Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Oct. 15

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October 15th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $75 worth of picks and plays for Friday, Oct. 15 at Keeneland and Remington Park, plus a ticket for the $810 Super High 5 carryover at Gulfstream Park.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Keeneland Fall Meet Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in select races at Keeneland.
  • Hoosier Park Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Hoosier Park.
  • $16,000 Hoosier Park Pick 4 Hit It and Split It: Make a winning early Pick 4 wager at Hoosier Park to win a share of $1,000. Offer applies to the early Pick 4 (Races 3-6) at Hoosier Park every Thursday from Aug. 19 through Dec. 2.
  • Hoosier Park Pick 5 Hit It and Split It: Make a winning late Pick 4 wager at Hoosier Park to win your share of a $3,000 bonus jackpot.
  • 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.
  • 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 Remington Park. Offer applies to straight exacta bets only.

Picks and plays

Keeneland, Race 3: Maiden special weight (1 1/16 miles, 2:04 p.m. ET)

#6 Waxman (7-5) ran a strong race in his debut at Saratoga last month.

Overlooked at 12-1 in a seven-furlong maiden sprint, Waxman was always prominent and battled gamely down the homestretch to finish second, for a 94 Brisnet Speed rating. The strength of this performance was flattered when third-place finisher Cody’s Wish returned to comfortably win his next start at Churchill Downs, in a fast time.

Don’t be surprised if Waxman likewise follows up with a victory. As a son of Belmont S. (G1) winner Empire Maker, out of a mare by Pulpit, Waxman is bred to relish the stretch out to 1 1/16 miles.

#2 Realm of Law (8-5), runner-up in a one-mile maiden special weight at Keeneland during the spring, can complete a cold exacta.

$25 exacta: 6 with 2

Keeneland, Race 9: Buffalo Trace Franklin County S. (5 1/2 furlongs on turf, 5:16 p.m. ET)

#4 Campanelle (7-2) has four wins from five starts in turf sprints and won multiple Group 1 races in Europe along the way. The Wesley Ward trainee is a formidable speedster, and her lone sprint defeat came when she reared at the start of the Prix Maurice de Gheest (G1) in France two months ago.

Hot jockey Joel Rosario is named to ride Campanelle on Friday, which stamps the daughter of Kodiac as a logical favorite.

If her 7-2 morning-line odds hold up, she’ll be worth betting to win. Thanks to the Keeneland Fall Meet Bet Back offer, we can even receive a refund if Campanelle finishes second or third. But we’ll also play Campanelle over #9 Elle Z (8-1) and #12 Change of Control (4-1) in the exacta.

$10 to win on #4 Campanelle
$5 exacta: 4 with 9,12 ($10)
Total: $20

Remington Park, Race 7: Oklahoma Classics Juvenile S. (six furlongs, 11:01 p.m. ET)

Who is the fastest horse entered in this sprint for Oklahoma-bred juveniles? That would be #5 Legionary (5-1).

After he finished second and fourth in his first two starts at Prairie Meadows (including a restricted stakes), the chestnut gelding squared off against fellow Oklahoma-breds in a five-furlong maiden special weight at Remington Park, where he parlayed an outside, pressing trip into a one-length victory.

That effort produced a 78 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest figure in the Oklahoma Classics Juvenile field. And since trainer Scott Young wins at a 22% rate with last-out maiden winners, there’s no reason to think Legionary won’t produce a similar effort Friday.

The son of Dominus has trained sharply for his stakes debut, with a bullet half-mile in :47 2/5 at Remington last week.

Let’s bet Legionary to win, then play him over #1 Rowdy Rascal (4-1) in a straight $10 exacta, to take advantage of the Exacta Insurance promotion.

$20 to win on #5 Legionary
$10 exacta: 5 with 1
Total: $30

Carryover watch

Gulfstream Park, Race 1: $810 Super High 5 carryover (12:50 p.m. ET)

Friday’s card at Gulfstream kicks off with an $810 Super High 5 carryover in Race 1, a $20,000 maiden claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track.

In terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, the field’s fastest entrant is #3 Proud Contender (5-2). The son of Jess’s Dream threw down an 89 when he finished second in a maiden special weight against Florida-breds last winter, and he’s continued to compete well against tougher company this season, as he finished third in a pair of $35,000 maiden claimers during the summer.

But there are two reasons to be wary of Proud Contender at a short price. His 0-2-3 record from 11 starts indicates this stretch-running colt tends to be more of a “pick up the pieces” type than a win candidate. He also faltered without an obvious excuse in his most recent effort, a sixth-place finish in a $35,000 maiden claimer at Gulfstream on Aug. 27.

Instead of focusing on Proud Contender, we’ll key #6 King Force (2-1) on top of our Super High 5 tickets.

The son of Florida Derby (G1) winner Dialed In has done it all. He has run long on dirt, short on dirt, long on turf, and short on turf. But sprints on dirt are clearly his forte. His last two efforts under such conditions produced third-place efforts against open maiden special weight company at Gulfstream.

King Force’s Brisnet Speed ratings are competitive, and he enters off a sharp half-mile workout. Throw in the presence of hot jockey Edwin Gonzalez, and we should have a recipe for victory.

Underneath King Force, we’ll emphasize Proud Contender and #2 Give Me Two Steps (9-2). The latter showed some tactical speed when he finished third in a $35,000 maiden claimer at Gulfstream last month and should be competitive on the drop in class.

Finally, we’ll use the first-time starter #4 Wind Ninety Nine (4-1) and the consistent #7 Dr. Roger (10-1) for third and fourth place, then hit the “all” button for the final slots on our tickets.

$1 Super High 5: 6 with 2,3 with 2,3 with 4,7 with 1,4,5,7 ($12)
$1 Super High 5: 6 with 2,3 with 4,7 with 2,3 with 1,4,5,7 ($12)
Total: $24

Good luck!