Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for April 20
The second is the Build Your Indiana Derby Day Bankroll promotion. Bet at least $1,000 (show bets excluded) at Indiana Grand in April, May, or June to receive $30 to wager on Indiana Derby Day (July 7) at Indiana Grand. Bet at least $1,000 in all three months, and you’ll receive $150.
The morning after a great opening day where handle was up nearly 30%, with one fewer race, over the comparable day in 2019. The @IGRaceCourse team did amazing things yesterday. Very proud of all of them. Going to be an outstanding season. @RacingRachelM @billdownes1 @IGTammy pic.twitter.com/CcgIORl5O3— Eric Halstrom (@ericahalstrom) April 14, 2021
Picks and plays
One horse stands out in this allowance sprint for three-year-old fillies.
#7 Patty H (3-5) looms as the logical favorite off a start at Gulfstream Park, where she led all the way to win a starter/optional claiming race March 26.
Patty H has plenty of tactical speed and owns the two highest Brisnet Speed ratings in Tuesday’s field, which suggests she’ll be tough to catch in her Indiana Grand debut. Trainer Brad Cox has 177 wins from 580 starts (31%) at this track since 2016, and jockey Fernando De La Cruz has five wins from 12 starts (42%) for Cox over the last two months, so it’s hard to knock Patty H from a connections standpoint. She’ll be tough to beat at a short price.
#3 Shades of Truth (5-2), a runner-up against allowance company at Fair Grounds last month, is clearly the second-fastest filly on the Brisnet Speed rating scale and can round out a cold exacta.
$30 exacta: 7 with 3
#7 April’s No Fool (7-5) looks tough to beat in this allowance for Indiana-breds who have never won three races. Last fall, the daughter of Lentenor was a dominant winner of an Indiana Grand allowance for non-winners of two races, when she rallied strongly to win by 4 1/4 lengths.
April’s No Fool spent the winter at Fair Grounds, where she finished second in an allowance March 13. That effort produced a career-best 79 Brisnet Speed rating, and a return to the state-bred ranks should make her dangerous for high-percentage trainer Jerome Miller.
In a race without a ton of speed, #1 Aiken to Be Takin (9-2) and #9 Sydney’s Treasure (5-1) can secure forward positions and battle for second place. We’ll use them both in exacta and trifecta tickets, after we place a $10 win bet on April’s No Fool to take advantage of the Midweek Bet Back promotion.
$10 to win on #7 April’s No Fool
$5 exacta: 7 with 1,9 ($10)
$2.50 trifecta: 7 with 1,9 with 1,8,9 ($10)
This low-level claimer for Oklahoma-breds didn’t draw the toughest field, so we’ll place our money on #2 Jeano (5-2), the only runner who has cracked the trifecta in more than one race. The three-year-old gelding has finished second twice against tougher company at Remington Park, including in a maiden special weight for Oklahoma-breds Dec. 18.
Jeano has some tactical speed and figures to secure a forward position in his return to the maiden claiming ranks. He’ll be tough to catch if he breaks alertly and brings his "A" game in this five-furlong dash, so we’ll make Jeano the focus of our $10 win bet to capitalize on the Midweek Bet Back offer.
The first-time starters #1 Shannon’s Quest (5-1) and #3 Charlie Mo (3-1) don’t have to be superstars to vie for a spot in the exacta.
$10 to win on #2 Jeano
$5 exacta: 2 with 1,3 ($10)
The Straight Fire Pick 6 begins each day in Race 3, which on Tuesday is a $10,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares.
#3 Toleration (7-5) brings sharp Brisnet Speed ratings to the mix and looms as a heavy favorite on the drop from $25,000 to $10,000 claiming company. But is she unstoppable? Not necessarily. Toleration has only run once in the last 1 1/2 years, when she finished sixth in a one-mile turf event at Gulfstream Park in June. She also finished last in her lone start on dirt, so the transition to the main track at Indiana Grand is a question mark.
I’m tempted to oppose Toleration with horses who offer better prices. #1 Henrys Girl (5-1) has been performing well against slightly easier competition at Hawthorne, #4 Plexus (4-1) won a $16,000 maiden claiming race at Indiana Grand last summer, and #6 Miss Over There (9-2) has shipped in from Gulfstream to make her first start for high-percentage trainer Edwin Vizcarrondo.
Race 4, a $5,000 claiming sprint, is also competitive. #1 Deceitful Anthony (3-1), #4 Uncle Gregory (5-2), #6 Cabot Trail (6-1), and #8 Passageway (7-2) have all put up encouraging form lines against tougher company, and we may have to use all four to survive.
The first two legs are challenging to decipher, but the middle legs of the Straight Fire Pick 6 appear easier to manage.
In Race 5, a $25,000 claiming event, #3 Clear Steps (1-1) is the logical favorite, after she hit the board in a pair of $30,000 claiming events at Oaklawn Park. The daughter of Shackleford has ample early speed and should be tough to catch for trainer Genaro Garcia, a 21% winner in claiming races.
Race 6 should go to #7 Patty H (3-5), and #7 April’s No Fool (7-5) ought to get the job done in Race 7.
This just leaves Race 8, a maiden special weight for Indiana-breds that features five first-time starters among a dozen runners. We’re going to hit the “ALL” button and hope for a longshot to end the Pick 6.
20-cent Straight Fire Pick 6: 1,4,6 with 1,4,6,8 with 3 with 7 with 7 with ALL ($28.80)