Welcome to Noel Michaels’ Weekend Winners, the place to go for weekend best bets and spot plays from veteran handicapper and tournament-play pioneer Noel Michaels. Check back every week for a couple of highlighted selections designed to help you cash a few bets and make some money.
Noel’s selections have been featured just about everywhere horse racing picks can be found, including in print in the Daily Racing Form, The HorsePlayer Magazine and American Turf Monthly, online at DRF.com, Twinspires.com and USRacing.com, from the paddock on-track at Arlington International Racecourse, and on the air on HRTV, TVG, NYC OTB Extra, NYRA’s Talking Horses, and on broadcast TV on WAVE-3 Louisville, ABC KOLO-8 in Reno, Nevada, and channel 72 Long Island Cablevision.
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6 Beginner Betting Tools
Saturday, May 27
We take a pause from the Triple Crown series this week as we enter the long Memorial Day holiday weekend with some great racing in store at Belmont Park this Saturday. Belmont presents a 10-race card Saturday headlined by the Grade 3 Soaring Softly Stakes for 3-year-old fillies sprinting seven furlongs on the turf, which goes as Race 7. Instead of that feature race, however, let’s turn our attention to a couple of races earlier on the card that should provide us even better betting opportunities. Best of luck and enjoy the long weekend.
Belmont Park, Race 4, allowance optional claiming race, 2:32 p.m. ET
Saturday’s fourth race is a one-mile dirt race for 3-year-olds that drew an evenly matched, six-horse field where five of the six runners are between 2-1 and 9-2 odds on the morning line. The lone longshot has a chance, too, which is why this race is so bettable. #2 Thunderian has been in good form in the recent races and ran a good effort in defeat last time at seven furlong when beaten by a repeat next-out winner. He returns to perhaps his best distance of one mile, which was the distance of a March win at Laurel Park, and Irad Ortiz Jr. picks up the mount. #3 Warrior Richard has won two races in a row and seems to improve more and more with each and every outing. He won for this rider at this distance two races ago, and Jaime Torres forms a lethal jockey-trainer combination with this trainer, Robert Falcone, having won eight of his last 17 mounts riding for this barn. At 9-2 odds, he is perhaps the best win bet of the bunch. The live longshot in the race is #1 Life and Light, who lost last time when raised to this class level, but that race was on the turf. Now he returns to the dirt after winning both recent races on this surface, including his win on April 15 at Aqueduct with a speed figure that puts him within range of the other horses in this field.
The Play: Bet #3 Warrior Richard (9-2) to win and play him in exacta and trifecta boxes with #1 Life and Light (12-1) and #2 Thunderian (3-1).
Belmont Park, Race 5, maiden special weight race, 3:03 p.m. ET
The is a maiden race for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the grass that drew a field of seven with horses representing many of Belmont’s powerful turf trainers, including Bill Mott, two from Chad Brown, and two from Todd Pletcher. While Brown runners gain instant respect in spots like this, it might be Pletcher that is the one to watch today with #1 Mirabella, a bay filly that got what looked like a prep under her belt last time out with a third-place finish at Gulfstream Park when returning from a nine-month layoff. All systems “go” today in the second off the layoff with John Velazquez taking over the mount. For the exactas, #4 Doral looks like a good bet based on her back-to-back solid second-place efforts this winter at Gulfstream for Mott. Toss out her loss last time at Keeneland when she got off to a bad start and was too far back in a big field leading to a troubled trip. If she runs back to her races at Gulfstream, she’ll be tough.
The Play: Bet #1 Mirabella (5-1) to win and box her in the exacta with #4 Doral (7-2).
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