Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for July 22
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 Arlington Park.
- 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.
- $10K Pick 4 Hit It and Split It at Hoosier Park: Hit the early Pick 4 at Hoosier Park on any Thursday from July 8-Aug. 5 to win your share of a $2,000 weekly jackpot.
Picks and plays
#7 Smack (5-2) has been in hot form against easier company. She dominated a pair of $12,500 claimers at Arlington by a combined margin of 14 lengths, then put her tactical speed to effective use in a one-mile turf test at Arlington on July 9, when she tracked the early tempo and kicked clear to win by 5 1/2 lengths.
Smack is a logical choice for leading jockey/trainer duo Jareth Loveberry and Larry Rivelli, even with a step up the class ladder.
To capitalize on the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Smack. Proven $20,000 competitors #2 Zandrea’s (6-1) and #6 Windy City Girl (7-2) can battle for second place in the exacta.
$10 to win on #7 Smack
$5 exacta: 7 with 2,6 ($10)
In a race without many proven turf routers, #1 Paddy’s House (20-1) offers some longshot appeal.
The three-year-old gelding is lightly raced, with just four starts, and he is eligible to improve on the switch from dirt to turf, as his pedigree is geared toward success on grass. Sire Paddy O’Prado won five graded stakes on the lawn, including the Secretariat S. (G1), while damsire Limehouse is responsible for 14% winners on turf.
To take advantage of the Midweek Bet Back promotion, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Paddy’s House, then box him in a small exacta with logical favorite #7 Joe Frazier (8-5).
$10 to win on #1 Paddy’s House
$2 exacta box: 1,7 ($4)
#3 Absolute Chaos (8-5) has competed against tough competition on the Kentucky circuit. The son of Mineshaft has finished third in his last two starts in sprints at Churchill Downs, including one effort where he came home behind next-out Saratoga allowance winner Beau Liam.
With Brisnet Speed ratings of 80 and 86, Absolute Chaos is fast enough to visit the winner’s circle at Indiana Grand. The Brisnet Speed rating par for Thursday’s conditions is just 82.
Trainer James DiVito wins at a 26% rate in maiden special weight races, and Absolute Chaos is a half-sibling to a pair of sprint stakes winners.
#5 Pete the Beat (5-2) and #7 Goldenite (5-2) can fight to round out the exacta.
$20 to win on #3 Absolute Chaos
$5 exacta: 3 with 5,7 ($10)
Arlington Park, Race 1: $6,734 Pick 8 carryover (3:25 p.m. ET)
Arlington Park, Race 2: $1,660 Pick 7 carryover (3:51 p.m. ET)
Arlington Park, Race 8: $156,594 Super High 5 jackpot (6:55 p.m. ET)
There are three carryovers up for grabs Thursday at Arlington Park. The Super High 5 in the afternoon finale boasts a $156,594 jackpot pool, but you’ll have to construct a unique winning ticket to cash the jackpot.
The Pick 8 (with a $6,734 carryover) and the Pick 7 (with a $1,660 bonus pool) are more appealing options, since the 20-cent wagers split their carryovers equally among all winning bettors. Constructing any winning ticket is the tricky part. Thursday’s Pick 8 sequence features 3,175,200 possible outcomes.
We’ve already highlighted a handful of noteworthy runners to play on the back end of the card. See our plays above for details.
Now we’ll take a quick look at the beginning of the card, with a viable single and a vulnerable favorite in the first two races.
Best single: Race 1, #4 Tinderella (7-5)
Tinderella may have faded when she stretched out over one mile at Arlington on July 10, but the eight-year-old veteran is eligible to rebound on the cut back in distance.
Her previous two starts — both sprints over the Arlington Polytrack — saw Tinderella dominate a $4,000 claimer by 7 3/4 lengths and finish second by a neck in a $5,000 event.
Tinderella has tactical speed and figures to enjoy an uncontested lead in Thursday’s $4,000 claimer, which sets the stage for an easy victory under hot jockey E. T. Baird. Remember, 44% of six-furlong Polytrack sprints at Arlington are won in gate-to-wire fashion.
Vulnerable favorite: Race 2, #4 Varsity Flygirl (6-5)
Varsity Flygirl has competed against tougher competition than the $6,250 claiming company she’ll encounter Thursday. She exits a fifth-place finish for a $12,500 tag at Arlington and even contested a $75,000 optional-claiming allowance during the spring.
But Varsity Flygirl’s Brisnet Speed ratings have dropped, from 70 to 65 to 60 to 56. Her form regression is concerning, as is the fact her two best efforts have come in sprints. The one-mile distance of Thursday’s test is a question mark, and her lone victory was achieved on dirt, rather than Polytrack.
Varsity Flygirl is hard to trust at a short price.