Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for June 21

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June 21st, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $75 worth of picks and plays for Monday, June 21 at Delaware Park, Indiana Grand, and Thistledown, along with horses of note for Indiana Grand’s $17,314 Pick 5 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • 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

Delaware Park, Race 7: Allowance/optional claiming (five furlongs on turf, 4:15 p.m. ET)

There’s hardly any speed in this five-furlong turf dash, which could trigger an unpredictable outcome.

Most folks will side with #3 Completed Pass (6-5), who has at least a little tactical speed to go with his abundant class. But although Completed Pass has won two stakes since September, he’s entered for a claiming tag Monday, which is a bit surprising, given his solid recent form.

Given the paceless nature of this race, I’ll take a shot with #1 Mai Ty One On (3-1). He enters off a productive series of turf sprint efforts at Gulfstream Park, including a pace-tracking win over this approximate class level during the winter. Trainer Jane Cibelli has compiled an 3-1-0 record from five starts at Delaware this meet, and I’m optimistic Mai Ty One On will show more speed than usual after a break from the rail.

Let’s bet Mai Ty One On to win and play him over Completed Pass in a cold exacta.

$20 to win on #1 Mai Ty One On
$5 exacta: 1 with 3
Total: $25

Indiana Grand, Race 3: $12,500 claiming (one mile and 70 yards, 3:27 p.m. ET)

#6 Beautilicious (9-5) is the morning-line favorite, but though she’s cracked the trifecta in three of her last four runs, her 1-for-40 lifetime record makes her tough to trust on top.

It’s also worth noting, Beautilicious has been competing primarily against easier $10,000 and $5,000 claiming company, so the step up to the $12,500 level is a question mark.

Let’s oppose Beautilicious with #5 Lassie Linda (5-2), a lightly raced sophomore filly with just three starts. She has only run once in a dirt route, when she wired a one-mile and 70-yard maiden special weight at Indiana Grand by 3 3/4 lengths.

That effort produced a competitive 64 Brisnet Speed rating, and the strength of Lassie Linda’s effort was reiterated when runner-up Miss Fort returned to win her next start.

For Monday’s race, Lassie Linda will be ridden by apprentice jockey Jeison Gotay, which means Lassie Linda will carry just 110 pounds. If she sprints to the front under this feathery assignment, she’ll be tough to run down in the homestretch.

$20 to win on #5 Lassie Linda
$5 exacta: 5 with 2,6 ($10)
Total: $30

Thistledown, Race 1: Maiden special weight (five furlongs, 12:50 p.m. ET)

#7 Rebel Power (5-2) is a logical choice, after she finished second at this track, distance, and class level May 20. She was beaten less than a length, after she carved out the pace. The 72 Brisnet Speed rating she received far exceeds the 65 rating that stands as par for Monday’s conditions.

But don’t sleep on the chances of #4 Amadevil (6-1).

The David Wolochuk trainee has put together a lengthy work tab in preparation for her debut, including a half-dozen breezes at Thistledown. Since 2016, Wolochuk has two wins and a third from four starts with debuting three-year-olds at Thistledown, which suggests Amadevil will be cranked for a peak effort.

Let’s box Rebel Power and Amadevil in the exacta.

$10 exacta box: 4,7 ($20)

Carryover watch

Indiana Grand, Race 4: $17,314 Pick 5 carryover (3:58 p.m. ET)

If you only have the time to chase one carryover Monday, make sure it’s the $17,314 Pick 5 pool at Indiana Grand.

The 50-cent sequence offers fantastic betting value. The takeout rate is 11.99%, and it’s not a jackpot-style wager, so the entire carryover (plus the daily pool) will be dispersed among winning bettors.

A total of 46 horses (including two also-eligibles) have been entered across the sequence, which averages out to 9.2 horses per race. Before scratches, there are 56,448 possible outcomes to consider, which makes it a sequence of medium difficulty.

The good news is, you can reduce the number of outcomes under consideration to just 8,064 if you’re willing to single #5 Choctaw Bingo in Race 5, a $16,000 starter allowance over 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf course. The daughter of Air Force Blue is undefeated in two starts since she transitioned to turf and used her tactical speed to rattle off consecutive victories in $16,000 claimers at Indiana Grand.

There are a few other speed horses drawn to Choctaw Bingo’s inside, so she figures to receive an ideal trip stalking the early pace. Trainer Rey Hernandez has been hot at Indiana Grand, going with six wins from 22 starts this meet, and Choctaw Bingo’s Brisnet Speed ratings are solid.

What’s not to like?

A case can also be made for singling #2 Beau Luminarie (7-5) in Race 7, but I’m not convinced it is the best approach. The five-year-old gelding enters off a close third-place finish in the Ben Ali S. (G3) at Keeneland, so the drop to the allowance level at Indiana Grand should make him dangerous.

The problem is, Beau Luminarie has a tendency to settle for the minor awards. Between May 2020 and February 2021, Beau Luminarie finished second in six consecutive races. He rallied to victory in a Turfway Park allowance two starts back, but that effort came over a synthetic track, so Beau Luminarie hasn’t won a dirt race since he broke his maiden in February 2020.

Beau Luminarie is certainly a logical contender at Indiana Grand, but I’m tempted to back him up with a couple others.

#4 Contact Tracing (6-1) has won two straight at Indiana Grand and most recently used his tactical speed to dominate a one-mile allowance by nine lengths. Multiple stakes winner #5 Man in the Can (5-1) is gradually rounding back into peak form and will pick up Indiana Grand’s leading jockey, Marcelino Pedroza, for his local debut. Neither has run as fast as Beau Luminarie on the Brisnet Speed rating scale, but a step forward could put either in the hunt for victory.

Good luck!