Best Bets: Stakes Standouts at Santa Anita, Fair Grounds

Horses race at picturesque Santa Anita Park during the 2021 winter-spring meet. (Eclipse Sportswire)

America’s Best Racing 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, Feb. 13

Longshot Play

weekend Television schedule

Friday, Feb. 12: post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Feb.13: 2:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Feb.14: 1 p.m.-5 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Monday, Feb.15: 1 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Santa Anita Park, Race 1, 3:30 p.m. ET

#6 Warrior Lady: The full 12-horse field should make for an interesting race, with many runners making their debuts. The outside posts are going to be tricky to win from, especially with the first turn coming up so quickly in this six-furlong test.

I landed on this filly who should get more play than her 12-1 morning line odds suggest. She raced on turf and on Lasix (furosemide) for the first time in her most recent effort and showed some early speed and considerable improvement. She gets a good post to work with today, and could be even sharper in her second start on turf and with Lasix and her first start for a new trainer.

Longshot Play

Fair Grounds, Race 9, $100,000 Albert Stall Memorial Stakes, 5:12 p.m. ET

#8 Amazima: I’m hoping the turf course at Fair Grounds firms up after the expected rain on Friday, as this mare has unfortunately raced over some softer footing in her most recent two tries on grass. Although we have seen good efforts from her off many different types of trips, I’d like to see her in a stalking position behind some of the early speed. If she’s able to take advantage of a trip like that, I would expect her to be heard from late, and she could spring a nice upset at longshot odds.

Best Bet

Fair Grounds, Race 11, $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes, 6:16 p.m. EST

#8 Factor This: Outside of the rail horse Blackberry Wine who is trying his luck returning to the turf after a long absence, there isn’t much early speed entered. This could really help make things much easier on his horse who has thrived when getting to the front end and rating well. Along with showing some early speed, the drop in class to meet an overall easier field should help as well.

He also reunites with jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who really gets along well with him. Horse and rider have landed in the winners circle in four of their most recent six tries together.

Best Bet

Santa Anita Park, Race 8, $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes, 7:20 p.m. ET

#4 Hard Not to Love: She makes her second start of the year after four months away from racing, and most importantly returns to the sprinting distance where she recorded her two most recent victories, both last winter at Santa Anita Park, including the 2020 edition of this race.

Expect this mare to show off some of that early speed out of an ideal post draw and be involved in the pace scenario early. She should get quite a bit of betting support at post, but should still offer a fair enough price to take a shot.

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