Friday’s Best Bets and Quick Picks: Turfway’s $111,807 Pick 5 carryover

March 29th, 2024

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares best bets and quick picks for Friday, March 29 at Sunland Park and Turfway Park, including horses to play in the $111,807 Pick 5 carryover and $38,651 Super High 5 carryover at Turfway.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Winter Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in select races every Thursday-Sunday.
  • Turfway Park 15% Win Bonus: Receive a 15% bonus (up to $25 per day) on winning single-horse win bets at Turfway Park every Friday in March.
  • 10x Points at Fraser Downs: Receive 10x reward points on all wagers (excluding show bets) at Fraser Downs on Thursdays and Fridays in March.
  • Australian Autumn Racing Carnival $10 Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any eligible race at Rosehill Gardens or Royal Randwick in Australia. Today’s track is Rosehill Gardens.

Best Bets and Quick Picks

Sunland Park: Race 7: New Mexico Breeders’ Oaks (1 1/16 miles, 5:04 p.m. ET)

#5 Scary Cherry (4-1) was much the best in her debut sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs at Sunland earlier this month, leading all the way to dominate by 5 3/4 lengths.

From a pedigree perspective, there’s no reason to think Scary Cherry won’t thrive while stretching out over 1 1/16 miles. She’s a daughter of 1 1/8-mile El Camino Real Derby (G3) winner Metaboss out of 1 1/8-mile Calder Oaks heroine Chary, who has previously foaled one-mile Enchantress S. winner Chary Ride and 1 1/16-mile Charles Taylor Derby runner-up Walker Stalker.

Throw in the fact trainer Martin Valdez-Cabral Jr. wins at a 33% rate with horses running long for the first time, and Scary Cherry is an appealing choice. Let’s bet her to win and single her to start a cold double wager.


  • #5 Scary Cherry (4-1)
  • #3 Honky Tonk Honey (7-2)
  • #1 Mark the Winner (3-1)


  • $20 to win on #5 Scary Cherry (4-1)
  • $20 Double: 5 with 1
    Total: $40

Sunland Park: Race 8: New Mexico Breeders’ Derby (1 1/16 miles, 5:32 p.m. ET)

#1 Community Leader (7-5) has compiled eight wins and a second from nine starts, including three straight stakes scores heading into the New Mexico Breeders’ Derby. Last time out, he closed from midfield to obliterate the one-mile Red Hedeman Mile S. at Sunland Park by 8 1/4 lengths

Community Leader looks mighty tough to beat for high-percentage trainer Todd Fincher, so we’ll single him to conclude our double wager and then key him over his up-and-coming stablemate #5 Our Valentino (7-2) in the exacta.


  • #1 Community Leader (7-5)
  • #5 Our Valentino (7-2)
  • #2 Shame On Whiskey (5-1)


  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 5

Turfway Park: Race 3: $30,000 Maiden Claiming (one mile on Tapeta, 6:55 p.m. ET)

#9 Rum Tum Tugger (8-1) finished fifth in a pair of starts against maiden special weight competition last summer, including a one-mile grass contest in which he pressed the early pace before weakening to finish six lengths behind the winner.

Rum Tum Tugger disappeared from the work tab following that effort, but he’s posted eight timed workouts in advance of his return, including a solid five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 at Turfway Park. He’s adding Lasix for trainer Michael Stidham, who wins at a 22% rate with horses returning from layoffs of 90 days or more, so there are reasons to believe Rum Tum Rugger can move forward in a big way while dropping in class and switching to Tapeta.

We’ll bet Rum Tum Tugger to win and call it a day.


  • #9 Rum Tum Tugger (8-1)
  • #6 Stellar Vino (9-2)
  • #4 New Spell (2-1)


  • $25 to win on #9 Rum Tum Tugger

Carryover Watch

Turfway Park: Race 4: $111,807 Pick 5 carryover (7:25 p.m. ET)
Turfway Park: Race 8: $38,651 Super High 5 carryover (9:25 p.m. ET)

The penultimate day of the Turfway Park meet features a pair of lucrative non-jackpot carryovers: a $111,807 prize pool in the 50-cent Late Pick 5 and a $38,651 pot in the $1 Super High 5.

Large and competitive fields abound in the Pick 5 sequence, and finding a trustworthy single to build tickets around might not be possible. That said, Race 6—an $8,000 claimer for fillies and mares racing one mile on Tapeta—does appear relatively straightforward. Morning line favorite #5 Mizzen Ash (5-2) recorded two wins and a second from three starts at Turfway during the winter, most recently tracking a slow pace on her way to victory in a one-mile $12,500 claimer.

Mizzen Ash was claimed out of that victory by trainer Michael Pino, a 24% winner with new claiming acquisitions and a 36% winner with horses dropping in class off a claim, which is an angle that applies to Mizzen Ash since she’s descending into an $8,000 claimer.

We would think about singling Mizzen Ash if not for the presence of #8 Lunar Ice (9-2), runner-up by three-quarters of a length against Mizzen Ash in the above-mentioned $12,500 claimer. Lunar Ice closed strongly from behind the slow pace and might have won with a better setup. She came back to finish second in an even tougher $16,000 claimer at Turfway, so if she gets more pace to chase while dropping back down the class ladder, Lunar Ice may turn the tables on Mizzen Ash.

The Pick 5 wraps up in Race 8, which is also the event in which Super High 5 wagering is offered. It’s a $5,000 claimer for older horses sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta, and separating the key contenders isn’t easy. Morning line favorite #10 Grey Charmer (5-2) finished third in a $12,500 claimer sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Turfway two starts back, but he subsequently faltered to fourth place as the favorite in a $5,000 claimer over the same track and distance. He would have been claimed that day, but the veterinarian voided the claim. Grey Charmer doesn’t necessarily have upside for improvement this Friday, opening the door for an upset.

We prefer the chances of #5 For Mama (6-1). The five-year-old gelding showed pace-pressing speed when taking a $5,000 claimer sprinting six furlongs at Turfway last month. For Mama races on or near the lead with some regularity, and that could lend him an advantage on Friday since Race 8 isn’t overly stuffed with speed. If For Mama presses a modest pace under Turfway’s leading jockey Luan Machado, he may prove tough to run down in the homestretch.

#12 Clearing Waivers (4-1) is another to strongly consider, particularly for minor placings in the Super High 5. He’s finished third in all four of his starts against $5,000 claiming competition at Turfway since December and has posted competitive Brisnet Speed ratings in the 72-75 range in each of his last seven starts. Another competitive run should be in the offing.

Good luck!