Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Aug. 18

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August 18th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, Aug. 18 at Del Mar, Horseshoe Indianapolis, and Saratoga, including a win bet capitalizing on the Saratoga Bet Back promotion.

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.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in eligible races at York (England).

Picks and Plays

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs on turf, 3:11 p.m. ET)

Since 2020, trainer Brendan Walsh has compiled an excellent 4-for-9 (44%) record debuting juveniles at Horseshoe Indianapolis. That includes a 2-for-5 (40%) record on turf, and these stats indicate Walsh’s Godolphin homebred #3 Dreams of You (7-2) has a chance to factor on debut.

A daughter of accomplished sire More Than Ready (who has sired a bevy of Breeders’ Cup winners on grass), Dreams of You had put together a solid work tab in Kentucky and will be ridden by hot jockey Vincent Cheminaud. We’ll bet Dreams of You to win and key her over logical favorite #2 Mornin’ Boss (5-2) in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #3 Dreams of You
  • $10 Exacta: 3 with 2
    Total: $30

Saratoga: Race 9: New York Stallion Series S. (one mile on turf, 5:39 p.m. ET)

#6 Busy Morning (2-1) looked like a potentially special filly when breaking her maiden in dominant fashion sprinting six furlongs at Belmont Park. The daughter of accomplished turf router War Dancer tracked fractions of :21.42 and :44.27 before taking command to win by six lengths in 1:07.73.

If Busy Morning handles stretching out over one mile (and she did finish a close third in her debut over this distance), she can beat multiple stakes winner #4 Dream Central (5-2) to the Saratoga winner’s circle.

Taking advantage of the Saratoga Bet Back promotion, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Busy Morning. Then we’ll key her over Dream Central in a cold exacta.

  • $10 to win on #6 Busy Morning
  • $10 Exacta: 6 with 4
    Total: $20

Del Mar: Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs on turf, 6:03 p.m. ET)

#4 Offlee Icy (5-2) ran gamely in his debut sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs over this class level at Santa Anita last month, pressing the pace before weakening slightly to finish fourth by one length. Trainer John Sadler wins at a 21% rate with second-time starters, so don’t be surprised if Offlee Icy moves forward while cutting back in distance for his second run.

The consistent #3 Orth (4-1) and the first-time starter #8 Rafikki (5-1) can battle to complete the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #4 Offlee Icy
  • $5 Exacta: 4 with 3,8 ($10)
    Total: $30

Good luck!