Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for June 28
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares ~$100 worth of picks and plays for Monday, June 21 at Delaware Park, Indiana Grand, and Thistledown, including plays for Indiana Grand’s $2,041 Super High 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.
- $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
#2 Long May You Run (9-5) is the morning-line choice, after he won a $10,000 claimer at Parx three weeks ago, but the 10-year-old gelding has fallen into a pattern of following his competitive efforts with subpar performances.
Long May You Run’s victory at Parx came in his first start off a 3 1/2-month break, and I’m not sure he can replicate the effort on short rest.
Instead, I’ll give #5 Divine Interventio (5-2) a try. The son of Malibu Moon never factored in $12,500 claimer at one mile at Delaware last month, but he was eligible to be a bit short in his first start off a 2 1/2-month break. Trainer John Robb wins at a 28% rate with horses who run back for the second time following a layoff, and Divine Interventio may show improvement on the drop in class and distance.
$24 to win on #5 Divine Interventio
$3 exacta: 5 with 2,4 ($6)
Looking for a probable winner to start the day? Look no further than #7 Maximum Risk (1-1) in the opener at Indiana Grand.
The son of Hard Spun hit the board in his first two starts against tougher company at Churchill Downs, where he most notably finishing third in a six-furlong, $10,000 maiden claimer.
With Brisnet Speed ratings of 67 and 63, Maximum Risk ranks among the fastest horses in Monday’s field.
Trainer William Morey wins at a 35% rate with horses who descend two or more class levels, so Maximum Risk figures to be formidable against easier competition at Indiana Grand. Throw in the fact he’ll be ridden by Indiana Grand’s leading jockey, Marcelino Pedroza, and I think we have a recipe for victory.
#2 Bob’s Calling (2-1) and #6 Bold and Brassy (8-1) can round out cold exacta and trifecta tickets.
$25 exacta: 7 with 2
$5 trifecta: 7 with 2 with 6
There is a fair amount of speed in this two-turn mile for fillies and mares, which should suit #1 Little Matilda (5-2). The daughter of Birdstone has rallied to win three of her last four starts at Thistledown, where she most recently accelerated from nearly 10 lengths behind to dominate a $12,500 starter/optional claimer by 5 1/4 lengths.
Little Matilda has posted four straight Brisnet Speed ratings in the 80-90 range, so if she brings her "A" game Monday, she’ll be tough to hold off down the stretch. We’ll key her on top of trifecta tickets, with #6 Backsplash (3-1) emphasized underneath.
$5 trifecta: 1 with 6 with 2,3,4 ($15)
$5 trifecta: 1 with 2,3,4 with 6 ($15)
Indiana Grand, Race 4: $2,041 Grand High 5 carryover (3:58 p.m. ET)
In the seventh race at Indiana Grand on Thursday, chaotic results prevailed. While the favorite weakened to finish a distant sixth, longshots that started at 21-1 and 54-1 led the way home, which triggered a $2,041 carryover in the 10-cent Grand High Five.
The carryover will (presumably) be dispersed in Monday’s fourth race, an $8,000 starter/optional claimer.
Constructing a winning ticket shouldn’t prove too difficult. The six-furlong sprint has attracted just seven entries, which means there are only 2,520 possible outcomes to consider. You could bet them all for just $252, which would guarantee a winning ticket.
But the key is to avoid overbetting the Grand High 5. You don’t want to spend $100 to win $120. In order to achieve a respectable return on investment, it’s better to play the wager conservatively, using as few horses as possible to keep costs down.
We’ll emphasize #2 Naughty Alfred (6-5), who is the horse to beat. The speedy son of Munnings has won four of his last five starts, including three straight at Indiana Grand. On May 24, he led all the way to win a $12,500 starter/optional claimer and earned a 90 Brisnet Speed rating.
FOUR wins on the Tuesday card at Indiana Grand for jockey Marcelino Pedroza! Last one came in 9th race on #5 Naughty Alfred for trainer Genaro Garcia. Three wins for Garcia is also notable.— Bill Downes (@billdownes1) May 4, 2021
But Naughty Alfred was all out to hold off #6 Tale of Fame (4-1), who finished just a head behind, after he tracked the pace from second place. There is plenty of speed in Monday’s field, and since Naughty Alfred has drawn an inside post, he may have to work harder up front than he did last time. A change in the pace scenario might be all Tale of Fame needs to turn the tables. Keep in mind, Tale of Fame has cracked the trifecta in 12 of his 14 starts at Indiana Grand, including five victories.
So let’s count on either Naughty Alfred or Tale of Fame to prevail, with the other finishing second or third. Underneath, we’ll primarily use #7 Feeling It (7-2), the runner-up in an $8,000 claiming sprint at Churchill Downs last month. The son of elite sprinter Majesticperfection is set to make his first start for trainer Tom Amoss, a 24% winner with new claiming acquisitions.
20-cent Grand High 5: 2,6 with 2,6 with 7 with 1,3,4,5 with 1,3,4,5 ($4.80)
10-cent Grand High 5: 2,6 with 2,6 with 1,3,4,5 with 7 with 1,3,4,5 ($2.40)
10-cent Grand High 5: 2,6 with 7 with 2,6 with 1,3,4,5 with 1,3,4,5 ($2.40)