Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Aug. 11

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August 11th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, Aug. 11 at Delaware Park, Horseshoe Indianapolis, and Saratoga, including a pair of trifectas.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Saratoga Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in select races at Saratoga.
  • $1,000 Hoosier Park Pick 4 Hit It and Split It: Hit the early Pick 4 at Hoosier Park on any Thursday from July 14 through Sept. 15 to win your share of a $1,000 weekly jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Delaware Park: Race 2: $40,000 Maiden Optional Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 1 p.m. ET)

#1 Lady Lancer (9-2) ran into a deep field when finishing a distant fifth in her debut sprinting five furlongs against maiden special weight company at Monmouth Park. But in her second try under identical conditions, Lady Lancer carved out the pace before weakening down the lane to finish fourth by 4 1/4 lengths.

Dropping down into the maiden optional claiming ranks might be all Lady Lancer needs to step forward with a winning performance. Let’s key her over #2 Creative Cadence (2-1) and #6 My True Passion (7-2) in the exacta and trifecta.

  • $9 Exacta: 1 with 2,6 ($18)
  • $3 Trifecta: 1 with 2,6 with 2,6,8 ($12)
    Total: $30

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (one mile and 70 yards, 2:10 p.m. ET)

#2 Sunday Breeze (2-1) didn’t get off to the quickest start in his debut sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs, but the Cherie DeVaux trainee rallied late to finish fourth with a respectable 78 Brisnet Speed rating.

Sunday Breeze figures to encounter easier competition at Horseshoe Indianapolis, where DeVaux has compiled a stellar 6-3-1-1 (50%) record this year. Stretching out in distance may also help the son of Cigar Mile H. (G1) winner Connect.

#6 Gaon Flag (3-1) and #7 Kingmaker (7-2) are logical choices for the minor awards.

  • $10 Exacta: 2 with 6,7 ($20)
  • $5 Trifecta: 2 with 6,7 with 6,7 ($10)
    Total: $30

Saratoga: Race 9: Galway S. (5 1/2 furlongs on turf, 5:39 p.m. ET)

#1 Poppy Flower (5-1) produced a giant rally after a slow start to finish second in the Coronation Cup S. over this course and distance last month. The Bill Mott trainee gained three lengths in the final furlong alone to fall just half a length short of catching the undefeated #7 Empress Tigress (5-2).

Given the small margin separating Poppy Flower and Empress Tigress in the Coronation Cup, the fact Poppy Flower offers twice the price on the Galway morning line is enticing. If her 5-1 odds hold up, Poppy Flower is worth betting to turn the tables on Empress Tigress.

Taking advantage of the Saratoga Bet Back promotion, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Poppy Flower. Then we’ll key her over Empress Tigress in a cold exacta.

  • $10 to win on #1 Poppy Flower
  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 7
    Total: $20

Good luck!