Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Oct. 1

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October 1st, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Friday, Oct. 1 at Churchill Downs and Santa Anita, plus suggested singles for the $53,716 Pick 6 carryover at Belmont Park.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Churchill Downs Bet Back: Get the value of your win bet back in bonus credit (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in eligible races on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Sept. 17 through Oct. 3 at Churchill Downs.
  • The Everest Carnival $15,000 Leaderboard: Place $10 win bets to play for your share of the $15,000 The Everest Carnival Leaderboard competition every Friday, from Oct. 1-29, at selected Australian tracks.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Ascot (United Kingdom).
  • 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 Santa Anita. Offer applies to straight exacta bets only.

Picks and Plays

Churchill Downs, Race 6: $80,000 optional-claiming allowance (six furlongs, 3:18 p.m. ET)

#1 Freelancer (3-1) made an excellent impression in his Aug. 8 debut, a six-furlong sprint at Ellis Park. After he dueled for the lead, through quick fractions of :22.41 and :45.36, the Godolphin homebred kicked away and ran the final-quarter mile in :24.43 to beat a strung-out field by 2 3/4 lengths.

Freelancer reached the finish line in 1:09.79 to earn an 89 Brisnet Speed rating, the best figure in Friday’s field. The son of Medaglia d’Oro has trained strongly since and will stick to the same six-furlong distance at Churchill Downs, which sets the stage for a triumphant second start.

To take advantage of the Churchill Downs Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Freelancer, then key him on top of a deep trifecta ticket.

$10 to win on #1 Freelancer
$1 trifecta: 1 with 2,3,4,6 with 2,3,4,6 ($12)
Total: $22

Santa Anita, Race 5: Speakeasy S. (five furlongs on turf, 6 p.m. ET)

#4 Forbidden Kingdom (2-1) showed impressive grit and determination to win his debut, a 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the Del Mar dirt. The Richard Mandella trainee carved out fast splits of :21.92 and :45.51, then dug deep down the homestretch to win by a half-length, over Kamui, who came back to dominate his second start by six lengths.

From a pedigree perspective, Forbidden Kingdom should handle the switch to turf. Sire American Pharoah won the 2015 Triple Crown but has developed a reputation for passing on turf prowess, with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) winner Four Wheel Drive among his most successful progeny.

#7 Time to Party (4-1) can battle with the undefeated duo of #2 One Timer (5-2) and #5 Miss Alacrity (5-2) for the minor awards.

$20 to win on #4 Forbidden Kingdom
$2.50 trifecta: 4 with 7 with 2,5 ($5)
$2.50 trifecta: 4 with 2,5 with 7 ($5)
Total: $30

Santa Anita, Race 6: Chandelier S. (G2, 1 1/16 miles, 6:30 p.m. ET)

The undefeated #4 Grace Adler (9-5) is the morning-line favorite, after she dominated the Del Mar Debutante (G1) by 11 1/4 lengths. But the daughter of Curlin was the beneficiary of a pace meltdown and might not receive as favorable a setup Friday.

Instead, we’ll favor #1 Electric Ride (3-1). Trained by John Sadler, Electric Ride was breathtaking in her Aug. 28 debut, a six-furlong sprint at Del Mar, where she tracked the early pace and kicked clear to win by 8 1/2 lengths. She was never asked for her best but still managed to produce a 90 Brisnet Speed rating.

There isn’t a ton of speed in the Chandelier, so if Electric Ride secures a comfortable, pace-stalking trip, she can prove tough to catch down the homestretch.

We’ll bet Electric Ride to win and key her on top of a trifecta.

$20 to win on #1 Electric Ride
$2 trifecta: 1 with 2,3,4 with 2,3,4 ($12)
Total: $32

Carryover watch

Belmont Park, Race 4: $53,716 Pick 6 carryover (2:34 p.m. ET)

The Friday card at Belmont Park might not be packed with graded stakes, but it has an enticing draw for bettors — a carryover in the $1 Pick 6.

A complicated sequence is on tap for the non-jackpot wager. Every race contains at least eight horses, and there are 64 entries before scratches, which equates to 1,216,512 possible outcomes.

If you’re keen to play the carryover on a reasonable budget, we’re here to help with a couple suggested singles.

Race 4: #7 Cazilda Fortytales (8-5)

Cazilda Fortytales looks like a class standout. The four-year-old filly performed admirably against tougher company during the Saratoga meet, where she finished second and third in a pair of $25,000 claimers.

Cazilda Fortytales owns strong Brisnet Speed ratings and is versatile in terms of running style, so a clean trip should be in the offing under jockey Irad Ortiz. Trainer Orlando Noda also wins at a 21% rate in claiming races, so we should have a recipe for victory.

Race 8: #8 Myhartblongstodady (8-5)

With the exception of two graded stakes attempts, Myhartblongstodady hasn’t missed the board in 14 starts, which includes a 5-3-2 record from 13 starts on turf.

The six-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy is consistent against allowance and listed stakes company, and most recently came home second by less than a length in the Yaddo H., against fellow New York-breds at Saratoga.

With recent Brisnet Speed ratings of 91 and 92, Myhartblongstodady is fast enough to vie for victory in the John Hettinger S.

The 1 1/8-mile distance over Belmont’s inner turf course should suit Myhartblongstodady, and she finished ahead of key rivals #9 Classic Lady (5-2) and #1 Pecatonica (4-1) in the Yaddo.

If Myhartblongstodady runs her typical race, she can win the John Hettinger as a short-priced single.

Good luck!