Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Aug. 4

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

August 4th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $60 worth of picks and plays for Thursday, Aug. 4 at Delaware Park and Saratoga, including a trio of exactas.

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 3: $16,000 Maiden Claiming (five furlongs, 1:30 p.m. ET)

Trainer Brittany Russell has gone 3-for-5 (60%) debuting juveniles at Delaware Park since 2017, which bodes well for the chances of #8 Coal Mine (5-2). Russell wins at a lofty 30% rate with horses debuting in maiden claimers, and Coal Mine has put together an encouraging work tab in preparation for her first start, including a bullet five furlongs from the Delaware starting gate in :48.

#3 Race N Return (8-1) is another win threat. Trainer Andrew Simoff has gone 7-for-17 (41%) debuting juveniles at Delaware since 2017, and hot jockey Jaime Rodriguez (a 26% winner at Delaware this meet) is named to ride.

Let’s box Coal Mine and Race N Return in the exacta.

  • $10 Exacta box: 3,8 ($20)

Saratoga: Race 8: Alydar S. (1 1/8 miles, 5:05 p.m. ET)

#5 Art Collector (7-5) won the 2021 Alydar to kick off a three-race win streak culminating with a score in the Woodward S. (G1). Art Collector failed to fire in his 2022 debut, finishing 12th in the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) back in February, but he’s been freshened since then and enters the Alydar off sharp workouts.

There isn’t much speed in the Alydar field, so Art Collector—who does his best work setting or tracking the pace—figures to secure a favorable trip on the front end. 2021 Ohio Derby (G3) winner #6 Masqueparade (3-1), who also has speed, can chase home Art Collector for second place.

  • $20 Exacta: 5 with 6

Saratoga: Race 9: $80,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (one mile on turf, 5:39 p.m. ET)

#2 Atone (5-2) has been competing with aplomb against graded stakes competition. His last five starts have produced a second-place effort in the Ft. Lauderdale S. (G2), fourth-place finishes in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) and Maker’s Mark Mile (G1), a third-place effort in the Dinner Party S. (G2), and a runner-up finish in the Forbidden Apple S. (G3).

Dropping into the allowance ranks might be all Atone needs to visit the winner’s circle. He actually nabbed a one-mile allowance at Saratoga last summer, showing an affinity for this course.

Thanks to the Saratoga Bet Back promotion, we can place a $10 win bet on Atone and receive a refund if he settles for second place. We’ll also play him on top in the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #2 Atone
  • $5 Exacta: 2 with 1,9 ($10)
    Total: $20

Good luck!