Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for June 10

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June 10th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his picks and plays for Thursday, June 10 at Belmont Park and Churchill Downs, plus suggested singles in a quartet of carryovers at Belmont and Arlington Park.

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 Belmont Park and Sam Houston.
  • Churchill Downs Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in select races at Churchill Downs.
  • Trifecta Thursdays: Receive a 15% bonus (up to $25) on any winning trifecta ticket.
  • Build Your Indiana Derby Day Bankroll: Wager at least $1,000 (excluding show bets) at Indiana Grand in April, May, and/or June and receive $30 to wager at Indiana Grand on Indiana Derby day, July 7. Bet $1,000 at Indiana Grand in all three months and receive $150.

Picks and plays

Belmont Park, Race 7: Allowance (1 1/4 miles on turf, 6:15 p.m. ET)

#9 Higher Truth (6-1) will face winners for the first time, but the beautifully bred daughter of Galileo might just be up to the task.

After she finished a deceptively good sixth with a troubled trip in her debut over 1 1/16 miles at Tampa Bay Downs, Higher Truth stretched out to 1 1/4 miles at Belmont, where she rallied nicely from behind a slow pace to score by a half-length.

Higher Truth’s affinity for the course and distance of Thursday’s test is encouraging, and four-time champion trainer Chad Brown strikes at a 31% rate with last-out maiden winners. Any way you slice it, Higher Truth looks like a logical contender at a solid price.

To take advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Higher Truth. Then we’ll play her over stablemate #6 Linny Kate (7-2) and the stakes-placed #7 High Opinion (3-1) in the exacta.

$10 to win on #9 Higher Truth
$5 exacta: 9 with 6,7 ($10)
Total: $20

Churchill Downs, Race 4: $10,000 claiming (one mile, 6:27 p.m. ET)

There is rain in the forecast for Thursday at Churchill Downs, which should suit #1 Cabertoss (8-5) just fine.

The son of Drosselmeyer has cracked the trifecta in three of his four starts on dirt, including a 3 1/4-length starter allowance victory over a damp track at Oaklawn Park.

The rail is frequently a favorable lane on wet days at Churchill Downs, and jockey Corey Lanerie isn’t afraid to employ ground-saving tactics, so Cabertoss figures to receive an ideal trip Thursday. He has enough tactical speed to be prominent from the outset in this seemingly paceless race, and trainer Chris Hartman has been on fire this meet, with 11 wins from 25 starters.

We’ll bet Cabertoss to win and play him on top of exacta and trifecta, with #5 Allen (3-1) for second place.

$20 to win on #1 Cabertoss
$5 exacta: 1 with 5
$1 trifecta: 1 with 5 with ALL ($5)
Total: $30

Churchill Downs, Race 5: Maiden special weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 6:56 p.m. ET)

#2 Hazy Command (7-2) has cranked out fast workouts over the local main track for trainer Tom Amoss, a 32% winner at Churchill this meet.

Five furlongs in :59 4/5, five furlongs in :59 2/5, and a half-mile from the starting gate in :49 4/5 — it’s clear Hazy Command has at least a little speed.

A daughter of juvenile Grade 1 winner Mastery and a half-sibling to a pair of stakes winners, Hazy Command will pick up jockey James Graham for her debut. Graham and Amoss have teamed to win at a 35% rate over the last two months, so we’ll take advantage of the Churchill Downs Bet Back offer and place a $10 win bet on Hazy Command.

$10 to win on #2 Hazy Command

Carryover watch

Belmont Park, Race 4: $69,661 Pick 6 carryover (4:40 p.m. ET)

The largest carryover on the agenda for Thursday won’t be easy to hit.

Belmont’s non-jackpot Pick 6 features a carryover pool of $69,661 to be split among all winning bettors, but the wager’s $1 minimum is a bit pricey, so a reliable single (or two) might be the key to keep costs reasonable.

The best place to seek a single is probably Race 8, a seven-furlong allowance. Just six horses have been entered, and #5 Jalen Journey (3-1) looks tough to beat.

The Steve Asmussen trainee has been soundly beaten in his last two starts, but one was the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) against much tougher competition in Dubai, and the other was an allowance at Oaklawn, in which Jalen Journey checked severely in traffic and lost all chance.

(Click to 19:15 to view Jalen Journey’s troubled trip.)

Prior to those efforts, Jalen Journey used his excellent tactical speed to win a pair of claiming races at Churchill and Oaklawn convincingly. With a clean trip, he can bounce back to the winner’s circle at Belmont.

Arlington Park, Race 1: $7,743 Pick 8 carryover (3:25 p.m. ET)
Arlington Park, Race 2: $3,106 Pick 7 carryover (3:53 p.m. ET)
Arlington Park, Race 8: $32,772 Jackpot High 5 (6:50 p.m. ET)

Think picking six winners in a row is easy? Try picking eight!

The 20-cent base denomination for Arlington’s challenging Pick 8 wager is helpful, but assembling the winner of every race on a single ticket is a task far easier said than done. Hence the $7,743 non-jackpot carryover up for grabs Thursday.

But wait, there’s more!

There is also a $3,106 non-jackpot carryover in the Pick 7 and a $32,772 prize in the Jackpot High 5, so if you want to chase carryovers at Arlington on Thursday, you’ll have no shortage of options.

Trainer Larry Rivelli has been on fire at Arlington this meet, with 20 wins from 48 starters, and a few of his Thursday runners look formidable.

#4 Roger McQueen (6-5) in Race 2 is a deserving favorite. The son of Unified finished third in his debut, a five-furlong sprint at Churchill Downs, and earned a 77 Brisnet Speed rating, equal to the par for Thursday’s class level and distance. With Arlington’s leading jockey, Jareth Loveberry, in the saddle, Roger McQueen will be tough to catch.

In Race 8, which plays a role in all three carryovers, #2 King of Miami (7-2) can claim top honors in his first start for Rivelli.

The son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah was a frontrunning maiden winner in a six-furlong sprint at Belmont last month, and King of Miami figures to set the pace on the stretch out over one mile at Belmont. They’ll have to catch him to beat him.

Good luck!