Another 2-1 weekend moves us farther above .500 on the year.  We'll look to stay on top with a strong showing through Alabama weekend.

Quality Bets: An early Friday stakes race brings us the first entry in this week's "Best Bets." Specifically, we're looking at the $100K Summer stakes, the weekend's second race - a mile and an eighth over the Saratoga dirt.  While there are three I see as above the pack, I'm targeting the four, Ciao Bella as the filly to hit the wire first.  She's taking a dramatic step up in class, so approach with caution, but her two for two record - with wins by four and seven lengths - has me favoring her.  The five, Moment in Dixie, and the seven, Ainsley, are the others I'd target.  This is, undoubtedly, my least confident "best bet," but I'll let it ride.

Friday's fourth race, the second stakes race of the day, has me pointing toward a pair of horses.  The one, Gitchee Goomie, and the five, Hessonite, are head and shoulders above the field, in my opinion.  They've raced the biggest races, and collected the best record in the meantime.  Since May 27th, the pair has raced against each other twice, finishing one-two in both - with Gitchee Goomie representing the one both times.  I won't go so far as to lock in Gitchee Goomie as a best bet, but I'll lock in one of them.  In fact, I'll lock in the exacta.  Best bet in the fourth: 1-5 exacta.

With Saturday doing little to stoke my best bet fire, we skip forward to Sunday's first race for my next entry.  This Maiden, seven furlong sprint brings us a second-time starter whose respectable first outing gives me confidence heading into Sunday. The filly lost by less than a length on this very track in July, gaining on the lead but running out of time in the end.  With an extra three-siI'xteenths, I'll take her to hit the wire first.  There are two first starters, so a cautious approach could be prudent, but I'm confident in Kimono's ability here.

A second maiden race rounds out our "Best Bet" weekend, with Sunday's fifth race serving as the venue. This mile and sixteenth turf race will feature five first starters, so frequent readers will know I write with caution, but Citizen Emma has me convinced.  A second place finish in her only start - at the same route and distance as Sunday's race - puts her well above the field.  A competitor in said race, the five, Broken Spell, will be her toughest competition, but I find the Pletcher-Castellano combination clearly the better.  Citizen Emma takes my money. **As always, Sunday "Best Bets" are subject to change as more information becomes available.  Check this article periodically or follow me on Twitter for updates throughout the weekend**

Best Bet: I'll peg the Gitchee Goomie-Hessonite exacta in Friday's fourth as the weekend's best bet.  Yeah, they're that much better than the field.

**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.**