Keeler Johnson's picks and plays April 28

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

April 28th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, April 28 at Keeneland and Lone Star Park, including a quartet of exacta tickets.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Midweek Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in select races at Lone Star Park.
  • Scandinavian Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Bro Park (SWE), Solvalla (SWE), or Jagersro (SWE).
  • $15,000 Place Jackpot at Keeneland: Place at least six winning $10+ place bets at Keeneland to win your share of a daily $1,000 jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Keeneland: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (4 1/2 furlongs, 1:00 p.m. ET)

There’s a lot to like about #4 The Big Wam (7-2) in this maiden dash for juveniles. Trainer Luis Mendez has gone 1-for-4 (25%) debuting two-year-olds at Keeneland this spring, and The Big Wam is a son of Mr. Big, who sires an excellent 14% winners from first-time starters.

The Big Wam has been cranking out quick workouts at Keeneland, including a half-mile from the starting gate in :47 2/5 and a bullet three furlongs from the gate in :34 3/5. All signs suggest The Big Wam has a legitimate chance to upset morning line favorites #5 Ashcroft (5-2) and #7 No Nay Hudson (9-5).

  • $20 to win on #4 The Big Wam
  • $5 Exacta: 4 with 5,7 ($10)
    Total: $30

Keeneland: Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs on turf, 1:32 p.m. ET)

#10 Wico (5-2) brings a promising profile to the table for hot trainer Wesley Ward, who wins at a 29% rate with first-time starters. Sire No Nay Never won his two-year-old debut during the spring at Keeneland before going on to win at the Grade 1 level, while dam Mundus Novus has already foaled a pair of turf stakes winners, including an early-maturing juvenile.

Wico sold for $440,000 as a yearling and has shown speed in the mornings, most notably breezing a bullet three furlongs from the Keeneland starting gate in :35 3/5. Three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz has won at a 31% rate when teaming up with Ward over the last two months, so let’s bet Wico to win and key him over stablemate #11 Uncle Headley (4-1) in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #10 Wico
  • $5 Exacta: 10 with 11
    Total: $25

Lone Star Park: Race 1: Bluebonnet S. (6 1/2 furlongs, 7:35 p.m. ET)

#4 Shes Our Fastest (12-1) hasn’t been in the strongest form lately, but perhaps returning to Lone Star Park can trigger a turnaround. She boasts a flashy 7-4-2-0 record over the Lone Star main track, highlighted by an eight-length romp in the 2021 Bluebonnet.

Thanks to the Midweek Bet Back promotion, we can place a $10 win bet on Shes Our Fastest and receive a refund if she settles for second place. We’ll also play her in the exacta with logical favorites #6 Lady Ave (2-1) and #7 Ima Discreet Lady (9-5).

  • $10 to win on #4 Shes Our Fastest
  • $2 Exacta: 4 with 6,7 ($4)
  • $3 Exacta: 6,7 with 4 ($6)
    Total: $20

Good luck!