Best Bets: Saturday Spotlight on Keeneland and Belmont

Enjoying the races 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. 23

Longshot Play

weekend Television schedule

Friday, Oct.22: 12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Oct.23: 12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Oct. 24: 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. on FS2; 2 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS1; post time varies on TVG

Belmont Park, Race 6, 3:15 p.m. ET

#10 Cousin Andrew: This gelding makes his first start off the claim for new trainer Linda Rice who is clicking at a 22 percent rate with new recruits. It’s interesting to see him trying his luck on the turf for the first time after some really solid efforts on the dirt where he picked up some checks.

I’m very curious to see how his speed will translate on the turf, because among this group he seems to be one of the quickest. I also like that he will be racing without blinkers – he raced without them in his last start and although it was versus easier, he looked good. I’m willing to take a shot on this gelding who should offer a lot of value.

Best Bet

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

#4 Mystic Night: This gelding followed his maiden breaking score with a dominant allowance victory posting a 104 Speed Figure in May. Since then, he’s put forth two good efforts settling for runner-up finishes while disappointing as a short-priced favorite in both outings.

On Saturday he gets John Velazquez on board for the first time and gets to cut back in distance. Both of those are often recipes for success. He’s going to take a lot of support, and rightfully so – he's clearly the one to beat.

Longshot Play

Keeneland, Race 8, 4:44 p.m. ET

#9 Spectacular Gem: He is a relatively new acquisition for trainer Brendan Walsh who has only trained him for one start thus far, on Sept. 9 at Kentucky Downs. That was his first start five months, and in that outing, he broke slow from the gate and was never involved.

I’m expecting to see quite a bit of improvement in his second start under new care and returning to route racing. He will be making his debut as a first-time gelding, and I’m hoping to see a lot more early speed – that would likely give him his best chance at landing in the winner’s circle.

Best Bet

Belmont Park, Race 9, $400,000 Hill Prince Stakes, 4:52 p.m. ET

#9 Public Sector: He’s looked special putting forth back-to-back victories in his most recent two outings within the graded stakes ranks. He’s been able to capitalize off two perfect stalking trips. This time around he draws inside two of his main rivals and has the luxury of watching what enfolds speed-wise to the outside of him.

He’s beaming with confidence right now and although this is a particularly deep field, I like his chances to make it three straight victories.

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