Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for July 6

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

July 6th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Tuesday, July 6 at Parx, Presque Isle Downs, and Thistledown, along with a ticket for the $2,301 Pick 5 carryover at Indiana Grand.

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 Parx and Thistledown.
  • $5,000 Pick 5 Indiana Derby Jackpot: Hit Pick 5 wagers at Indiana Grand this week to earn shares toward a $5,000 jackpot awarded to players who hit Pick 5 wagers on Indiana Derby day, July 7.

Picks and plays

Parx, Race 10: Dr. James Penny Memorial S. (G3, 1 1/16 miles on turf, 5:07 p.m. ET)

#3 Honey Cake (6-1) wasn’t quite group stakes caliber in France, but she won four of her eight starts in 2019 and 2020, culminating with a victory in the seven-furlong Prix Ceres S. at Fountainebleau.

Now four years old, Honey Cake will make her U.S. debut in the Dr. James Penny Memorial. The daughter of Siyouni has been transferred to high-percentage trainer Jonathan Thomas, a 25% winner with runner shipping to the United States.

It’s hard to say how Honey Cake will stack up against the competition at Parx, but as a fresh face in a race that didn’t come up tough, there is appeal to play her at 6-1 on the morning line.

To take advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Honey Cake and box her in the exacta, with #8 Princess Grace (4-1), the dominant winner of the Mrs. Revere S. (G2) at Churchill Downs last fall.

$10 to win on #3 Honey Cake
$5 exacta box: 3,8 ($10)
Total: $20

Presque Isle Downs, Race 7: Allowance/optional claiming (six furlongs, 7:15 p.m. ET)

#2 Darcy Mae (7-5) has a 5-1-1 record from seven starts over the Presque Isle Downs Tapeta track, including a stakes win. But the seven-year-old veteran hasn’t run since October of 2019, and her best Brisnet Speed ratings have come in routes, rather than sprints.

If Darcy Mae falters on the cut back in distance off the layoff, #1 Command Strike (7-2) can steal the show. The four-year-old daughter of Even the Score is undefeated in five sprint starts, including a 5 1/2-length allowance win at Thistledown to kick off 2021.

Command Strike has never run over a synthetic track, but if she handles the surface switch, she can spring a nice-priced surprise for trainer James Jackson.

$20 to win on #1 Command Strike
$10 exacta: 1 with 2
Total: $30

Thistledown, Race 5: Allowance (one mile, 2:50 p.m. ET)

#7 Authentic Cowtown (5-2) was a dominant winner of the George Lewis Memorial S. against fellow Ohio-breds at Thistledown last month, when he led all the way to score by 2 3/4 lengths, with a 97 Brisnet Speed rating. That figure is tied for the best posted by any horse in Tuesday’s field, and it’s the best last-out figure by 14 points.

Trainer James McDonald strikes at an impressive 36% rate with last-out winners, so Authentic Cowtown figures to fire another sharp effort against open allowance company Tuesday. The far outside post also affords Authentic Cowtown options to work out a perfect trip under jockey Malcolm Franklin.

To capitalize on the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Authentic Cowtown. Then we’ll play her over the speedy sprinter #2 Double Deep (3-1) in a small exacta.

$10 to win on #7 Authentic Cowtown
$5 exacta: 7 with 2
Total: $15

Carryover watch

Indiana Grand, Race 5: $2,301 Pick 5 carryover

A $2,301 carryover and an 11.99% takeout rate? I can’t think of any reason not to play the 50-cent Pick 5 on Tuesday at Indiana Grand.

We’ve put together a ticket on a $64 budget. Here’s how we’ll play each leg of the sequence.

Race 5: $12,500 claiming (1 1/16 miles on turf, 4:29 p.m. ET)

Graded stakes competitor #8 Pioneer Man (7-5) would be a logical single, if not for the fact he misfired in a $35,000 claimer at Gulfstream last time out.

If his form is trending downward, perhaps #10 Better Watch Out (5-1) — a winner at this class level on dirt last month — can spring a surprise under Indiana Grand’s leading rider, Marcelino Pedroza.

Race 6: Maiden special weight (five furlongs, 5 p.m. ET)

#7 Kisses So Sweet (2-1) finished second at this track, distance, and class level June 24 and earned a field-best 60 Brisnet Speed rating.

She’ll be tough to beat under Pedroza, though #4 Z Zs Red (4-1) — who finished 3 3/4 lengths behind Kisses So Sweet on June 24 — is eligible to improve in her second run under colors.

Race 7: $35,000 maiden claiming (one mile on turf, 5:31 p.m. ET)

#3 Harpoon Harry (4-1) ran well when he finished fifth against $75,000 maiden claiming company at Churchill Downs and is set to make his first start as a gelding.

#10 Steak and Cheese (7-2) posted sharp Brisnet Speed ratings against $50,000 competition at Gulfstream Park.

One or the other should prevail on the drop in class at Indiana Grand.

Race 8: Allowance/optional claiming (1 1/16 miles on turf, 6:02 p.m. ET)

#2 Golden Voice (8-5) competed against stakes company on the Maryland and New York circuits as a juvenile, but she hasn’t run since November and might not be a lock to win off the layoff.

Flashy Indiana Grand debut winner #3 Amani’s Lioness (8-1), the ultra-hot #8 Choctaw Bingo (5-1), and the capable allowance performer #9 Go Big Green (7-2) all have upset credentials.

Race 9: Maiden special weight (six furlongs, 6:33 p.m. ET)

#1 Tribord (6-1) and #9 Lofthouse (4-1) look like the best of the experienced runners, but I wouldn’t count the first-time starter #4 Anubis (7-2) and #6 Sting Like Abby (2-1) out of contention. Both are siblings to juvenile stakes winners and both bring solid work tabs.

50-cent Pick 5: 8,10 with 4,7 with 3,10 with 2,3,8,9 with 1,4,6,9 ($64)

Good luck!