Analyzing the May 28 carryovers at Belmont and Churchill Downs
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson kicks off Memorial Day weekend by analyzing a pair of Saturday carryovers at Belmont Park and Churchill Downs.
Belmont Park, Race 5: $43,524 Pick 6 carryover (3:03 p.m. ET)
The holiday weekend at Belmont Park kicks off with an enticing $43,524 carryover up for grabs in the $1 non-jackpot Pick 6. If you want to win a share, prepare for a tough challenge, because the sequence contains 69 entries (including also-eligible and main-track only entrants) before scratches.
Finding viable singles is difficult, but if you want to give it a shot, supporting a horse from the barn of four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown seems like a good strategy. Brown has been on fire at Belmont this spring, going 48-20-9-6 (42% wins, 73% in the money) so far.
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One of Brown’s strongest win contenders is #2 Highly Motivated (5-2) in Race 8, a $62,500 allowance optional claimer taking place over one mile on dirt. Highly Motivated ran below expectations in a seven-furlong sprint over this class level at Keeneland last month, rallying late from the back of the pack to finish fourth by 2 1/2 lengths.
But that effort marked Highly Motivated's first start since crossing the finish line 10th in the 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1). Highly Motivated is eligible to move forward in his second run off the layoff, a winning move 28% of the time for Brown. Highly Motivated was only beaten a neck by two-time champion Essential Quality in the 2021 Blue Grass S. (G2) and owns a trio of triple-digit Brisnet Speed ratings, so a peak effort from Highly Motivated should be good enough to win Saturday’s allowance heat.
Churchill Downs, Race 11: $2,849 Super High 5 carryover (5:58 p.m. ET)
No fewer than 11 sophomore fillies are entered in the final race on Saturday at Churchill Downs, a six-furlong allowance in which a $2,849 Super High 5 carryover is available to chase.
Looking for a horse to key on top of your tickets? #8 Ontheonesandtwos (7-2) is worth a long look. Runner-up in the Debutante S. at Churchill as a juvenile, Ontheonesandtwos went on to compete against tougher competition in the Adirondack S. (G2), Pocahontas S. (G3), and Jessamine S. (G2).
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Ontheonesandtwos recently returned from a long layoff to finish second in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance optional claimer at Churchill, beaten only 1 3/4 lengths in her first start with Lasix. She’s since breezed a bullet half-mile at Churchill in :46 2/5, and the fact trainer Norm Casse wins at a 42% rate with horses running on Lasix for the second time suggests Ontheonesandtwos will be tough in her second run of the season.