Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Aug. 9

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August 9th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Tuesday, Aug. 9 at Colonial Downs and Presque Isle Downs, along with thoughts on Colonial’s $82,227 Pick 5 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Trifecta Tuesday: Receive a 15% bonus on trifecta winnings (excluding stake amount; up to $25 per day) on every Tuesday from Aug. 2 through Oct. 4.

Picks and Plays

Presque Isle Downs: Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta, 2:24 p.m. ET)

#2 Dontinvademyspace (3-1) has shown steady improvement in three starts at Presque Isle, most recently finishing second in a five-furlong sprint over this class level. Hot jockey Antonio Gallardo has been winning at a 31% rate when teaming up with trainer Gerald Brooks, stamping Dontinvademyspace as a logical contender for victory.

#4 Colonel Poppy (4-1) and #7 Dawgmentality (5-2) are obvious choices to complete the exacta and trifecta. We’ll play the latter ticket in order to capitalize on the Trifecta Tuesday promotion.

  • $10 Exacta: 2 with 4,7 ($20)
  • $5 Trifecta: 2 with 4,7 with 4,7 ($10)
    Total: $30

Colonial Downs: Race 5: Hickory Tree S. (five furlongs on Tapeta, 3:37 p.m. ET)

#6 Bandits Heart (12-1) might be a first-time starter debuting in stakes company, but there are several reasons to like his chances. For starters, hot trainer John Robb wins at a 22% rate with first-time starters and has prevailed with his lone starter so far at Colonial Downs this meet. For another, hot jockey Xavier Perez (a 29% winner teaming up with Robb over the last two months) is named to ride.

Bandits Heart enters off a quick five-furlong workout at Laurel and is bred to win from an early age, considering his half-sister Anna’s Bandit (an 11-time stakes winner) won her debut and placed in multiple stakes as a juvenile. We’ll take a shot betting Bandits Heart to win and playing him on top in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #6 Bandits Heart
  • $5 Exacta: 6 with 4,5 ($10)
    Total: $30

Colonial Downs: Race 7: Keswick S. (five furlongs, 4:33 p.m. ET)

#4 Cocktail Dreaming (7-2) finished second and third in her first two starts sprinting 4 1/2 furlongs before stretching out to win a five-furlong maiden special weight at Laurel Park with an 83 Brisnet Speed rating.

Cocktail Dreaming is adding Lasix (a 20% winning move for trainer John Robb) and is easily the fastest filly on paper, so we’ll bet her to win and key her over stablemate #3 Genieinabridle (8-1) and recent Colonial Downs maiden winner #9 Naval Empire (3-1) in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #4 Cocktail Dreaming
  • $10 Exacta: 4 with 3,9 ($20)
    Total: $40

Carryover Watch

Colonial Downs, Race 6: $82,227 Pick 5 carryover (4:05 p.m. ET)

Colonial Downs doesn’t toss up carryovers every day, but Tuesday’s card has a big prize pool on tap. The 50-cent Pick 5 (which features a 12% takeout rate) features an enticing $82,227 non-jackpot carryover.

The sequence gets underway in Race 6, a $16,000 maiden claimer for fillies and mares racing 1 1/16 miles over the inner turf course. It’s a tough race to handicap because 14 horses have been entered, and one of the best—#14 Beastie Girl (4-1), runner-up in a $25,000 maiden claimer over this course and distance last month—is marooned in post 14. Inside posts have been favorable over this configuration during the current meet, so perhaps #3 Wi Fi (8-1)—who finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Beastie Girl when fourth in the above-mentioned $25,000 maiden claimer—can turn the tables with a ground-saving trip.

Race 7 is the Keswick S., in which we’ve already highlighted Cocktail Dreaming as a key win threat. Naval Empire is also worth including for Pick 5 purposes.

The middle leg of the sequence is Race 8, a $20,000 starter allowance taking place over one mile on the inner turf course. It’s a tricky race to analyze because morning line favorite #6 Medicine Tail (5-2) has never run on grass. On the bright side, Medicine Tail dominated a $20,000 claimer over the Churchill Downs dirt two starts back and has cracked the trifecta in two of his three runs on synthetic, so he’s shown some class and surface versatility.

One longshot worth considering in Race 8 is #4 Clint Maroon (10-1), who was beaten just 3 3/4 lengths after tracking the pace in a $50,000 allowance optional claimer sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs over the Colonial Downs turf last time out. That effort marked Clint Maroon’s 2022 debut, so if he steps forward while stretching out in his second run of the season, this veteran stakes winner can spring a pacesetting surprise.

There are a few different ways to go about handicapping Race 9, a $10,000 claimer taking place over 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf. The best approach might be to favor #5 Smile Bryan (4-1), who employed tracking tactics to win over this course and distance on July 11. But the speedy #8 Packed House (7-2) also warrants respect after wiring a $10,000 claimer racing one mile over the Hawthorne turf course by 7 1/4 lengths, earning a flashy 88 Brisnet Speed rating.

The Pick 5 concludes in Race 10, a $10,000 claimer for non-winners of three races. #2 Power Through (9-2) wired a $10,000 claimer for non-winners of two races over this course and class level last month and looks ready to win right back for the hot jockey/trainer duo of Jareth Loveberry and Chris Block, who have teamed up to win at a 35% rate over the last two months. There isn’t much speed in this large field, so Power Through should have every opportunity to shake loose from stretch-running stablemate #11 Andthethunderrolls (7-2) and prevail as a nice-priced single.

Good luck!