Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Sept. 22

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

September 22nd, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, Sept. 22 at Presque Isle Downs and Indiana Grand, along with a ticket for Presque Isle’s $7,249 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 any race at Indiana Grand.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Happy Valley (Hong Kong).
  • Hoosier Park 5% Bet Back Banker: Get 5% back as a bonus on every wager (excluding show bets) made at Hoosier Park this Wednesday and Thursday.

Picks and plays

Presque Isle Downs, Race 1: Maiden special weight (six furlongs on Tapeta, 4:45 p.m. ET)

The two morning-line favorites in this sprint don’t appear unbeatable on paper.

#4 Apache Tears (2-1) owns the fastest Brisnet Speed rating in the field, but he hasn’t hit the board in four starts and has never run over a synthetic track. #5 Call Me Later (5-2) seems more likely to secure a minor award, after seconds in four straight races, including three at Presque Isle.

That’s why we’ll take a shot with #3 Quiet Amigo (7-2).

With just four starts under his belt, the three-year-old gelding still has upside for improvement. He ran just fine in his first sprint over the Presque Isle Tapeta three weeks ago, when he rallied to finish third, for a career-best 81 Brisnet Speed rating, and he has since come back to breeze a quick five furlongs at Presque Isle.

I’m optimistic Quiet Amigo will improve in his second sprint over the local surface, so let’s bet him to win and key him over the favorites in the exacta and trifecta.

$15 to win on #3 Quiet Amigo
$5 exacta: 3 with 4,5 ($10)
$2.50 trifecta: 3 with 4,5 with 4,5 ($5)
Total: $30

Indiana Grand, Race 6: Maiden special weight (five furlongs on turf, 5 p.m. ET)

#10 Royal County (2-1) might be winless in six starts, but her record is sharper than it appears at first glance.

She has cracked the trifecta in three of her four starts on turf, with her lone miss in a tough, 6 1/2-furlong sprint over the tricky European-style course at Kentucky Downs.

Royal County owns the four highest Brisnet Speed ratings in Wednesday’s field and prefers to race up front, which is an advantage, since 45% of five-furlong turf sprints at Indiana Grand are won by pacesetters. Throw in the fact trainer John Ennis has been hot at Indiana Grand this meet, with a 2-2-0 record from six starts (33%), and Royal County looks tough to beat.

To take advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Royal County. Then we’ll play her on top of a trifecta, with #2 Fabulous Philly (9-2), #5 Shegotthegoldmine (10-1), #6 Ineedagirllikeyou (6-1), and #8 Zipsy Rose Lee (15-1) underneath.

$10 to win on #10 Royal County
$1 trifecta: 10 with 2,5,6,8 with 2,5,6,8 ($12)
Total: $22

Indiana Grand, Race 9: Maiden special weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 6:33 p.m. ET)

#7 Faithful Notion (5-2) ran just fine in his debut at this track, distance, and class level three weeks ago.

After he settled at the back of a compact field, the two-year-old gelding rallied wide to finish second, beaten only two lengths, for a 61 Brisnet Speed rating that tops Wednesday’s field.

Trainer Robert Gorham wins at a 17% rate with second-time starters, so we’ll count on Faithful Notion to graduate in his second run under colors.

We’ll place a $10 win bet on Faithful Notion, then key him over #3 Justicethebeast (7-2), #4 Big Hat No Cows (5-1), and #8 Grand in Bay (4-1) in the trifecta.

$10 to win on #7 Faithful Notion
$2 trifecta: 7 with 3,4,8 with 3,4,8 ($12)
Total: $22

Carryover watch

Presque Isle Downs, Race 1: $7,249 Pick 5 carryover (4:45 p.m. ET)

Looking for a non-jackpot carryover to pursue Wednesday? Then check out Presque Isle Downs.

The 50-cent sequence spans the first five races on the evening card, and assembling a winning ticket won’t be easy, because the fields look competitive. But we’ll do our best to decipher the winning combination on a $12 budget.

Race 1: Maiden special weight (six furlongs)

#3 Quiet Amigo (7-2) has upset potential, but we’ll also include the consistent #5 Call Me Later (5-2).

Race 2: $12,500 claiming (one mile)

We’ll oppose the Finger Lakes shipper #2 Trappe the Dream (5-2), who has never run on synthetic, in favor of the fastest local runners — #5 Generalonamission (2-1) and #1 Gage Has a Gray (7-2). Both have earned solid Brisnet Speed ratings at the $12,500 claiming level.

Race 3: $12,500 claiming (six furlongs)

#1 Shomethesisters (5-1) has placed in her last two starts at this track, distance, and class level and earned sharp Brisnet Speed ratings of 75 and 70.

The only concern is her lack of early speed. If Shomethesisters winds up with too much ground to gain, the more tactical turf sprinter, #2 Cherokee Chatter (6-1), may hold upset potential in her first start for hot trainer Tim Girten.

Race 4: $5,000 claiming (one mile and 70 yards)

#7 Atlantic Sun (4-1) has cracked the exacta in three straight $5,000 claimers at Presque Isle and most recently finished second, by 1 1/4 lengths, at this distance.

But #4 Cloontia (5-2) — a 2 1/4-length winner at this track, distance, and class level one week ago — is a threat to win right back, in his second run over the local surface.

Race 5: $5,000 claiming (six furlongs)

#10 Charlie Charlie (3-1) hasn’t missed the trifecta in three starts this season, including a couple $5,000 claimers. He isn’t a standout in terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, but rather than back him up with a half-dozen challengers, we’ll take a shot and single Charlie Charlie to conclude the Pick 5.

50-cent Pick 5: 3,5 with 1,2,5 with 1,2 with 4,7 with 10 ($12)

Good luck!