Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for June 1

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

June 1st, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, June 1 at Presque Isle Downs, Horseshoe Indianapolis, and Canterbury Park, plus a horse to single in the mandatory-payout $739,589 Pick 5 carryover at Parx Racing.

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 Canterbury Park.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Happy Valley (Hong Kong).

Picks and Plays

Presque Isle Downs: Race 1: $7,500 Maiden Claiming (one mile on Tapeta, 1:30 p.m. ET)

#6 Fast Fashion (7-5) has been competing well against tougher company. After coming home third in a $16,000 maiden claimer racing one mile over the Tampa Bay Downs turf course (beaten only half a length), Fast Fashion ran deceptively well in her Presque Isle debut, finishing third in a $15,000 maiden claimer after rearing at the start of the 5 1/2-furlong dash.

Fast Fashion figures to produce a winning effort while dropping in class and stretching back out over one mile, so we’ll key her over #3 Bunny Princess (8-1) and #5 Pinch Mine (9-2) in the exacta.

  • $15 Exacta: 6 with 3,5 ($30)

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 4:03 p.m. ET)

#5 Rookwood (6-1) has hit the board in all three of his starts over this track and class level. The three-year-old gelding recently kicked off his 2022 campaign with a pace-tracking fourth-place finish on May 11, for which he earned a career-best 66 Brisnet Speed rating.

Rookwood is adding blinkers and meeting a field without much speed on paper, so he’s eligible to get out in front and forget to stop under hot jockey Edgar Morales. We’ll play the race accordingly, betting Rookwood to win and keying him over stretch-running #4 D’oro’s Wish (5-1) and #9 For Mama (3-1) in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #5 Rookwood
  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 4,9 ($10)
    Total: $30

Canterbury Park: Race 6: Maiden Special Weight (7 1/2 furlongs on turf, 8:40 p.m. ET)

#7 Xtreme Gem (2-1) has been competing against tough competition at Keeneland and Oaklawn Park. The daughter of Tapit made her turf debut in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on April 27 at Keeneland, where she tracked a fast pace before staying on to finish fourth by 3 1/4 lengths against next-out Soaring Softly S. (G3) winner Chardy Party.

Trainer McLean Robertson has been absolutely on fire at Canterbury, going 11-for-24 (46%) to start the meet, and hot jockey Roimes Chirinos is named to ride. What’s not to like? Xtreme Gem looks ready to roll home on top over #4 Bones and Roses (9-2) and #10 Winter Music (7-2).

We’ll take advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer and place a $10 win bet on Xtreme Gem before keying her on top in the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #7 Xtreme Gem
  • $5 Exacta: 7 with 4,10 ($10)
    Total: $20

Carryover Watch

Parx Racing, Race 7: $739,589 Pick 5 mandatory payout (3:37 p.m. ET)

Get ready, handicappers! A massive Pick 5 carryover is slated for mandatory dispersal on Wednesday afternoon.

The carryover is up for grabs at Parx Racing, where the 50-cent “Philly Big 5” has accumulated a jackpot prize pool of $739,589. Normally, bettors must construct a unique winning ticket in order to win the jackpot. But on Wednesday, the carryover will be split equally among all winning bettors, or—if no winning tickets are sold—the bettors who select the highest number of winners.

If you want to win a share of the carryover, you’ll have to decipher a pretty challenging sequence. The Philly Big 5 spans Race 7 through Race 11 and features 49 entries before scratches, averaging 9.8 horses per race. That equates to 83,160 possible outcomes.

Wouldn’t it be nice to find a trustworthy single to build tickets around? You bet it would. And wouldn’t it be nice if the single popped up in a race with a large field, dramatically reducing the number of possible outcomes we must consider?

It seems like a lot to ask, but the Philly Big 5 may provide us with exactly such an opportunity. Race 11 is a $16,000 maiden claimer for fillies and mares traveling 7 1/2 furlongs on turf, and #4 Bitterswt Symphony (3-1) looks rather like a standout in a field of 11 horses.

Whereas none of Bitterswt Symphony’s rivals have posted a Brisnet Speed rating higher than 59, Bitterswt Symphony has posted figures of 61, 62, and 60 in her last three starts. She cracked the trifecta in all three of those races, including a pair of starts against $16,000 maiden claiming company over the Parx main track.

Bitterswt Symphony has yet to race on turf, but neither have her rivals, and she did display some surface versatility when finishing second in a $15,000 maiden claimer over the synthetic Tapeta track at Turfway Park earlier this spring. Wednesday’s field doesn’t contain much pace on paper, so Bitterswt Symphony—who has vied for the lead in two of her last three starts—figures to enjoy a favorable forwardly placed trip under hot jockey Paco Lopez, who has gone 5-for-15 (33%) at Parx this meet.

There are other factors in Bitterswt Symphony’s favor as well. She’s making her second start for trainer Joseph Taylor, who wins at a 24% rate with horses running for the second time under his care. And Bitterswt Symphony’s dam sire is More Than Ready, a significant sire of grass runners who counts a bevy of Breeders’ Cup winners among his progeny.

Good luck!