Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for July 26

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July 26th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $75 worth of picks and plays for Monday, July 26 at Colonial Downs, Thistledown, and Presque Isle Downs, along with a single and live longshot in Indiana Grand’s $2,132 Pick 5 carryover.

Picks and plays

Colonial Downs, Race 1: Maiden special weight (five furlongs on turf, 1:45 p.m. ET)

Since 2020, Michael Stidham has compiled a 2-1-1 record from five starts with debut juveniles at Colonial Downs, which matches the 2-1-1 overall record (from five starts) he has compiled at the current Colonial meet. Stidham’s hot stats indicate #3 Leoville (9-2) is worthy of respect in this turf dash for two-year-olds.

A son of Munnings, out of an Unusual Heat mare, Leoville brings a turf-oriented pedigree to the mix. He has also been training forwardly, with a half-dozen timed workouts at Fair Hill Training Center.

Stidham wins at a 19% rate with debut runners on turf, and jockey Mychel Sanchez has won three of his six starts when teamed with Stidham over the last two months, so we’ll bet Leoville to win and play him over logical favorite #7 Conagher (3-1) in a straight exacta.

$20 to win on #3 Leoville
$10 exacta: 3 with 7
Total: $30

Thistledown, Race 4: Allowance (six furlongs, 2:20 p.m. ET)

#5 Amadevil (9-5) made a terrific impression in her debut, a five-furlong sprint at Thistledown last month.

The daughter of Dominus seized a daylight lead through a quick opening quarter in :22.04, widened her advantage to 18 lengths through a half mile in :45.24, and cruised to the finish line clear by 24 1/4 lengths, in :57.48.

It was a fast effort on the clock and produced a 95 Brisnet Speed rating. None of Amadevil’s Monday rivals have cracked 75 on the same scale, so if Amadevil comes remotely close to her debut effort, she’ll be tough to deny in her first try against winners.

We’ll use #3 Iamgoingtoshine (9-2) for second place in a cold exacta, since trainer James McDonald strikes at a 37% clip with horses who run for the third time off a layoff. This stat applies perfectly to Iamgoingtoshine, who finished third by two lengths in a six-furlong allowance at Thistledown on July 1.

$25 exacta: 5 with 3

Presque Isle Downs, Race 3: $20,000 claiming (six furlongs on Tapeta, 5:35 p.m. ET)

#3 No Longer Silent (8-1) has been defeated by double-digits margins in all three of his starts this season, but those efforts came on dirt, a surface he evidently dislikes.

In 2019 and 2020, No Longer Silent compiled a 4-1-1 record from nine starts over the Tapeta track at Golden Gate Fields, where he won multiple times at the allowance level and finished fourth in a stakes.

If No Longer Silent rebounds on his return to Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs, he can fire a winning shot under jockey Pablo Morales, a 38% winner at the meet.

We’ll bet him to win and box him in the exacta, with #6 Scoby (6-1), who went undefeated in two starts against allowance company at Presque Isle last season.

$10 to win on #3 No Longer Silent
$5 exacta box: 3,6 ($10)
Total: $20

Carryover watch

Indiana Grand, Race 5: $2,132 Pick 5 carryover (4:29 p.m. ET)

Monday’s Pick 5 at Indiana Grand offers a lot of value for bettors. Not only does the 50-cent wager feature a 11.99% takeout rate, it also has a $2,132 non-jackpot carryover. If you can only afford to play one multi-race wager Monday, surely this is the one to pursue!

But a winning ticket won’t necessarily be easy to construct. Large fields are on tap, with 46 horses (9.2 per race) entered across the sequence. There are 60,480 possible outcomes to consider.

The Pick 5 gets underway in Race 4 (3:58 p.m. ET). If you’re planning to play along, we’ve identified a few noteworthy horses worth using.

Best single: Race 5, #7 Strong Odor (5-2)

This optional-claiming allowance for fillies and mares at five furlongs on turf has drawn seven entries, with Strong Odor a logical favorite. A trifecta finisher in six of her last seven starts, over a wide variety of surfaces and distances, Strong Odor enters off a sharp runner-up effort in a five-furlong turf dash at Churchill Downs, where she was beaten just 1 1/4 lengths in a $50,000 claimer.

There is a fair amount of speed in Monday’s field, so Strong Odor — a tractable sort most comfortable in the middle of the pack — figures to enjoy an advantageous trip.

Throw in the fact her Brisnet Speed ratings are a good fit, and Strong Odor looks tough to beat.

Live longshot: Race 8, #9 Spinel (8-1)

There’s a lot to like about Spinel in this five-furlong maiden special weight for two-year-olds. His sire is Gemologist, whose three-for-three record as a juvenile included a win in the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2). And Spinel’s dam is Crafty Ana, a debut-winning two-year-old who nabbed Indiana Grand’s six-furlong Crown Ambassador S. in her second start.

It’s safe to say Spinel is bred to win at an early age, and trainer Cipriano Contreras boasts a 3-4-1 record from 12 starts with debut juveniles at Indiana Grand. Use Spinel alongside logical favorite #12 Venice Beach (2-1), and we should have Race 8 covered.

Good luck!