Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for July 21
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, July 21 at Colonial Downs, Indiana Grand, and Presque Isle Downs, along with an $18 ticket for the $6,982 Pick 5 carryover at Penn National.
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.
- Colonial Downs Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in any race at Colonial Downs.
- Saratoga Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in select races at Saratoga. Offer must be unlocked each day of the meet; see offers page for details.
- Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Naas (Ireland).
Picks and Plays
#3 Pearl Girl (6-1) hasn’t finished better than eighth in her first three starts, but she has also competed against tough competition. Two starts back, she was beaten just 5 1/4 lengths in a one-mile maiden special weight over the Churchill Downs turf course.
I’m optimistic Pearl Girl will produce an improved finish on her descent to the maiden claiming level at Colonial Downs. Trainer Michelle Lovell strikes at a 29% rate with runners who drop two or more class levels, and jockey Colby Hernandez has two wins from five starts when he has teamed Lovell over the last 60 days.
To capitalize on the Colonial Downs Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Pearl Girl. Then we’ll box her in the exacta, with #4 Pepper Pot (3-1), who was last seen when she finished third for a $40,000 maiden claiming tag at Parx.
#7 Euphoric (3-1) hasn’t missed the exacta in her last five starts in six-furlong sprints, highlighted by two allowance wins and a nose defeat in the Miss Preakness S. (G3). Her only disappointing effort during this time frame came in the seven-furlong Eight Belles S. (G2), when Euphoric carved out blazing splits of :21.89 and :44.46, then understandably weakened in the lane.
There is a lot of speed in the Clarksville field, but Euphoric showed a new dimension in a June 14 allowance at Indiana Grand, when she rated 4 1/2 lengths behind the leader and rallied to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Post 7 affords the daughter of Frosted plenty of options to work out a favorable trip under leading jockey Marcelino Pedroza.
Thanks to the Midweek Bet Back promotion, we can place a $10 win bet on Euphoric and receive a refund if she finishes second. We’ll also play her over the stretch-running Churchill Downs allowance winner #6 Lady Rocket (7-2) in the exacta.
$10 to win on #7 Euphoric
$5 exacta: 7 with 6
Presque Isle Downs, Race 7: Allowance/optional claiming (one mile and 70 yards on Tapeta, 7:45 p.m. ET)
#6 Inclusive (2-1) will ascend the class ladder, but that might not be an issue. The five-year-old gelding has improved by leaps and bounds across his last four starts at Arlington Park, with wins in $4,000, $5,000, $12,500, and $20,000 claiming races.
Two wins on the card for leading jockey @jareth16 after INCLUSIVE ($4.00) wins off the claim for trainer Brian M. Brooks and owner Carl L. Hess, Jr. The son of Sky Mesa was claimed for $5k (won) and delivered at the $12,500 level today for a 6th career win in 1:46.20 (AW).— Arlington International Racecourse (@ArlingtonRacing) June 11, 2021
Inclusive’s victory at the $20,000 level was especially impressive. After he fell nearly eight lengths off the early pace, Inclusive unleashed a powerful rally to crush a large field by five lengths. He earned an 86 Brisnet Speed rating and a 98 Brisnet Late Pace rating.
Trainer Gerald Brooks has been hot at Presque Isle, with eight wins from 23 starts (35%) at the meet, and jockey Antonio Gallardo has five wins from eight starts (63%) teamed with Brooks over the last two months. If you want to bet the “now” horse, Inclusive is the logical choice, even with the step up in class.
We’ll bet Inclusive to win, then play him over California shipper #1 The Stiff (9-5) and capable allowance competitor #2 Patriot Drive (7-2) in the exacta.
$20 to win on #6 Inclusive
$5 exacta: 6 with 1,2 ($10)
It’s not every day we get a chance to chase a non-jackpot Pick 5 carryover. But Penn National has one on tap for Wednesday, with the bonus pool at $6,982.
Let’s take a race-by-race look at the sequence, then assemble a ticket.
Race 4: Allowance (five furlongs on turf, 7:22 p.m. ET)
#1 Jenna’s Lil Agnes (6-1), #2 Tarafirma (7-2), #3 R U Happy Now (10-1), #4 Tuffgirlsdontcry (4-1), #5 Flyingontheground (3-1), and #7 Tinder Date (9-2) all boast solid turf records and/or high-percentage trainers. Rather than try to split them, we’ll use them all to kick off the Pick 5.
Race 5: $10,000 claiming (six furlongs, 7:49 p.m. ET)
Morning-line favorites #5 Helms Deep (3-2) and #4 Google It (2-1) have put up sharp Brisnet Speed ratings running long, but how will they fare on the cut back in distance?
#2 Mizzen Money (4-1) is a more appealing play, considering he wired a six-furlong, $12,500 maiden claiming sprint during the spring, then finished fourth for a $25,000 tag over the same distance. Throw out his two recent turf tries, and Mizzen Money’s form is appealing.
Race 6: Allowance (six furlongs, 8:16 p.m. ET)
#6 Littlebitalily (2-1) wired a $5,000 starter allowance by 6 1/2 lengths at Penn National last month and earned a sharp 85 Brisnet Speed rating.
The daughter of Flat Out has competed well at Wednesday’s class level in the past and looms as a logical favorite, though #4 Tweet Away Robin (7-2) has posted similar Brisnet Speed ratings and is eligible to put up a fight for high-percentage trainer Demelza McMahon.
Race 7: $5,000 claiming (six furlongs, 8:43 p.m. ET)
#4 Waverly Sunset (7-2) has faltered in her last two starts, one a sprint on turf and the other a route on dirt. But three starts back, she finishing second in a six-furlong, $10,000 claimer over the Penn National main track and earned an 83 Brisnet Speed rating that tops Wednesday’s field.
A return to the same configuration, with a descent on the class ladder, can send Waverly Sunset to the winner’s circle under leading jockey Julio Hernandez.
Race 8: $4,000 claiming (one mile and 70 yards, 9:10 p.m. ET)
We’ll end the sequence with a creative single.
#3 Raisetonew Heights (5-1) has run slightly faster than her rivals in terms of recent Brisnet Speed ratings and has reached the 71-74 plateau in three of her last four starts.
Third for a $5,000 tag over this track and distance last month, Raisetonew Heights has tactical speed and figures to get a perfect trip in a largely paceless field.
50-cent Pick 5: 1,2,3,4,5,7 with 2,4,5 with 4,6 with 4 with 3 ($18)