Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Dec. 1
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, Dec. 1 at Fair Grounds and Turfway Park, including horses to single in the $10,577 Pick 5 carryover at Fair Grounds.
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Picks and Plays
Fair Grounds: Race 1: $30,000 Claiming (1 1/16 miles, 2:15 p.m. ET)
#3 Keepcalmcarryon (9-5) is shipping south from the Kentucky circuit, where he won a $40,000 claimer racing 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland two starts back. With four straight Brisnet Speed ratings in the 79-86 range under his belt, Keepcalmcarryon is the fastest horse on paper in this $30,000 claimer and should be tough to hold off down the homestretch.
#5 Creme de Bali (5-1) has the tactical speed to work out a favorable trip in this small and paceless field, while stretch-running #1 Solid Country Gold (5-2) hasn’t missed the trifecta in his last six starts and is a logical choice to crack the top three.
- #3 Keepcalmcarryon (9-5)
- #5 Creme de Bali (5-1)
- #1 Solid Country Gold (5-2)
Fair Grounds: Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (one mile and 70 yards, 5:15 p.m. ET)
#7 Mo Bills (7-2) showed promise in her debut over this track and distance at Delaware Park, carving out the pace before weakening to finish second. The daughter of Uncle Mo subsequently switched to turf for a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Delaware, in which she pressed and tracked the pace before battling on to finish third by less than one length.
Trainer Michael Stidham is off to a hot start at Fair Grounds this meet, going 3-for-7 (43%), and Mo Bills is adding Lasix for her return to dirt. Throw in the fact Stidham has gone 10-for-38 (26%) saddling experienced juveniles at Fair Grounds since 2020, and Mo Bills is worth betting to win and keying on top in the exacta.
- #7 Mo Bills (7-2)
- #1 The Alys Look (3-1)
- #1A Kate’s Concerto (3-1)
- #2 Peterpam (15-1)
- $20 win: #7 Mo Bills
- $7 Exacta: 7 with 1
- $3 Exacta: 7 with 2
Turfway Park: Race 4: $30,000 Claiming (six furlongs on Tapeta, 7:25 p.m. ET)
In December 2021, trainer Susan Anderson compiled an excellent 5-for-17 (29%) record at Turfway Park. Anderson’s runners were ready to roll when Turfway opened for racing, so we’ll see if Anderson can get off to a similarly hot start in December 2022 with #4 Winward Flo (10-1).
Winward Flo won two of her four starts at Turfway last winter, including a 6 1/2-furlong allowance in which she defeated next-out winner Sister Annie with a career-best 84 Brisnet Speed rating. Winward Flo hasn’t run since April, but her affinity for the Turfway Tapeta should serve her well on Thursday.
Golden Gate Debutante S. winner #5 Mimajoon (7-2) and recent Churchill Downs $20,000 claiming winner #1 Fantail (9-5) are logical choices to complete the exacta.
- #4 Winward Flo (10-1)
- #5 Mimajoon (7-2)
- #1 Fantail (9-5)
- $20 win: #4 Winward Flo
- $5 Exacta: 4 with 1, 5 ($10)
Fair Grounds, Race 4: $10,577 Pick 5 carryover (3:45 p.m. ET)
The racing week at Fair Grounds kicks off with a five-figure, non-jackpot carryover up for grabs in the 50-cent Late Pick 5. To be precise, the prize pool is $10,577.
Planning to play along? We’ve analyzed the entries and identified a pair of possible singles to get you started:
Race 4: $5,000 Claiming (six furlongs): #1 India Ink (5-2)
Indiana shipper India Ink seems like a perfect fit in this $5,000 claimer for horses who have never won three races. Three starts back, India Ink led all the way to trounce a $12,500 claimer for non-winners of two races by 5 1/2 lengths, earning a flashy 85 Brisnet Speed rating.
India Ink subsequently faltered when switching to turf for an allowance, finishing sixth, and he faded again after dueling for the lead in a $12,500 claimer for non-winners of three races. But dropping down to the $5,000 level at Fair Grounds can send India Ink to the winner’s circle in his first start for trainer Jose Camejo, who strikes at a 31% rate with horses competing for the first time under his care.
Throw in hot jockey Jose Rodriguez (a 27% winner teaming up with Camejo over the last two months), and India Ink looms as a viable single.
Race 5: $20,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (six furlongs): #3 G’s Squeeze (9-5)
G’s Squeeze hasn’t run since August, when she ran into early traffic trouble in the Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint S. at Louisiana Downs and finished last of 11. But she’ll have every chance to rebound while dropping in class.
Prior to her uncharacteristic misfire, G’s Squeeze had cracked the exacta in 10 consecutive starts, winning five times. During the spring at Evangeline Downs, she dominated a race over Thursday’s class level by 5 1/2 lengths.
G’s Squeeze also won an allowance at Fair Grounds last year, cruising by 6 3/4 lengths with a flashy 87 Brisnet Speed rating. Trainer Ron Faucheux wins at a 24% rate with horses returning from layoffs of 90 days or more, so with hot jockey Reylu Gutierrez (a 26% winner at Fair Grounds this meet) in the saddle, G’s Squeeze is a deserving favorite and a logical single.