Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Oct. 21

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October 21st, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $50 worth of picks and plays for Thursday, Oct. 21 at Keeneland and Belmont Park, along with suggested singles for the $4,610 mandatory-payout Pick 6 carryover at Presque Isle Downs.

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 Belmont Park and Remington Park.
  • 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.
  • $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.

Picks and plays

Keeneland, Race 2: Maiden special weight (6 1/2 furlongs, 1:32 p.m. ET)

#7 Society (10-1) looks ready to outrun expectations for trainer Wayne Mackey, a 22% winner with first-time starters. The chestnut filly is a daughter of hot young sire Gun Runner, whose starters have won at a 32% rate on debut.

Society has put together a lengthy work tab at The Thoroughbred Center, including a half-mile from the starting gate in :48 3/5. At 10-1, she is worth a win bet, and the Keeneland Fall Meet Bet Back promotion will allow us to receive a refund if she finishes second or third.

We’ll also play Society in the exacta, with fellow first-time starters #2 Gimme Candy (4-1) and #4 Maotai (3-1).

$10 to win on #7 Society
$2 exacta: 7 with 2,4 ($4)
$3 exacta: 2,4 with 7 ($6)
Total: $20

Belmont Park, Race 5: Maiden special weight (6 1/2 furlongs, 2:43 p.m. ET)

#6 In Fact (20-1) might be a longshot in this maiden sprint for juveniles, but he can factor on debut.

Sire American Pharoah won multiple Grade 1 races at age two and has sired 13% winners from first-time starters, while dam In Secure has produced four stakes winners, including a couple juvenile stakes winners.

In Fact has shown some speed in the morning and most notably clocked a half-mile from the Belmont Park training track starting gate in a bullet :47 3/5.

The experienced runners in Thursday’s field don’t appear too tough, so let’s place a small win bet on In Fact and see if he can surprise at double-digit odds.

$10 to win on #6 In Fact

Belmont Park, Race 7: Maiden special weight (1 1/16 miles, 3:49 p.m. ET)

#3 Predicted (6-1) wasn’t disgraced in his debut at Saratoga, where he finished fourth of nine in a seven-furlong maiden special weight. The winner has since competed in a couple Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races, while the runner-up came back to win his next start.

As a full-brother to Spinaway S. (G1) winner Sweet Loretta, Predicted has the pedigree to win at an early age. He has trained sharply since his debut, most notably clocked five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 2/5 at Belmont, and can step forward to defeat #5 Urban Forest (7-2) and #6 Mo Donegal (5-2) on Thursday.

In addition to an exacta play, we’ll take advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer and place a $10 win wager on Predicted.

$10 to win on #3 Predicted
$5 exacta: 3 with 5,6 ($10)
Total: $20

Carryover watch

Presque Isle Downs, Race 4: $4,610 Pick 6 mandatory payout (6 p.m. ET)

Thursday is closing day for the Presque Isle Downs race meet, and you know what that means — the carryover in the jackpot Pick 6 is slated for a mandatory dispersal.

A winning ticket for the 20-cent wager won’t be easy to construct. The six-race sequence contains 64 entries (10.7 per race) before scratches, which equates to 1,290,240 possible outcomes. Playing them all would cost $258,048.

We have identified a pair of bold singles to build tickets around. If you’re willing to take a stand with both, you can reduce the number of possible Pick 6 outcomes to a more manageable 20,160.

Race 4: #7 Boardwalk Bob (4-1)

#8 Huntin’ the Rut (5-2) is the morning-line favorite, after he finished second at this track, class level, and distance Oct. 11. But the four-year-old gelding has already run four times this month and misfired in a $15,000 maiden claimer Oct. 18, when he finished last by a wide margin.

We’ll try to beat him with Boardwalk Bob.

The son of Bellamy Road has placed three times against $7,500 maiden claiming company and has posted consistent (and competitive) Brisnet Speed ratings.

If Huntin’ the Rut fails to rebound, Boardwalk Bob is the logical choice to take advantage.

Race 8: #4 Grounded (5-2)

Several entrants in this six-furlong allowance sprint have run fast enough to vie for victory, but only one has does so consistently — Grounded.

A beautifully bred son of Medaglia d’Oro, out of an Empire Maker mare, Grounded has posted competitive Brisnet Speed ratings in the 81-85 range in all five of his starts at Presque Isle. He has even competed strongly at Thursday’s class level and distance, as he finished second Oct. 5, after he led past the eighth pole.

Grounded has tactical speed and will retain the services of jockey Pablo Morales, a 33% winner at Presque Isle this meet.

If Grounded runs his typical race, he can give leading trainer Timothy Hamm a winner on closing day.

Good luck!