Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for July 14

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

July 14th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, July 14 at Indiana Grand and Thistledown, along with a pair of singles for Canterbury Park’s $5,950 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 select races at Indiana Grand and Thistledown.
  • $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.
  • Canterbury Park All-Stakes Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in any Thoroughbred stakes race (Races 2, 5, 6, and 7) at Canterbury Park.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Happy Valley (Hong Kong).

Picks and plays

Indiana Grand, Race 7: Snack S. (one mile on turf, 5:31 p.m. ET)

#1 Troubled Justice (5-2) was an eye-catching debut winner over this course and distance last month.

Overlooked at 13-1 in a maiden special weight, Troubled Justice dropped far off the pace through slow splits of :24.70, :50.32, and 1:15.90, then overcame traffic to rally powerfully and score by 1 1/2 lengths. He was the only stretch runner to make an impact down the lane, as the three pacesetters rounded out the superfecta.

Trainer Aaron West has been hot at Indiana Grand this meet, with a 25% win rate, and his success rate in ungraded stakes stands at 22%. If Troubled Justice repeats his maiden effort — or improves at all — he can make his stakes debut a winning one.

Capitalizing on the Midweek Bet Back promotion, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Troubled Justice, then play the three-year-old gelding over #8 Book of Romeo (8-1) in a small exacta.

$10 to win on #1 Troubled Justitce
$5 exacta: 1 with 8
Total: $15

Indiana Grand, Race 8: Ellen’s Lucky Star S. (one mile on turf, 6:02 p.m. ET)

#10 Mizzen Ash (5-2) has unleashed strong late rallies to win two of her three starts over the Indiana Grand turf course this season.

Her lone defeat came in a one-mile allowance two starts back, in which she closed gamely from behind snail-like fractions (:25.47, :51.66, and 1:16.50) to finish just 1 3/4 lengths behind pacesetters #6 Voodoo Justice (8-1) and #9 Tuckyourtaleandrun (12-1).

There appears to be more speed entered in Wednesday’s test, which sets the stage for Mizzen Ash to turn the tables. With Indiana Grand’s leading jockey Marcelino Pedroza aboard, Mizzen Ash is an appealing choice.

For the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Mizzen Ash. We’ll also add a small exacta, with Tuckyourtaleandrun in the second spot.

$10 to win on #10 Mizzen Ash
$5 exacta: 10 with 9
Total: $15

Thistledown, Race 2: Allowance (six furlongs, 1:20 p.m. ET)

#2 Released (5-1) is technically a claimer who will step up against allowance company. But the five-year-old gelding has also shipped to an easier circuit.

Released has competed with aplomb against $10,000 claiming company at Churchill Downs, where he placed in a pair of sprints during the spring, then faded in a one-mile event June 25.

The cut back to six furlongs should help Released bounce back to peak form. The son of Regal Ransom brings competitive Brisnet Speed ratings, and he might even take a step forward in his first start for trainer Shane Meyers, a 26% winner with new claiming acquisitions.

Any way you slice it, Released looks like a fair bet at 5-1. 

To take advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win wager on Released, then play him over #4 Always Special (5-2), #5 Ready My Way (3-1), and #7 The Falcon (4-1) on exacta and trifecta tickets.

$10 to win on #2 Released
$3 exacta: 2 with 4,5,7 ($9)
$1 trifecta: 2 with 4,5,7 with 4,5,7 ($6)
Total: $25

Carryover watch

Canterbury Park, Race 3: $5,950 Pick 6 carryover (6:40 p.m. ET)

Canterbury Park’s non-jackpot, $1 Pick 6 has accumulated a double carryover of $5,950 just in time for Wednesday’s action-packed card, which features four stakes for Minnesota-bred Thoroughbreds and one for Minnesota-bred Quarter Horses.

Throw in the 10% takeout rate, and you won’t find a more value-oriented carryover to chase Wednesday. With this in mind, we’ve gone through the sequence and identified a pair of viable singles to build a ticket around.

We also recommend placing $10 win bets on these runners, to capitalize on the Canterbury Park All-Stakes Bet Back promotion.

Race 5, Victor S. Myers S.: #7 Thealligatorhunter (8-5)

Flashy debut winner #4 Bayou Benny (9-5) is going to be a popular play in this six-furlong dash for three-year-olds, but I prefer the more experienced Thealligatorhunter, who has run slightly faster on the Brisnet Speed rating scale. Thealligatorhunter has three wins from four starts at Canterbury Park, including a pair of blowout allowance wins this season.

Thealligatorhunter has tactical speed and broke his maiden at Canterbury in gate-to-wire fashion, but he is far from a need-the-lead type and is comfortable off the pace. With longshot #1 Magician’s Holiday (8-1) likely to engage Bayou Benny in the battle for early supremacy, Thealligatorhunter can settle off the duel from his outside draw and rally to victory down the lane.

Race 6, Ralph Strangis S.: #4 Cinco Star (5-2)

The speedy Cinco Star hasn’t missed the exacta in four starts on turf, including a narrow victory in the 2020 Ralph Strangis. A speed horse who typically sets, presses, or stalks the pace, Cinco Star has hit the board in 23 of his 24 starts, which stamps the six-year-old gelding as a reliable picture of consistency.

Cinco Star is in fine form and finished second by a neck against opening company in the Mystic Lake Mile at Canterbury last month. The drop to the Minnesota-bred ranks can send the McLean Robertson trainee to the winner’s circle at a short price.

Good luck!