Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Sept. 27

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September 27th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $75 worth of picks and plays for Monday, Sept. 27 at Thistledown, Indiana Grand, and Presque Isle Downs, along with a ticket for the mandatory-payout $560,737 Pick 5 carryover at Hastings.

Picks and plays

Thistledown, Race 4: Maiden special weight (six furlongs, 2:20 p.m. ET)

Among the experienced runners in this sprint for Ohio-bred fillies and mares, #7 Bossy Lady (2-1) is an obvious standout.

She has cracked the trifecta in three straight starts at this track and class level and has defeated all the other tested runners in the field multiple times.

But Bossy Lady has yet to run especially fast on the Brisnet Speed ratings scale, and her 0-2-1 record from six starts suggests she isn’t unbeatable at a short price.

Perhaps the first-time starter #6 Ashleys Cupcake (6-1) can steal the show.

A daughter of Dark Kestrel (who has sired 19% winners from first-time starters), Ashleys Cupcake has shown a bit of speed during morning training. On Sept. 5, she breezed a bullet half-mile from the Mountaineer starting gate in :47 4/5, which followed a bullet three-furlong breeze in :37 over the same track.

Let’s bet Ashleys Cupcake to win and play her over Bossy Lady in a cold exacta.

$20 to win on #6 Ashleys Cupcake
$10 exacta: 6 with 7
Total: $30

Indiana Grand, Race 8: Maiden special weight (7 1/2 furlongs on turf, 6:02 p.m. ET)

#6 Zipsy Rose Lee (8-1) was far from disgraced in her debut, a five-furlong dash over the Indiana Grand turf last month.

The daughter of Sky Mesa was outsprinted early, but gained ground down the lane to finish sixth, by four lengths behind the winner.

Trainer Anthony Granitz wins at a 30% rate with second-time starters, which suggests Zipsy Rose Lee will be sharper in her second start. The stretch out over 7 1/2 furlongs can also help her chances.

Assuming her 8-1 morning-line odds hold up, we’ll bet Zipsy Rose Lee to win and call it a day.

$20 to win on #6 Zipsy Rose Lee

Presque Isle Downs, Race 5: Peach Street S. (one mile and 70 yards on Tapeta, 6:25 p.m. ET)

#7 Betwithbothhands (10-1) never fired in the Mint Million S. (G3) last month, when he finished ninth over the tricky, European-style turf course at Kentucky Downs. But the son of Uncle Mo was previously in excellent form, with a fourth-place finish in the 1 3/16-mile Arlington S. (G3) and a win in a one-mile listed stakes over the Ellis Park turf.

Betwithbothhands has never run at Presque Isle, but his four wins from seven starts over synthetic tracks is encouraging, and trainer Armando Hernandez won with his only previous starter at Presque Isle this meet.

We won’t exactly bet with both hands, but at 10-1, we’ll gladly play the five-year-old gelding to win.

$25 to win on #7 Betwithbothhands

Carryover watch

Hastings Park, Race 4: $560,737 Pick 5 mandatory payout (8:09 p.m. ET)

The Pick 5 jackpot at Hastings Park is slated for a mandatory dispersal Monday, when a significant amount of fresh money is expected to enter the pool.

Let’s take a race-by-race look at the sequence for the 20-cent wager, then assemble a ticket on a ~$10 budget.

Race 4: $4,000 claiming (1 1/16 miles)

Former stakes performer #1 Pitch Count (3-1) has cracked the trifecta in his last three starts at this track, distance, and class level, with improving Brisnet Speed ratings of 67, 75, and 78.

But #3 We Got It Covered (8-1) and #7 Ace Deuce (7-2) have finished ahead of Pitch Count in recent starts, and the stretch-running #10 Simply Golden (10-1) may receive the pace setup he needs.

Race 5: $4,000 maiden claiming (6 1/2 furlongs)

#3 Keepingthedream (2-1) is favored, after he hit the board in four straight races at this track, distance, and class level.

But the 0-for-11 maiden finished just a head clear of #6 Harvest Day (7-2) on Sept. 8, and since Harvest Day is a lightly raced three-year-old with just four runs under his belt, the tables could be turned Monday.

Race 6: $6,250 claiming (1 1/16 miles)

#6 Not Yet (5-2) has won his last two starts at this track, distance, and class level, with sharp Brisnet Speed ratings of 82 and 80.

There should be enough pace in this field to set up Not Yet’s rally, and hot jockey Alexander Marti has the mount for high-percentage trainer Robert Gilker.

Not Yet looks like a logical single.

Race 7: $6,250 claiming (6 1/2 furlongs)

#6 Bluegrass Angus (9-5) has won five of his last six starts at this track, distance, and class level, but #2 The All Button (4-1) has posted competitive Brisnet Speed ratings against easier competition, and #1 Sanawar (9-2) has the stretch-running style to factor in this speed-laden sprint.

Race 8: $4,000 claiming (1 1/16 miles)

#2 Pineapple Tidbits (7-2) has competed against much tougher $16,000 claiming company and figures to appreciate the drop down in class for hot trainer Keith Pederson.

The same can be said of #6 Walkinthewalk (3-1), who has placed against stakes company at Hastings. One or the other should claim the finale.

20-cent Pick 5: 1,3,7,10 with 3,6 with 6 with 1,2,6 with 2,6 ($9.60)

Good luck!