Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Oct. 8

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October 8th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Friday, Oct. 8 at Keeneland, along with a ticket for Santa Anita’s $9,752 Super High 5 carryover.

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.
  • 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 Newmarket (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 Woodbine. Offer applies to straight exacta bets only.

Picks and plays

Keeneland, Race 6: Maiden special weight (six furlongs, 3:55 p.m. ET)

#12 Funny Business (8-1) has the appearance of a live longshot in this maiden sprint for juvenile fillies.

A daughter of hot young sire Gun Runner (who sires 32% winners from first-time starters), Funny Business enters off a series of quick workouts for trainer Brendan Walsh, who has compiled a 5-5-4 record from 31 starts (16% win rate) with first-time starters on dirt and synthetic tracks this season.

Funny Business is bred to win from an early age, considering her half-brother, Capitaine, placed in the Nashua S. (G2) as a juvenile. 

To take advantage of the Keeneland Fall Meet Bet Back promotion, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Funny Business, then key her over #6 Social Matrix (3-1) in the exacta.

$10 to win on #12 Funny Business
$5 exacta: 12 with 6
Total: $15

Keeneland, Race 7: Allowance (1 1/16 miles on turf, 4:30 p.m. ET)

#3 Crossfirehurricane (10-1), a Group 3 winner in Ireland last year, has largely struggled since he arrived in the U.S. for his 2021 campaign. The four-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy hasn’t finished better than sixth in a trio of graded stakes, though he was only beaten two lengths in the Del Mar H. (G2).

I’m optimistic Crossfirehurricane can produce a sharper effort with this drop in class and the addition of Lasix. Throw in the presence of hot jockey Florent Geroux (a 22% winner this year), and Crossfirehurricane is an intriguing play at 10-1.

To follow along with the Keeneland Fall Meet Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win wager on Crossfirehurricane.

$10 to win on #3 Crossfirehurricane

Keeneland, Race 9: Alcibiades S. (G1, 1 1/16 miles, 5:45 p.m. ET)

#1 Juju’s Map (5-2) and #10 Penny Saver (4-1) made great impressions when they broke their maidens on the Kentucky circuit.

Juju’s Map romped by 5 3/4 lengths in a one-mile maiden special weight at Ellis Park, while Penny Saver crushed a 1 1/16-mile event at Churchill Downs by 9 1/2 lengths.

Those eye-catching performances produced Brisnet Speed ratings of 95 and 93, which stamp Juju’s Map and Penny Saver as the fastest fillies in the Alcibiades.

We’ll place a $10 win bet on Penny Saver, who hails from the stable of five-time Alcibiades-winning trainer Kenny McPeek. We’ll take a slightly different approach with the exacta and box Juju’s Map and Penny Saver for a base amount of $10.

$10 to win on #10 Penny Saver
$10 exacta box: 1,10 ($20)
Total: $30

Carryover watch

Santa Anita, Race 1: $9,752 Super High 5 carryover (4 p.m. ET)

The racing week at Santa Anita begins with a bang Friday.

The opening race is a $25,000 claimer for fillies and mares at a mile on turf, and it features a $9,752 carryover in the $1 Super High 5, which gives bettors a non-jackpot prize pool to chase right off the bat.

The clear favorite on the morning line is #7 Go Greta (9-5). The three-year-old daughter of Bated Breath has faced tougher company than she’ll encounter Friday. During the winter, she finished second in a $100,000 optional-claiming allowance at a mile over the Santa Anita turf, and she has since contested pair of $80,000 optional claimers at Del Mar.

With three straight Brisnet Speed ratings in the 80-87 range, Go Greta is the filly to beat.

We’ll key her on top in the Super High 5, but who should we use underneath? That’s a tougher question.

There are many logical contenders to consider. The speedy #3 Frazzled (7-2) is a candidate, after she came home fifth in a $50,000 starter allowance at Del Mar, but she has finished behind #4 St Helena (5-1) in two of their three meetings this season. The latter filly placed twice against $50,000 optional-claiming allowance company during the spring at Santa Anita and should fire a competitive shot on the drop in class and return to her preferred course.

A longshot worth supporting is #6 Starship Sky (12-1), a runner-up in a $25,000 claimer at a mile over the Santa Anita lawn in June. She hasn’t seriously challenged in two recent starts against $32,000 company at Del Mar, but her Brisnet Speed ratings remain competitive, and she should find Friday’s conditions much more suitable.

Another wildcard to consider is #2 Aloha Kitten (4-1). The daughter of Kitten’s Joy will technically step up in class, after she finished second and fourth in a pair of $12,500 claimers at Gulfstream Park. But it is possible a switch in circuits will help Aloha Kitten produce a competitive effort.

We’ll round out our Super High 5 play with the stakes-experienced #8 Golden Voice (5-1).

$1 Super High 5: 7 with 3,4,6 with 3,4,6 with 2,3,4,6,8 with 2,3,4,6,8 ($36)

Good luck!