Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for May 16

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May 16th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, May 16 at Presque Isle Downs and Horseshoe Indianapolis, along with tickets for the $994 Super High 5 carryover at Louisiana Downs.

Picks and Plays

Presque Isle Downs: Race 2: $8,500 Claiming (six furlongs on Tapeta, 1:57 p.m. ET)

#1 Atlantic Sun (8-5) was in red-hot form at Presque Isle Downs last year, wrapping up the season with three consecutive victories against $5,000 and $8,000 claiming company. Two of those victories came in sprints, yielding respectable Brisnet Speed ratings of 79 and 78.

Atlantic Sun combines tactical speed with tractability, so he figures to work out a favorable trip in his 2022 debut. Trainer Michael Pappada wins at a lofty 50% rate with horses returning from long layoffs (sample size of 12 starters), so let’s key Atlantic Sun over #2 Crosstown Shootout (5-1) and #5 Winging Ways (3-1) in the exacta and trifecta.

  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 2,5 ($20)
  • $5 Trifecta: 1 with 2,5 with 2,5 ($10)
    Total: $30

Presque Isle Downs: Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta, 2:24 p.m. ET)

#1 Boo Boo Kitty (3-1) finished second in her debut at Presque Isle Downs last summer, beaten only a head after dueling from start to finish. She subsequently traveled to Gulfstream Park for a couple of starts over the Tapeta track, where she ran third in a maiden special weight and seventh in an allowance optional claimer.

Boo Boo Kitty has set the pace in all three of her starts, an advantage on Monday since 41% of 5 1/2-furlong sprints at Presque Isle are won in gate-to-wire fashion. Returning to Presque Isle and adding Lasix for her three-year-old debut can trigger a winning performance from Boo Boo Kitty.

#2 New Ways to Dream (5-2), a top-three finisher in her last five starts, can complete the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #1 Boo Boo Kitty
  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 2
    Total: $30

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 3: $25,000 Maiden Claiming (one mile on turf, 3:32 p.m. ET)

#7 Big Paper (5-2) has cracked the trifecta in three straight races on turf, Tapeta, and dirt. All three of those efforts produced identical 73 Brisnet Speed ratings, showcasing Big Paper’s multi-surface versatility.

Big Paper is effective when pressing or tracking the pace, but he also demonstrated effective rating tactics when charging to finish third in a $30,000 maiden claimer over the Churchill Downs dirt last month. Dropping down to the $25,000 level at Horseshoe Indianapolis can send Big Paper to the winner’s circle over the well-bred first-time starter #6 National Security (6-5).

  • $20 to win on #7 Big Paper
  • $10 Exacta: 7 with 6
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Louisiana Downs, Race 7: $994 Super High 5 carryover (6:49 p.m. ET)

Granted, the $994 carryover up for grabs in Monday’s Super High 5 at Louisiana Downs isn’t massive from a monetary perspective. But there are plenty of reasons to play the non-jackpot wager.

For starters, the minimum bet amount is a reasonable 50 cents, making the Louisiana Downs Super High 5 less expensive to play than the $1 Super High 5s available at many other tracks. For another, the carryover is available in Race 7, a $12,500 claimer in which #1 Sharpendup (3-2) stands out as a logical choice to key on top.

With a 27-12-3-5 record over the Louisiana Downs turf course, Sharpendup is a perfect fit for this 7 1/2-furlong grass test. In 2021, he went 5-3-1-1 over the Louisiana lawn, most notably winning a $12,500 claimer racing one mile.

Sharpendup remains in strong form, having posted four straight Brisnet Speed ratings in the 80-84 range while competing at Fair Grounds. Last time out, Sharpendup rallied from behind a slow pace to finish third in a $10,000 starter optional claimer, beaten only 2 1/4 lengths.

If Sharpendup runs his typical race while returning to Louisiana Downs, he should be difficult or impossible to defeat. And since he’s facing only seven rivals, we should be able to spread deeper in the rest of our Super High 5 and still play the wager on a reasonable budget.

Underneath, we’ll emphasize #8 Reluctant Warrior (2-1). The seven-year-old gelding boasts a solid 9-2-3-2 record over the Louisiana Downs turf course, which includes an allowance win racing one mile last summer.

Reluctant Warrior has been competing at Fair Grounds and should fire a competitive effort while returning to Louisiana Downs. Jockey Jose Guerrero (a 30% winner at Louisiana Downs this meet) is named to ride for trainer Shane Wilson, who is winning at a 32% rate this meet. Together, they’ve gone 6-for-17 (35%) over the last two months.

Here’s how we’ll bet the Super High 5:

  • 50-cent Super High 5: 1 with 8 with 2,4,5,6,7 with 2,4,5,6,7 with 2,4,5,6,7 ($30)
  • 50-cent Super High 5: 1 with 2,4,5,6,7 with 8 with 2,4,5,6,7 with 2,4,5,6,7 ($30)
    Total: $60

Good luck!