Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Oct. 19

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

October 19th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Tuesday, Oct. 19 at Indiana Grand and Presque Isle Downs, along with a ticket for Penn National’s $1,549 Pick 5 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Midweek Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in select races at Parx.

Picks and plays

Presque Isle Downs, Race 2: $15,000 maiden claiming (six furlongs on Tapeta), 5:10 p.m. ET)

#5 Runaway Star (5-2) has been in sharp form since he arrived at Presque Isle during the summer. The four-year-old gelding has cracked the trifecta in four straight starts over the local Tapeta, including a trio of maiden special weights.

Along the way, Runaway Star has posted consistent Brisnet Speed ratings, in the 66-68 range, which establish his credentials among the fastest runners in Tuesday’s field. He brings tactical speed and should be able to edge #8 Mac Ninety (3-1) in the race to the winner’s circle.

$20 to win on #5 Runaway Star
$10 exacta: 4 with 8
Total: $30

Indiana Grand, Race 7: Maiden special weight (1 1/16 miles on turf, 5:31 p.m. ET)

If you are looking for a reliable win bet, or a horse to build multi-race wagers around, check out #2 Jimmy Dan (7-5) in this two-turn turf heat.

The son of renowned grass sire Kitten’s Joy has shown significant improvement since he transferred to the care of trainer Dallas Stewart. He finished third in a $40,000 maiden claimer at Saratoga, then improved to second in a maiden special weight over the same course.

Jimmy Dan should find the competition easier at Indiana Grand, which sets the stage for a breakthrough victory.

#1 Vail of Honor (7-2), who finished third against Indiana Grand maiden special weight company in his lone turf run, can complete the exacta.

$20 to win on #2 Jimmy Dan
$5 exacta: 2 with 1
Total: $25

Presque Isle Downs, Race 3: Maiden special weight (six furlongs on Tapeta, 5:35 p.m. ET)

#3 Zoombie (4-1) fired off an encouraging effort in his debut at this track, distance, and class level last month. Overlooked at 17-1, the son of Cross Traffic settled a couple lengths off the early tempo, then rallied gamely, through traffic, to finish third, 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner.

Zoombie was beaten just a head for second place by the more experienced #5 Youmustbea Weasley (3-1). Zoombie won’t need much improvement to turn the tables Tuesday, which makes his 4-1 morning-line odds enticing.

A win bet on Zoombie will be our first order of business, followed by an exacta, with Youmustbea Weasley for second place.

$20 to win on #3 Zoombie
$5 exacta: 3 with 5
Total: $25

Carryover watch

Penn National, Race 4: $1,549 Pick 5 carryover (7:22 p.m. ET)

If you’re used to playing 50-cent Pick 5s, you may have to double your budget for Tuesday’s Pick 5 carryover at Penn National.

The minimum bet amount for Penn National’s Pick 5 is $1, but that makes the potential for enticing payoffs higher, as well.

With that in mind, we’ll play Tuesday’s Pick 5 on a mid-range budget. We’ll include a couple singles, but we’ll also think outside the box in search of a mild upset or two.

Race 4: $16,000 claiming (one mile)

#2 Happycrest (8-5) finished second at this class level two starts back, but subsequently ran dead last in a $12,500 claimer.

Off that subpar performance, we’ll back up Happycrest with #1 Honesta (6-1) and #4 Mystery Item (9-5). The latter is a last-out maiden winner eligible to improve in her route debut.

Race 5: $16,000 claiming (one mile and 70 yards)

Only five horses have been entered, but this field is competitive, with several logical contenders.

We’ll spread with #2 Moon Meister (3-1), #4 Charging Lion (2-1), and #5 Sepicato (4-1).

Race 6: Allowance (one mile and 70 yards)

#3 Ninetypercentbrynn (2-1) will drop in class, after she finished fourth in pair of stakes for Pennsylvania-breds.

Three starts back, she dominated an allowance by six lengths and earned an 81 Brisnet Speed rating.

Ninetypercentbrynn looks tough to beat on her return to the allowance ranks.

Race 7: $10,000 claiming (1 1/16 miles)

#2 Rock Ridge (2-1) has faced much tougher company and even placed third in an allowance at Penn National two starts back.

But the stretch out to 1 1/16 miles is a question mark, which leaves #3 Soul Fight (6-1) and #4 All Tacked Up (3-1) as upset candidates.

Race 8: $4,000 claiming (six furlongs)

#3 Courting Jenny (3-1) wired a $4,000 claimer at Penn National last week by 3 3/4 lengths. She has excellent frontrunning speed and consistently produces strong Brisnet Speed ratings, which stamps Courting Jenny as a logical single for trainer Kimberly Graci.

$1 Pick 5: 1,2,4 with 2,4,5 with 3 with 2,3,4 with 3 ($27)

Good luck!