Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for July 19
Editor's note: Yesterday's article indicated there would be a mandatory payout at Pleasanton when it will actually carry over to Golden Gate as the next track of the California State Fair meet. We apologize for the mistake and will more carefully review for future publications.
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $100 worth of picks and plays for Monday, July 19 at Colonial Downs, Indiana Grand, and Presque Isle Downs, along with horses of note in Presque Isle’s $1,957 Pick 6 carryover.
Picks and plays
In 2020, trainer Michael Stidham had two wins from three starts with debut juveniles at Colonial Downs, which suggests Stidham’s two-year-old filly #5 Rambert (5-1) can outrun her morning-line odds Monday.
A well-bred daughter of Declaration of War, out of a Malibu Moon mare, Rambert sold for just $50,000 as a yearling, but she has been training forwardly in preparation for her debut. The chestnut filly has posted eight timed workouts at Fair Hill since the middle of May, including a couple of bullet half-miles in :48 flat.
We’ll place a hefty win bet on Rambert, then bet her on top of a straight exacta, with #6 Clouds of White (8-1) for second place. Clouds of White didn’t get the best trip when she finished fifth in her debut for a $40,000 claiming tag at Pimlico, but she gained a ton of ground in the stretch and is eligible to improve on the switch from dirt to turf.
$25 to win on #5 Rambert
$5 exacta: 5 with 6
There is hardly any speed entered in this low-level maiden claimer for Indiana-breds, so we’ll take a shot with #5 Run Rudy Run (5-1).
The three-year-old gelding shook loose on an uncontested lead over this track, distance, and class level two starts back, when he carved out a pedestrian pace and weakened late to finish second by just 1 1/4 lengths.
Run Rudy Run should get another easy lead Monday, which sets the stage for a competitive effort at fair odds. We’ll bet Run Rudy Run to win and play him over #1 Rhett Thomas (3-5) and #3 Punctuation (8-1) in the exacta.
$20 to win on #5 Run Rudy Run
$5 exacta: 5 with 1,3 ($10)
#2 Jean V’s Legacy (8-5) has shipped in from Florida, where she has placed a couple of times against maiden special weight and maiden claiming company on turf. Two starts back, she was runner-up in a one-mile event at Tampa Bay Downs, beaten just 1 3/4 lengths by next-out allowance winner Drapes.
I’m optimistic Jean V’s Legacy will produce a winning effort at Presque Isle. Sire Animal Kingdom was a versatile Kentucky Derby (G1) winner, who won the Dubai World Cup (G1) on Tapeta, so the switch from turf to synthetic shouldn’t be an issue for Jean V’s Legacy.
Trainer Timothy Hamm has been hot at Presque Isle, with eight wins from 13 starts (62%) this meet, while leading jockey Pablo Morales has won at a 33% clip. Together, they’ve won six of their seven starts (86%) over the last 60 days.
Let’s pay Jean V’s Legacy over #3 Turning Point (7-5) and #5 Zuri (7-2) in a large exacta.
$20 exacta: 2 with 3,5 ($40)
The racing week at Presque Isle Downs kicks off with a $1,957 carryover in the 20-cent Pick 6. You’ll have to construct a unique winning ticket to win the prize pool for this jackpot-style wager, but even when multiple bettors decipher the sequence, payoffs can be respectable. Last Wednesday’s sequence returned $142.32 even after two favorites and four second choices (all less than 3-1) visited the winner’s circle.
Monday’s Pick 6 features just 50 entries and 274,428 possible outcomes before scratches, so a winning ticket shouldn’t be too difficult to construct. To help you get started, we’ve identified a couple noteworthy runners (one favorite and one longshot) to build tickets around.
Best single: Race 5, #4 Tactical Pajamas (5-2)
The 6 1/2-furlong Malvern Rose S. for three-year-old fillies looks like the perfect spot for Tactical Pajamas to get her first stakes win. The daughter of Uncle Lino has two wins from two starts over the Tapeta track at Presque Isle, where she most recently wired a 5 1/2-furlong allowance by 1 1/4 lengths.
Tactical Pajamas’ early speed is an asset, considering 42% of sprints at Presque Isle are won in gate-to-wire fashion. We’ll count on Tactical Pajamas to get the job done for hot trainer Ron Potts, a 22% winner this meet.
Live longshot: Race 7, #3 Real Fancy (15-1)
Real Fancy hasn’t come close to winning in her last three starts, including a couple runs this season. But all three of those efforts came on dirt. Real Fancy is winless in six starts on dirt, with only a single top-three finish.
But Real Fancy boasts a solid 3-4-1 résumé from 12 starts over the Tapeta track at Presque Isle, highlighted by a pair of pace-tracking allowance wins last season. Those efforts produced Brisnet Speed ratings of 86 and 81, which would be fast enough to be competitive in this six-furlong, optional-claiming allowance.
If Real Fancy bounces back to peak form in her return to Presque Isle, she can vie for victory at 15-1.