The Jury: Expert Picks, Bets and Fades for March 16 [Video]

March 14th, 2024

Racing analysts Ashley Anderson, James Scully, and Darin Zoccali discuss their best bets and fades for Oaklawn Park, Turfway Park, Gulfstream Park, and more. 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

James Scully:

#4 Tapit’s Tale (10-1) in the fifth race at Turfway Park. It took a while, but four-year-old Tapit’s Tale will finally make his career debut and none of his rivals with experience look imposing. By Tapit, he’s the first foal from Grade 3 scorer Verve’s Tale, a hard-hitting mare who won thrice and earned more than $630,000 from 23 career starts, and Tapit’s Tale has trained forwardly the last few months over Keeneland’s synthetic training track in preparation. Nacho Correas wins at a low rate with firsters, but this isn’t your typical first-time starter and I like Tapit’s Tale’s chances.

Ashley Anderson:

#11 Current Climate (5-1) in the Queen S., the sixth race at Turfway on Saturday. The six-furlong stakes event drew a field of 12 plus one also-eligible and features recent Wishing Well S. romper #6 B G Warrior (2-1), the morning line favorite. The four-year-old filly wired the Wishing Well field and crossed the wire 5 3/4 lengths ahead of second-place finisher Baby No Worries, who re-opposes here. And while cutting back in distance should not be an issue, considering B G Warrior held a significant lead at every call, she's interestingly 0-for-10 from the six-furlong distance.

The race rating of the Wishing Well came back a 115, which is lighter than the competition B G Warrior faced in three prior races. Two back, when racing in a six-furlong allowance optional claimer, she set the pace but weakened to finish fourth to Current Climate. The Race Rating came back a 116 and Current Climate will run into tougher here. Current Climate can win both on the lead or tracking the pace and will likely look to sit back before making her move, while B G Warrior should be pushed early by #7 Victorious (6-1) and #8 Princess Adaleigh (8-1). Current Climate has also won two straight at Turfway, and she owns a 5-3-0-2 overall record at the track. Trainer Eric Foster is also a 17% winner this meet, and regular rider Alex Archard is winning at a 25% rate teamed up with Foster over the last two months. TwinSpires will offer a Winter Money Back offer on this race, where you can get up to $10 back on your win bet if your horses finishes second or third in the Queen S., so even more reason to take a shot with a price horse like Current Climate, who's also 6-2-1-1 from today's distance.

Top Fade for Weekend Racing


#5 Taxed (5-2) in fifth race at Oaklawn Saturday. Winner of the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan (G2) last spring, Taxed dropped her next three starts and returns from a 175-day layoff in a six-furlong sprint. The gray filly has raced exclusively at a mile or longer from 11 starts, and trainer Randy Morse is experimenting at a shorter distance while providing a necessary tightener. I’ll look for more at longer distances in the future.


#1 Haulin Ice (3-1) in R8, a six-furlong allowance at Oaklawn on Saturday. The three-year-old filly is coming off a six-furlong maiden win in her second career start, where she posted an 84 Brisnet Speed figure and now moves up in class. Her trainer Lindsay Schultz is a 16% winner at the allowance level but just 1-for-11 with horses coming off a maiden win, and I see a couple of fillies who look like they will overpower Haulin Ice, one of four early pacesetters in the field. E types on Brisnet Past Performances are winning at the highest rate in six-furlong races at Oaklawn, but I think #4 No Coincidences (9-2) has a better chance to get out front early, and she ran a faster six-furlong time when winning a $115K maiden special weight at Oaklawn on Feb. 3 over a sloppy track. Her final time of 1:11.45 was faster on an off track compared to the 1:11.68 earned by Haulin Ice over a fast track at the same distance at Oaklawn.

#2 Timbavati (15-1) is another early runner just to the outside of Haulin Ice, and the four-year-old broke her maiden by nine lengths three back at Oaklawn at today's distance while posting an 80 BRIS figure. She's faced tougher in her last two and may get some relief in competition today. With two other early speed types capable of overtaking Haulin Ice, I'll look elsewhere. It's possible the amount of speed entered will also set up for a late runner, like debut maiden winner #7 Appealing Addie (4-1).

What Else Is Worth Noting


Three-year-olds will sprint six furlongs in Saturday’s Hutcheson S. at Gulfstream Park (Race 3), and a nice field of seven is entered. #1 Patriot Spirit, a convincing odds-on winner of the six-furlong Inaugural S. at Tampa Bay Downs two back, will cut back to a sprint and add blinkers following a ninth in the Sam F. Davis (G3). English Group 2 winner #6 Valiant Force, a fast-closing runner-up in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1), will switch to dirt after just missing from off the pace in a five-furlong turf sprint. #4 Ship to Shore merits respect following an eight-length romp Limehouse S., and #3 Beeline will jump to stakes competition following an impressive 3 3/4-length debut maiden score on Feb. 10.


Race 8 at Fair Grounds on Saturday includes three Triple Crown nominees — #1 Gun Party (5-2), #8 Air It Out (5-1), and #9 Cornishman (8-5) — all looking for their first career win. Cornishman, in particular, has been close in two career starts, finishing a length second in a six-furlong maiden special weight and 1 1/16-mile maiden race at Fair Grounds on the Risen Star (G2) undercard. The Godolphin homebred had a troubled trip last out in the slop but may improve here. If he can get a win Saturday, he may show up in one of the final Kentucky Derby prep races in an attempt to earn points toward the final field of 20. By Curlin out of a Bernardini mare, he's got the pedigree to excel at classic distances and is one to watch in this 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on Saturday.