Best Bets: Sunday Longshots at Kentucky Downs

Watching the races at Kentucky Downs. (Coady Photography)

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, Aug. 4

Best Bet

weekend Television schedule

Friday, Sept. 3: 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, Sept. 4: 12:30 p.m.-7 p.m. on FS2; 6 p.m.-7 p.m. on NBCSN

post time varies on TVG

Sunday, Sept. 5: 12:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Monday, Sept. 6: 12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. on FS2; 5 p.m.-6 p.m. on FS1; 6 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Del Mar, Race 11, $250,000 Del Mar Derby Presented by Caesars Sportsbook, 9:30 p.m. ET

#1 Hudson Ridge: He just missed making it three in a row in his most recent graded stakes try where he took advantage of a perfect trip, finished third by a head, and was bumped up and placed second due to disqualification.

This Saturday, jockey Flavien Prat will be on board for the first time, which adds to the appeal. When he and trainer Bob Baffert have linked up this year they are clicking at a 44%-win rate. Although the price will probably be short at post, he looks like a standout runner.

Sunday, Aug. 5

Longshot Play

Kentucky Downs, Race 4, 3:01 p.m. ET

#10 Gingrich: He showed a lot more speed in his most recent try, which was a route race over the turf at Ellis Park. He got to the lead late in the race but was unable to fend off a late closer, missing by under a length.

This time around he draws the outside post, but he has more than enough early speed to overcome it. Expect this colt even sharper making his second start routing for a trainer in Brian Lynch clicking at a 50 percent rate through 12 starters that are making their second career try at a route.

Best Bet

Kentucky Downs, Race 6, 4:08 p.m. EST

#8 Vivar: He was heavily bet in his debut and was left with too much work to do late, although he rallied extremely well when he found racing room. Following that effort, he posted two fantastic works – most notably a bullet work on Aug. 22 logging a time of four furlongs in 48:2.

Another appealing factor is how great trainer Brad Cox is improving horses off their first career starts. He clicks at a 26 percent rate for horses making their second start and even bigger numbers when you break that stat down to apply to turf starters going a route of ground.

Longshot Play

Kentucky Downs, Race 10, $750,000 Big Ass Fans Dueling Grounds Derby, 6:25 p.m. ET

#9 Royal Prince: He was a beaten favorite in his most recent stakes effort; however he did race really well and just lost by a nose at the wire. Today he gets another try versus stakes company and stretches out in distance.

He’s been knocking on the door with a pair of runner-up finishes in his most recent few tries and could flourish today with the added real estate. In terms of speed figures, he fits in with some of the shorter priced-horses and may be a little overlooked at post time.

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