Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for July 27

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July 27th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Tuesday, July 27 at Colonial Downs, Presque Isle Downs, and Thistledown, along with horses to play in the $245,919 jackpot Pick 5 carryover at Louisiana Downs.

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 Presque Isle Downs and Thistledown.
  • Build Your Virginia Derby Day Bankroll: For every day you wager at least $100 at Colonial Downs, from July 26-Aug. 30, receive $5 to wager at Colonial Downs on Virginia Derby day, Aug. 31.

Picks and Plays

Thistledown, Race 1: $26,000 claiming (two furlongs, 12:50 p.m. ET)

It’s not every day we see Thoroughbreds dash two furlongs in a race, but Thistledown will provide a fun exception Tuesday. The opening race of the afternoon is a two-furlong sprint with six entries, including formidable favorite #6 Phonemyposseagain (5-2).

Speed is an asset in any abbreviated sprint, and Phonemyposseagain — a pure frontrunner — has all the speed you could ask for. The six-year-old gelding has dominated three straight two-furlong sprints at Mountaineer, where he won by an average margin of 3 1/2 lengths and posted Brisnet Speed ratings of 110, 94, and 97.

Phonemyposseagain has already beaten key rival #5 Dionysus’ Chalice (3-1) on a couple occasions, so we’ll count on the son of Posse to get the job done again Tuesday. It’s worth noting jockey Charle Oliveros has six wins from six starts when he teams with trainer Kevin Patterson over the last two months.

A straight exacta, with Phonemyposseagain over Dionysus’ Chalice seems like the way to go.

$25 exacta: 6 with 5

Colonial Downs, Race 5: $16,000 maiden claiming (six furlongs, 3:37 p.m. ET)

There isn’t a crazy amount of speed in this 10-horse field, so we’ll think outside the box and support #7 El Guapo (15-1).

The son of Speightster flashed speed in his first three starts last season, including when he finished fourth against maiden special weight company over the Colonial Downs turf course.

El Guapo hasn’t seriously factored in his three dirt starts, but he has taken time off since November and is eligible to improve with the addition of Lasix for his three-year-old debut.

He has been training quickly over the Colonial main track, where he most recently clocked a half-mile from the starting gate in :47 1/5, so let’s bet El Guapo to win. He owns the highest Brisnet Speed rating in the field.

$10 to win on #7 El Guapo

Presque Isle Downs, Race 5: Hard Spun S. (one mile and 70 yards on Tapeta, 6:25 p.m. ET)

#3 Wait for It (7-5) has only run once on Tapeta, but his effort was strong. He rallied to win the 2020 Hard Spun S. by 2 1/4 lengths, over #5 Missin the Big Dog (9-2).

It will come as no surprise if Wait for It and Missing the Big Dog run first and second again in the 2021 Hard Spun, with Wait for It likely to maintain the advantage.

Last time out, the six-year-old gelding rallied to victory in the seven-furlong Page McKenney H. at Parx, where he earned a 95 Brisnet Speed rating.

Jockey Anthony Nunez and trainer Edward Coletti have been hot together (31% win rate), which stamps Wait for It as the runner to beat Tuesday.

To take advantage of the Midweek Bet Back promotion, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Wait for It. Then we’ll play him over Missin the Big Dog in the exacta.

$10 to win on #3 Wait for It
$10 exacta: 3 with 5
Total: $20

Carryover watch

Louisiana Downs, Race 3: $245,919 jackpot Pick 5 carryover (4:37 p.m. ET)

Tuesday is a relatively quiet day on the carryovers front, without much in the way of non-jackpot prize pools to pursue. But if you’re willing to take aim at a jackpot-style wager, you’ll have several potentially lucrative choices, led by a $245,919 Pick 5 carryover at Louisiana Downs.

The 50-cent wager attracted just 38 horses across the five races, which equates to 21,168 possible outcomes before scratches. A unique winning ticket could be tricky to construct, but if you keep your investment reasonable, a respectable consolation payoff is a viable possibility. Monday’s sequence returned $373.75, even after four favorites visited the winner’s circle.

Here are a couple promising runners to help you get started.

Best single: Race 5, #5 Dance Away (7-5)

Dance Away has shown massive improvement since she was transferred to the care of trainer J. Luis Garcia. The four-year-old daughter of Tizway has rattled off back-to-back allowances wins at Louisiana Downs, where she dominated a 6 1/2-furlong dash by 8 1/4 lengths, then defeated next-out winner Birdie Call by 3 1/2 lengths in a six-furlong sprint.

Those efforts earned strong Brisnet Speed ratings of 83 and 80, which stamps Dance Away as one of the fastest fillies in Tuesday’s field. Sticking to six furlongs should suit her just fine, and hot jockey Juan Vargas (a 28% winner this meet) has retained the mount, so I see no reason to oppose Dance Away. She is a deserving short-priced single.

Live longshot: Race 6, #4 Lullaby Bling (10-1)

There are several logical, proven turf performers in this 7 1/2-furlong optional-claiming allowance on the grass, but if you want to think outside the box, Lullaby Bling offers appeal. The son of Too Much Bling has only run once on turf, so he is a largely unproven commodity.

But on dirt, Lullaby Bling has been formidable. He cracked the trifecta in three straight sprints at Lone Star Park and earned sharp Brisnet Speed ratings. Too Much Bling sires a respectable 13% winners on turf, so if Lullaby Bling handles the switch to grass, he can outrun expectations for hot jockey/trainer duo Ramon Vazquez and Robertino Diodoro.

Good luck!