The Jury: Expert Picks, Bets and Fades for May 11 [Video]

May 9th, 2024

Racing analysts Ashley Anderson, James Scully, and Darin Zoccali talk their best bets and fades at Churchill Downs and Belmont at the Big A. Ashley and James give 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:

#6 La La Rose (4-1) in the 11th race at Churchill Downs Saturday. The three-year-old filly broke sharply in her first start but was forced to check entering the far turn, losing valuable ground to a perfect-trip winner, and La La Rose had to wait momentarily before swinging out for the stretch drive. She determinedly chased the winner to the finish line, winding up more than five lengths clear of third, and the Greg Foley-trained filly figures to keep progressing off the encouraging debut performance.

Ashley Anderson:

#12 Imaboutago (7-2) in the Mamzelle S. in the 10th race at Churchill Downs. The three-year-old from Wesley Ward's barn is unbeaten from two career starts and has recorded a 90 and 88 Brisnet Speed figure when winning by a combined 5 3/4 lengths. She'll ship to Churchill and pick up Tyler Gaffalione here, and will go for the early lead while breaking from an outside post. I see a chance to stand against a heavy morning line favorite in #2 Nice as Pie (9-5), who won by six lengths in the Serena's Song S. at Turfway in March but has yet to race on turf. Her trainer is just a 6% winner switching from all-weather to dirt, and Nice as Pie's sire and damsire have a low win percentage with progeny making their first start on the grass. I'll back Imaboutago here and think #3 Big Trouble (20-1) and #16 Hot Beach (20-1) — if she draws in as an also-eligible — are worth including underneath in exotics.

Top Fade for Weekend Racing


#2 Hit Show (8-5) in the ninth race at Churchill Downs. After a fifth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and a dead-heat fourth in the Belmont (G1), Hit Show regressed in his next two outings, heading to the sidelines after a dull sixth at odds-on in the Oklahoma Derby (G3). A plodding, off-the-pace type, Hit Show has been inconsistent throughout his career and his numbers are far from overwhelming. I will give him a race back at short odds.


#3 The Wine Steward (5-2) in the Peter Pan (G3), R6 at Belmont at the Big A. With Tuscan Gold's connections opting for the Preakness (G1), The Wine Steward is the shortest price on the morning line, but he's a play-against for me at the distance. The Vino Rosso colt was 3-for-3 to start his career while racing between five and six furlongs, but since stretching out to 1 1/16 miles he has finished second both times by less than a length. He'll try 1 1/8 miles in the Peter Pan, and I expect the distance to be too far for him. I like #7 Deterministic (5-1) to rebound here after finishing eighth in the Wood Memorial (G2). I also like the chances of Todd Pletcher's maiden #1 Protective (8-1), who has the highest last race speed rating among the field when recording a 100 Brisnet Speed figure as a nearly four-length third to Resilience in the Wood Memorial.

What Else Is Worth Noting


The Peter Pan (G2) has produced two of the last five Belmont (G1) winners including Arcangelo, who swept both races last year, and Saturday’s edition lost a major contender in Tuscan Sky, who will instead head to the Preakness (G1) a week later. That leaves Gotham (G3) winner Deterministic and Lexington (G3) runner-up The Wine Steward as the main principals, and I like #7 Deterministic (5-1) to rebound from a disappointing eighth at odds-on in the Wood Memorial (G2). I question Deterministic’s condition after a comeback win in Gotham (G3) on March 2. The Wood followed five weeks later, and at one point during the interim, trainer Christophe Clement speculated about training his colt straight up to the Kentucky Derby, which suggested to me that Deterministic didn’t bounce back as planned from the previous start. Deterministic never fired a step in the Wood, giving way readily on the backstretch, but he’s come back with a strong series of works in preparation for the Peter Pan. And I will look for him to rebound accordingly.


The race after the Peter Pan, the 1 3/8-mile Man o' War S. (G2) will include a formidable pair of Charlie Appleby runners among the nine-horse field. #9 Nations Pride (8-5) is the morning line favorite despite returning from a five-month layoff and finishing seventh in the Bahrain International Trophy (G2) last out. The five-year-old will regain Frankie Dettori, who won with Nations Pride at Aqueduct back in September 2022 when racing 1 1/2 miles, but I like the recent form of #8 Silver Knott (3-1), who just won the 1 1/2-mile Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland over heavily favored stablemate Bold Act. Flavien Prat will retain the mount and is 2-1-1-0 at Aqueduct. Prat is also a 23% winner with E/P types, and Silver Knott could improve further second off the layoff here.