The Jury: Expert Picks, Bets and Fades for July 6 [Video]

July 5th, 2024

Racing analysts James Scully, Ashley Anderson, and special guest Kevin Kerstein debate their best bets and fades for Ellis Park's opening weekend, Horseshoe Indianapolis' Indiana Derby (G3) card, Prairie Meadows, and more. Ashley and James provide their thoughts in the written portion below. Be sure to check out Kevin's opinions in our on-camera portion as well!

Racing Analyst Best Bets for Weekend Racing

James Scully:

#4 War Campaign (6-1) in Saturday’s Michael G. Schaefer Memorial at Horseshoe Indianapolis. He’s won or placed in 13 of 19 starts and displayed fine versatility, racing on dirt, turf, and synthetics and over a wide range of route distances, and his form has improved at age five. War Campaign started to come on during the winter for Phil Simms, earning his first stakes win and a 105 Brisnet Speed rating for a convincing score in the Tinsel S. at Oaklawn Park. He followed with a pair of runner-up finishes to First Mission in the Essex (G3) and Kingsbarns in the Ben Ali (G3), and War Campaign exits a sixth to Highland Falls as the 7-1 third choice in the Blame (G3). He’s come back to record a couple of fast works in preparation, and War Campaign will appreciate the cutback in distance and class relief Saturday.

Ashley Anderson:

#7 Indian Creed (7-2) in Race 7, the Snack H., a one-mile turf event for three-year-old Indiana-breds on Saturday at Horseshoe Indianapolis. The Snack drew a field of 12, plus three also-eligibles, and interestingly many of the runners in the main field have no turf experience, including the morning-line favorite, #8 Molly's Town (5-2), whose trainer is also 0-for-32 first time out on the grass. But one runner who does have recent turf experience is #7 Indian Creed, who went gate to wire in his first turf test last out when racing at today's distance of a mile in a state-restricted maiden special weight. The Jimmy Creed colt beat nine rivals, including a next-out winner who finished third, and he's picking up Jaime Torres, a 16% winner on turf who's winning at a 30% clip this meet. Trainer Mike Maker is also a 21% winner this meet and strikes at a 16% rate with horses coming off a maiden win.

I'll play Indian Creed to win as well as in an exacta box with longshot #1 Black White N Gold (12-1), an Oscar Performance gelding who won two back at a mile in a state-restricted allowance on Horseshoe Indy's turf and clocked a 74 Brisnet Speed figure. Edgar Morales will inherit the mount and is 15-3-3-3 to start the meet. Black White N Gold also put in a sharp workout June 29 at the Churchill Training Center. 

Top Fade for Weekend Racing


#4 Moonlit Lady (5-2) in Saturday’s Pea Patch S. at Ellis Park. She got away with a clear lead when upsetting an entry-level turf allowance at Churchill Downs two back, but there’s legitimate to her inside and outside in the starting gate and Moonlit Lady has given way badly when facing serious pressure in two previous starts. I’m keen on Gulfstream shipper #5 Quimichis (5-1) from off the pace and will fade Moonlit Lady in my wagers.


#9 Misread (7-2) in the Indiana General Assembly Distaff H., the 10th race at Horseshoe Indy on Saturday. The five-year-old by Blame won two back at a mile on the turf, then stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in the Mint Julep (G3) and finished fifth over yielding turf on June 2 at Churchill. She'll try 8 1/2 furlongs again today and is 0-for-2 from the distance, finishing fifth in both efforts. Shorter distances appear to suit her better; though, she does have a narrow win at 1 1/8 miles in an allowance four back at Ellis Park. However, the competition Saturday will be much tougher, and I prefer the chances of closer #3 Stir Crazy (8-1), who just won a 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claimer at Churchill on June 13, and #5 Regal Realm (5-1), an Animal Kingdom mare returning off a long layoff for trainer Jonathan Thomas. #10 Elounda Queen (9-2) could impress in her first start for trainer Brad Cox as well. The late runner will be racing on Lasix and is eligible to improve second start off a layoff.

What Else Is Worth Noting?


The Belmont-at-Aqueduct meet wraps up this weekend, but three of Saturday’s four graded events failed to attract decent-sized fields, as the Belmont Derby (G1) and John Nerud (G2) only attracted five and the Dwyer (G3) a paltry four runners. The Belmont Oaks (G1) for three-year-old fillies at 1 3/16 miles headlines the festivities with a fine group of nine, including North America’s leading turf three-year-old turf filly, #7 She Feels Pretty, and a trio of European raiders. It promises to be an exciting race.

Steve Asmussen won at least eight two-year-old maiden races at Churchill Downs this spring, and the Hall of Fame trainer’s barn is still stocked with intriguing juveniles to unveil. Ellis Park offers back-to-back races for two-year-old fillies Saturday, one at a mile on turf and the other at 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track, and I’ll mention a pair of Asmussen debuters.

#4 Take Note of This (4-1), $550,000 yearling purchase by Ghostzazpper, will make her first start in the fourth race on turf. Martin Garcia rides the half-sister to multiple Grade 1-winning $2.8 million earner Sadler’s Joy and synthetic Grade 2 winner Wolfie’s Dynaghost. Garcia also has the assignment on #11 Oklahoma Logic (8-1) in the fifth race. The dark bay filly is by McLean’s Music, a 16% first-out sire, and the youngster is out of a Grade 3-winning sprinter who is a sibling to a multiple Grade 2-winning sprinter. Oklahoma Logic also shows fast works to go with her precocious bloodlines.


A pair of highly touted Brad Cox sophomores, Just a Touch and Impel, will race this weekend, with Just a Touch installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite in the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows and Impel cross-entered in the Iowa Oaks as well as the Indiana Oaks (G3) at Horseshoe Indianapolis. The Quality Road filly is the morning-line favorite in both races and will be tough to beat in either, but Just a Touch may be vulnerable in his spot. The Justify colt built a ton of hype along the Kentucky Derby trail but finished last of 20 in the first leg of the Triple Crown. He'll make his first start since the first Saturday in May and has not won since he broke his maiden on debut in a six-furlong sprint over a sloppy Fair Grounds track. He next finished second to Deterministic in the one-mile Gotham and was beaten to second by Sierra Leone in the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass (G1) after gaining a lead in the stretch. Many horseplayers look to play against Kentucky Derby runners in their first start back off the Churchill Downs classic, and Just a Touch fits the profile for a Kentucky Derby also-ran ripe for an upset among a competitive 11-horse field at Prairie Meadows.

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