The Jury: Expert Picks, Bets and Fades for Jan. 25 [Video]
Racing analysts Ashley Anderson, James Scully, and Darin Zoccali analyze races on the Pegasus World Cup Day card, as well as Turfway Park racing. Ashley and James offer their thoughts in the written portion below. Be sure to check out Darin's opinions in our on-camera portion as well!
Best Bet for Weekend Racing
#11 Tumbarumba (8-1) is my best bet in the Fred Hooper (G3) at Gulfstream Park. This four-year-old gelding was pegged as a sprinter earlier in his career but turned things around when stretching to a mile in the Ellis Park Derby three back. In fact, he's improved significantly since August, registering triple-digit Brisnet Speed ratings that loom large in this spot, and the cut back to eight furlongs looks favorable following a couple of strong efforts at 1 1/8 miles.
#1 Beechnut Trophy (12-1) in Race 4 at Gulfstream, a one-mile and 70-yard handicap for fillies and mares four years old and up. The five-year-old had raced on turf in nine previous starts before switching back to all-weather off a nearly four-month layoff in an allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream last out, where she took a huge step forward recording a 92 Brisnet Speed figure when winning by 1 1/4 lengths. Trainer Saffie Joseph is a 20% winner at Gulfstream, and he strikes at a 22% rate with horses that won their last race. Jose Ortiz (19% winner this meet) will retain the mount and is 2-for-2 paired with Joseph over the last 14 days. Beechnut Trophy has also looked strong in recent workouts. I like her stablemate #3 Candy Light (9-2) as well in her first start since transferring to Joseph's barn, but I'll go with the longshot here with hot rider Ortiz aboard.
Top Fade for Weekend Racing
#9 Maryquitecontrary (2-1) in the Inside Information (G2) at Gulfstream. This five-year-old mare was sharp when recording her first graded win in this spot last year, reeling off four consecutive wins in advance, but she doesn't appear to be in the same form this year, returning from a freshening a workmanlike victory in the Rampart S. that netted only a 90 Brisnet Speed rating last month. She also must face tougher competition this time around, and I will try to beat Maryquitecontrary at short odds in her title defense.
#7 National Treasure (9-5) in R13, the Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream. The Quality Road colt was last seen finishing a nose second to Cody's Wish in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) and has posted a number of bullet workouts ahead of his four-year-old debut, but I'm taking a stand at the price, as the Bob Baffert trainee faces a competitive field of older horses. National Treasure was 1-for-7 last year, with his lone win coming in gate-to-wire fashion in the Preakness (G1), and he's lost four straight since. He's also 0-for-2 at the distance, with no in-the-money finishes.
I like fellow four-year-old #8 First Mission (7-2) better. The lightly raced Street Sense colt was beaten a nose by Trademark at today's distance in the Clark (G2) but can improve off a two-month layoff. Among the older horses in the field, #12 Skippylongstocking (8-1) is my choice. He's flashed triple-digit BRIS figures in his last three and won by five lengths at today's distance two back in the Charles Town Classic (G2). He also owns a 7-3-1-1 record at the distance along with a 9-3-1-1 record at Gulfstream.
#TwinSpiresTop5 performances of the weekend.— TwinSpires Racing 🏇 (@TwinSpires) November 20, 2023
1️⃣ Integration - Hill Prince S.
2️⃣ Hot and Sultry - Chillukki (GIII)
3️⃣ Leslie's Rose - MSW
4️⃣ Carbone - MSW
5️⃣ Enclosure - MSW
Be sure to add these horses to your #TwinSpires #StableAlerts 🏇 ⬇️ https://t.co/w9VVqWZQII pic.twitter.com/tLuxOwL5Xr
What Else Is Worth Noting
Excited to see the first Grade 1 appearance by #3 Integration (3-1) in the Pegasus World Cup Turf. The four-year-old didn't make his career debut until August, and I've been impressed by his turn of foot in all three starts, including convincing tallies in the Hill Prince (G2) and Virginia Derby (G3). The Shug McGaughey-trained colt appears to have a very high ceiling in the turf ranks this year, and I will look for Integration to get his season started on a winning note.
#9 Warm Heart (9-5) will make her final career start in R12, the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), where she will take on males for the second straight race. She was last seen finishing third in the 1 1/2-mile Hong Kong Vase (G1), and two back she finished a neck second to Inspiral in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), her lone U.S. start. Warm Heart has done her best work between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 miles, and will cut back in distance for her swan song. While the morning line favorite, she may get a tough battle from unbeaten Integration (3-1), who's 3-for-3 with back-to-back graded stakes victories. The four-year-old could be the next top turf runner, and Saturday's Grade 1 test will let us know if the Shug McGaughey trainee lives up to the hype.