The Jury: Bets and fades for Memorial Day weekend

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TwinSpires Staff

May 27th, 2022

With Memorial Day weekend marking the unofficial start to summer, the Jury of James Scully, Kellie Reilly, and Vance Hanson look to kick off the season on a strong note with their observations on upcoming races.

What is your best bet?

James Scully: #8 Ontheonesandtwos (7-2) will make her second start back this year in Saturday's 11th race at Churchill Downs, a $127,000 second-level allowance at six furlongs, and she exits a good second to unbeaten Society, a stakes-bound filly who had everything her own way on the front end. Ontheonesandtwos shows a bullet work in the three-week interim, and the three-year-old filly will have more to offer in this spot.

Kellie Reilly: I'm not sure if the 6-1 morning-line price will hold on #5 Federalist Papers in Saturday's Keertana S. at Churchill Downs, but anywhere near those odds would be tempting for a filly of her profile. Although she has something to prove based on Brisnet Speed figures, the four-year-old is on the upswing for the potent tandem of Klaravich Stables and Chad Brown. Federalist Papers comes off a handy score in a Keeneland allowance, her only opportunity so far going 1 1/2 miles on turf, in a manner suggesting this is what she's been craving. The beautifully-bred daughter of More Than Ready and a Galileo mare, from the immediate family of Mastercraftsman, appears ready to challenge a group of solid if unspectacular veterans.

Vance Hanson: Saturday's fifth race at Belmont, a one-mile maiden for fillies and mares, is scheduled for the turf, but might have to be switched depending on the weather. Regardless of surface, #6 Chaberton (6-1) is probably more capable than what she showed on debut last month at Keeneland. Stuck in post 11 after drawing in from the AE list, the Juddmonte homebred flashed positional speed and then faded while entrymate Patna won comfortably. The Brown barn is winning at an unbelievable 42% clip this meet, and is historically dangerous with second-time starters. This filly is a Kantharos half-sister to Special Duty, who won the 1000 Guineas (G1) in both England and France.

Who is the horse to fade?

JS: #7 Temple City Terror (3-1) is set for a title defense in the Keertana Overnight S. at Churchill Downs, and the one-run closer often settles for minor awards, finishing either second or third in four of her last seven appearances. Her last win came in the Keertana 12 months ago, but Temple City Terror received a favorable setup when Dalika ran off in the early stages. Look for a modest tempo up front on Saturday, and Temple City Terror's horse-for-course advantage (4-3-1-0 on old turf) no longer applies on Churchill's new turf course.

KR: #7 Asymmetric has obvious appeal in Sunday's Paradise Creek S. at Belmont Park, but I would caution against backing him blindly in his first try beyond six furlongs — especially in his stateside debut for Wesley Ward, off an eight-month layoff, as the 123-pound highweight. Indeed, Ward himself told NYRA publicity that the seven-furlong trip is a question mark, and in hindsight, maybe he shouldn't have scratched him from the 5 1/2-furlong William Walker S. Aside from the usual uncertainty about how precocious juveniles transition from two to three, and a possible pedigree scruple, Asymmetric excelled going six furlongs on speedy terrain like Newmarket's July Course and Goodwood. Over that same distance on Newmarket's stiffer Rowley track, he was only seventh in the Middle Park (G1). In contrast, Irish shipper #6 Maritime Wings has smart seven-furlong form, having chased Point Lonsdale home in a pair of Group races last season. If Paradise Creek odds had been available by our deadline, I might have made the Joseph O'Brien trainee the best bet.

VH: #10 Pioneering Spirit (3-1) adds blinkers in Saturday's eighth race at Churchill, a 1 1/16-mile maiden consisting mostly of three-year-olds. Although it's a high-percentage equipment switch for the Todd Pletcher barn, it's a move that hasn't produced a positive ROI for bettors. The son of American Pharoah will be making his eighth career start in this affair, a bit much for a horse likely to start at a short price against several others with seemingly more upside.

What else is worth noting?

JS: #3 Eleven Central (6-1) will switch to turf in Saturday's seventh race under the Twin Spires, and the frontrunning gelding is eligible to receive a favorable trip in a field lacking speed. By Into Mischief, the four-year-old gelding graduated by nearly 10 lengths when making his second start in an off-the-turf maiden last out, and he's bred to relish turf, counting Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (G1) winner Cambier Parc among three turf-winning siblings. His dam, Canadian Horse of the Year and turf champion Sealy Hill, has produced four stakes winners as well, and Eleven Central appears promising for Paulo Lobo.

KS: Saturday's Soaring Softly (G3) at Belmont Park shapes up as no easy comeback spot for #8 Haughty. While the Chad Brown trainee sports excellent form as the third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), she's never run at less than a mile. This seven-furlong event over the Widener course has attracted a few sharp types, most notably Christophe Clement's #9 Derrynane, who brings strong credentials herself. A troubled fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2), beaten only a length, Derrynane resumed with a hard-charging second in the Limestone S. at Keeneland. She split a pair of Ward runners bound for Royal Ascot, Ruthin and Her World, and the added ground should help. Ward has impressive debut winner #12 Chardy Party stepping up in class in this spot. Clement is triple-handed, with #5 Anador (third to classy French filly Rosacea in her only prior try at this trip) and new European recruit #2 Breeze Easy joining Derrynane. Add in Sweet Life (G3) heroine #11 Ouraika as an overlay from the Graham Motion barn, and Bill Mott's maiden winner #7 Wonka, a Personal Ensign descendant, and you've got a fascinating race.

VH: Can trainer Rusty Arnold continue his current hot streak at Churchill? #1 Stand Tall (6-1) is an interesting candidate for the barn in the 1 1/2-mile Keertana S. on Saturday. The daughter of Uncle Mo didn't fire in the much shorter Modesty (G3) earlier this month, but she was a longshot there and hadn't been out since mid-October, when she captured a second-level allowance at Keeneland in her only other attempt at 12 furlongs. She wasn't beaten far by a couple of these at Kentucky Downs last fall when short of fitness, but might be able to close the gap with the recent prep behind her.