Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for May 2

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

May 2nd, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $100 worth of picks and plays for Monday, May 2 at Thistledown and Turf Paradise, including a trio of exactas.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Exacta Insurance: Receive refunds on exacta bets (up to $10) if your two selected horses finish in the first three home (but not in the winning order) at Thistledown. Offer applies to straight exacta bets only.

Picks and Plays

Thistledown: Race 2: $12,500 Starter Optional Claiming (one mile, 1:20 p.m. ET)

#3 Two Eagles (4-1) has shown improvement since returning from a layoff and transitioning to the care of trainer Alejandro Murillo Rodriguez. After wiring a $6,500 claimer sprinting six furlongs at Mahoning Valley by 11 1/2 lengths, Two Eagles finished second in a $10,000 claimer over the same track and distance, earning a solid 86 Brisnet Speed rating while beaten only one length by a next-out winner.

Two Eagles brings serious early speed to the table and is facing a small field without much pace on paper, so he’ll have every opportunity to shake loose on an uncontested lead while stretching out over one mile. Two Eagles has won three times racing one mile or farther in the past, so let’s bet him to win and key him over #4 Oaks Honey (5-1) in a cold $10 exacta capitalizing on the Exacta Insurance promotion.

  • $25 to win on #3 Two Eagles
  • $5 Exacta: 3 with 4,5 ($10)
    Total: $35

Thistledown: Race 3: Allowance (six furlongs, 1:50 p.m. ET)

#1 Ol’ Ned (5-2) is all about speed. The three-year-old gelding has set the pace in each of his last five starts, winning three races (including a pair of allowance sprints) by daylight margins. He was particularly sharp on April 13, wiring a six-furlong allowance at Mahoning Valley by 5 1/2 lengths with a flashy 88 Brisnet Speed rating.

There isn’t a crazy amount of speed in Monday’s field, and the pace fractions Ol’ Ned posted last time out (:21.95 and :44.96) suggest he won’t have any trouble securing the early lead. He’s been running faster than his rivals on paper, and jockey Edgar Paucar has won at a 25% rate teaming up with trainer Robert Cline over the last two months, so we’ll bet Ol’ Ned to win and play him over #2 Romantic Cowboy (3-1), #4 Stone Cold Cat (4-1), and #5 Manga Man (9-2) in the exacta and trifecta.

  • $20 to win on #1 Ol’ Ned
  • $3 Exacta: 1 with 2,4,5 ($9)
  • $1 Trifecta: 1 with 2,4,5 with 2,4,5 ($6)
  • Total: $35

Turf Paradise: Race 3: $30,000 Maiden Optional Claiming (6 1/2 furlongs, 5:25 p.m. ET)

#5 Corageouschristine (6-1) ran okay in a $10,000-$7,500 maiden claimer sprinting five furlongs at Turf Paradise last month. After dropping well behind a fast pace, Corageouschristine gained ground late to finish fourth, earning a respectable 57 Brisnet Speed rating.

Corageouschristine is bred to run long, so stretching out over 6 1/2 furlongs should help her chances. Trainer Dan McFarlane wins at a 23% rate with second-time starters, and hot jockey Karlo Lopez has won at a lofty 41% rate teaming up with McFarlane over the last two months. Who’s to say Corageouschristine can’t step forward and spring a surprise over #2 Lucy K (5-1) and #7 Maclean’s Bella (2-1)?

We’ll play the race accordingly with a win bet and exacta.

  • $20 to win on #5 Corageouschristine
  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 2,7 ($10)
    Total: $30

Good luck!