Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for July 13
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $50 worth of picks and plays for Tuesday, July 13 at Presque Isle Downs, along with thoughts on horses of note in Canterbury Park’s low-takeout $2,641 Pick 6 carryover.
Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:
- Midweek Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Presque Isle Downs.
- $5K Pick 4 Hit & Split at Assiniboia Downs: Hit the Pick 4 at Assiniboia Downs on any day from July 12-14 to split a $1,000 daily jackpot. Hit the Pick 4 on all three days to split an additional $2,000 jackpot.
Picks and plays
There is barely an ounce of speed entered in this maiden claimer for fillies and mares.
The only runner who has shown any remotely recent interest in setting the pace is #2 Moms Love (9-5), who pressed or tracked the pace in her last three starts at Presque Isle Downs last season.
Moms Love hasn’t displayed the same level of tactical speed against $16,000 maiden claiming company over the Tampa Bay Downs turf course this year, but she has been freshened since March and is eligible to show improved early foot on her return to Tapeta.
She has been training fast since her return to Presque Isle, where she clocked a half-mile in :47 on June 25 and five furlongs in :59 1/5 on July 2.
Jockey Ronald Allen and trainer Maria Bowersock have won at a 48% rate together over the last two months, so let’s make Moms Love the focus of our win bet. We’ll also play her over first-time starter #6 Audrina’s City (8-1) in a small exacta.
$10 to win on #2 Moms Love
$5 exacta: 2 with 6
#2 Anotherworldinside (9-5) is a logical favorite, after she finished second in her debut, a five-furlong sprint at Churchill Downs. But the switch from dirt to Tapeta is a question mark, so I’m tempted to oppose the favorite with #3 Royal Engagement (4-1).
An unraced daughter of Belmont S. (G1) winner Palace Malice, Royal Engagement has trained up a storm for trainer Timothy Hamm, who has a 6-1-1 record from nine starts at the meet. After she turned in multiple bullet workouts at Palm Meadows (including five furlongs from the starting gate in :59 4/5), Royal Engagement shipped to Presque Isle and promptly breezed a half-mile from the gate in :47 3/5.
In addition to our win bet, we’ll play Royal Engagement over Anotherworldinside in a straight exacta.
$10 to win on #3 Royal Engagement
$10 exacta: 3 with 2
#4 Woodbine Way (2-1) is the logical favorite, as she has cracked the trifecta in four of her last five starts for trainer Ron Potts. But the daughter of Tourist has campaigned primarily over five furlongs and faltered to finish fifth in her lone start at a longer trip, so Tuesday’s six-furlong distance is a question mark.
No such concerns surround #1 Classy Halo (5-2), who finished second by a head in a one-mile event at this track and class level last time out. The daughter of Snapy Halo hasn’t run since October, but trainer Kim Schneider wins at an 18% rate with horses who return from layoffs of 90 days or more, so I’m optimistic we’ll see Classy Halo fire a big shot off the break.
Classy Halo hasn’t missed the trifecta in her last six starts at Presque Isle, including a trio of six-furlong sprints. If Woodbine Way falters down the lane, Classy Halo can pick up the pieces.
$10 to win on #1 Classy Halo
$5 exacta: 1 with 4
It’s always nice to see Canterbury Park’s non-jackpot Pick 6 produce a carryover. The $1 wager offers a 10% takeout rate, and Tuesday’s sequence brings the added bonus of a $1,482 carryover.
Planning to play along? We’ve identified a handful of noteworthy runners to get you started.
Best single: Race 3, #5 Love the Nest (2-1)
Since 2016, trainer Joel Berndt has compiled a stellar 8-5-7 record from 26 starts with debuting juveniles on dirt at Canterbury Park, which equates to a 31% win rate and a 77% in-the-money rate. With that in mind, it’s hard to look past Berndt’s two-year-old colt Love the Nest in this 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight for Minnesota-bred juveniles.
Love the Nest is a son of Blame (who sires 13% debut winners), out of Congrats and Roses, whose first two foals (Jobim and Defend the Rose) won their juvenile debuts at Canterbury.
That is a pedigree geared toward early success, and Love the Nest has already shown some speed in the mornings, with a pair of bullet workouts at Canterbury. Throw in the presence of jockey Ry Eikleberry (a 20% winner when he teams with Berndt), and Love the Nest looks like a deserving single.
Vulnerable favorite: Race 2, Royal Privacy (9-5)
At first glance, Royal Privacy seems like a logical choice to win this $10,000 starter/optional claimer at five furlongs on the turf course. The eight-year-old gelding has won his last two starts at this course, distance, and class level, and most recently rallied to a half-length win June 8.
But on that occasion, Royal Privacy benefited from blazing fractions (:21.06 and :43.07) set by #2 College Party (5-2), who is back for another try. When allowed to set somewhat more reasonable splits (:21.70 and :44.31) in an identical race May 26, College Party led all the way to score a determined victory.
There isn’t a ton of speed entered in Tuesday’s test, so if College Party shakes loose on an easy lead, he can turn the tables on Royal Privacy and spring a mild upset.