Keeler Johnson's mega picks and plays of the day for Nov. 5

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November 5th, 2021

While the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar is understandably attracting the most attention, there are competitive and classy races taking place all around the country this week.

If you’d like a quick change of pace from the Breeders’ Cup, we’ve got you covered! Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson is sharing $120 worth of picks and plays for Friday, Nov. 5, at Belmont Park and Churchill Downs, plus a ticket for the $2,477 Super High 5 carryover at Golden Gate Fields.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Exacta Insurance: Receive refunds on exacta bets (up to $10) if your two selected horses finish in the first three home (but not in the winning order) at Belmont Park. Offer applies to straight exacta bets only.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Flemington (Australia).
  • Breeders’ Cup Money Back 2nd and 3rd: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in any race at Del Mar on Friday or Saturday.

Belmont Park

Race 7: Awad S. (1 1/16 miles on turf, 3:43 p.m. ET)

#6 Royal Spirit (8-5) is the morning-line favorite after finishing second against a good field in the $500,000 Nownownow S. at Monmouth Park. But Royal Spirit did capitalize on a blazing early pace while rallying from half a dozen lengths behind, and he’s never actually won a race, having finished third in his debut at Saratoga.

#2 General Ken (2-1) is an appealing alternative. The son of Violence obliterated his debut over the Delaware Park turf course, leading by daylight at every call to score by 7 1/4 lengths. Subsequently transferred to the barn of top turf trainer Chad Brown, General Ken has trained forwardly for his stakes debut and looms as the lone speed horse in the Awad field. He’ll be tough to catch if he repeats his first run.

In addition to a win bet on General Ken, we’ll capitalize on the Exacta Insurance promotion and play General Ken over Royal Spirit in a cold $10 exacta.

$20 to win on #2 General Ken
$10 Exacta: 2 with 6
Total: $30

Race 9: Tempted S. (one mile, 4:53 p.m. ET)

After breaking her maiden sprinting six furlongs at Saratoga, #8 Gerrymander (5-2) ran a game race in the one-mile Frizette S. (G1) at Belmont Park. Squaring off against Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) favorite Echo Zulu, Gerrymander pressed Echo Zulu through hot fractions before hanging on to finish second with a career-best 87 Brisnet Speed rating.

If Gerrymander repeats her Frizette effort while sticking to the same track and distance on Friday, her rivals may be running for second place. We’ll play the race accordingly, betting Gerrymander to win and keying her over Frizette fourth-place finisher #3 Magic Circle (6-1) in a cold exacta. After all, the Exacta Insurance promotion is well worth pursuing.

$20 to win on #8 Gerrymander
$10 Exacta: 8 with 3
Total: $30

Churchill Downs

Race 4: $50,000 Starter Allowance (six furlongs, 3:35 p.m. ET)

#3 Airborne Gal (7-5) is uneaten in two starts so far. After wiring her debut in a $50,000 maiden claimer sprinting seven furlongs at Saratoga, Airborne Gal traveled to Keeneland and promptly obliterated a $50,000 claimer, leading all the way to win by five lengths.

With Brisnet Speed ratings of 84 and 91 under her belt, Airborne Gal is easily fast enough to vie for victory in this $50,000 starter allowance. The daughter of Hard Spun still has upside for improvement and should be difficult to catch in Friday’s small and largely paceless field.

California shipper #4 Saving Sophie (9-2) can complete the exacta while returning to dirt off a couple of sub-par efforts on grass.

$25 to win on #3 Airborne Gal
$5 Exacta: 3 with 4
Total: $30

Race 10: Maiden Special Weight (6 1/2 furlongs, 7:23 p.m. ET)

It’s hard to knock the effort #2 Cyberknife (7-5) produced in his debut sprinting six furlongs at Churchill Downs. The son of hot young sire Gun Runner tracked a fast opening quarter mile in :21.56, then advanced to take command through a swift half mile in :44.65. Cyberknife could have tired from his early exertions, but instead, he battled on to cross the wire in front by half a length in 1:09.64.

Cyberknife was eventually disqualified to second for bumping the runner-up in upper stretch, but the fact remains Cyberknife displayed winning form and posted a strong 93 Brisnet Speed rating. He’ll drop his blinkers on Friday (a winning move 31% of the time for trainer Brad Cox) and should be very tough to beat in his second start.

#5 Classic Moment (5-1) and #9 Words of Wisdom (7-2) can battle to complete the exacta.

$20 to win on #2 Cyberknife
$5 Exacta: 2 with 5,9 ($10)
Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Golden Gate Fields, Race 1: $2,477 Super High 5 carryover (3:08 p.m. ET)

If you’re game to chase some non-jackpot carryovers this Friday, you’re advised to check out the nine-race card on tap at Golden Gate Fields. The Northern California track offers rolling $1 Super High 5 wagers throughout the card, and whenever the wager goes unclaimed, the pool carries over to the next race in which the Super High 5 is offered.

The afternoon will begin with a $2,477 Super High 5 carryover up for grabs in Race 1, and there’s a good chance other carryovers will pop up throughout the day. Last Sunday, for example, there wound up being Super High 5 carryovers available in five of the 11 races.

The Friday opener at Golden Gate is an $8,000 claimer slated to be contested over 5 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta. Just seven horses have been entered, so constructing a winning ticket should be relatively straightforward—there are only 2,520 possible outcomes.

According to stats from Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances, 44% of 5 1/2-furlong Tapeta sprints at Golden Gate are won in gate-to-wire fashion, so it’s safe to say tactical speed is an asset. This bodes well for the chances of mid-range longshot #5 Darksaber (6-1), who looms as the quickest of the speed horses in the field. The four-year-old gelding has set, pressed, or tracked three straight sub-:22 opening quarter-mile fractions over the Golden Gate Tapeta, including a :21.52 when finishing third in an $8,000 claimer two starts back.

So if Darksaber gets out in front and burns out his pace rivals, late runners should have a shot at the minor awards. A perfect candidate is #6 He Be Mojo Risin (7-2), who was last seen rallying to finish second in an $8,000 claimer at Golden Gate. This effort produced a career-best 83 Brisnet Speed rating, and He Be Mojo Risin is eligible to fire another strong effort in his second start for hot trainer Steve Sherman.

#2 Hypersonic (5-2), #4 Foster Boi (3-1), and #7 Gentleman’s Secret (5-1) are other logical contenders with varying degrees of tactical speed and tractability. We’ll use them for the middle rungs of our Super High 5 tickets before hitting the “ALL” button for fifth place.

$1 Super High 5: 5,6 with 5,6 with 2,7 with 2,4,7 with ALL ($24)
$1 Super High 5: 5,6 with 2,7 with 5,6 with 2,4,7 with ALL ($24)
Total: $48

Good luck!