main track. This has helped put forth two career best Beyer Speed Figures – 106 and 99 in two races. Both of these have been versus graded stakes company.

He draws a good post in this race to try and capitalize off a stalking trip. I also think drawing inside of most of his main rivals can help this gelding save a little ground early. As long as he can find clear racing room in the stretch, he will be very tough to beat.

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