As the Saratoga season kicks off, we at do our best to provide you with some quality betting options for opening weekend.  Normally, we'd give you one or two options.  Today?  We're high on first weekend buzz - bets for everyone!

The morning line will tell you that the best bet of the weekend may be Book Review, the 6/5 favorite in Friday's fourth race.  The filly is boasting the fastest dirt speed among the race's starters, a number she posted in a second place finish last time out.  With Castellano aboard she is a just favorite and a definite contender for best bet. She is, however, surrounded by quality, including Ullapool, who won her last two races by a combined 17 1/2 lengths. She's moving up in class, but numbers like that are hard to ignore.  Ode To Sami is another who could be there.  Book Review is likely the class, so I couldn't fault any bet there - but exactas and trifectas could also be the play.

Sunday's card features at least three great possibilities - though more analysis will have to be done when the morning line odds are posted.  In the third raceNew Believer is one I'd look to as a possible best bet. There is quality around the Joel Rosario mount, but in the last five races, New Believer has won thrice and placed twice.

The fourth race includes a horse that, while moving up in class, has thrown up numbers that I can't ignore.  In his past four races, Hardshell has won by seven lengths, fifteen lengths, six lengths, and nine lengths.  It is a heck of a step up so a check of the odds is necessary before any bet, but damn those numbers are impressive.

Though I'd normally avoid maiden races, the seventh race's Madame Johar figures to be a quality bet.  She's been close to a win, collecting four shows and a place in five starts, and finishing within a length of the lead in the past two.  Maiden races are crap shoots, but I'll point to her as a great option.  Check back before Sunday's action - after the odds have come out - to find out exactly what bets and what type of bets I like as "best."

Update 7/21/12: After further analysis, Hardshell and New Believer emerge as the real Sunday "Best Bets."  The fourth race's Hardshell is the one I'd peg as most likely to score a win, but the 1A in Sunday's third, New Believer, is a great option. Madame Johar is still a great bet, but with Bunhead in the field, you have to be less confident.

In a bonus bit of analysis - less of a "best bet" and more of interesting race I noticed  and wanted to talk about - check out Friday's third race. Again, I don't love Maiden races, but the 2/1 Lignite offers a great option.  Three places in three starts could have the filly pointed toward a win.  Rivaling her is the three, Kimono, who boasts an impressive combination that has me taking notice - despite the fact that she is making her racing debut.  That combination?  Two year old horse.  Trained by Todd Pletcher. Ridden by Javier Castellano.  I've ridden it to a win before, I could see it happening again.  Either could be a quality bet, but for a maiden race, I think we could have a great one on our hands.

**The above advice is not provided by a professional handicapper - just a dude who knows some stuff doing his best.  If all goes wrong: please be gentle.**