Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Sept. 29

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September 29th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, Sept. 29 at Thistledown, Indiana Grand, and Presque Isle Downs, including a ticket for Indiana Grand’s $45,997 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 Thistledown.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Greyville (South Africa).

Picks and plays

Thistledown, Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 1:50 p.m. ET)

#3 Good Idea (2-1) posted a field-best 78 Brisnet Speed rating when he finished second in his debut Aug. 9 at Thistledown. Good Idea dueled for the early lead, then weakened slightly to finish second, beaten only 1 3/4 lengths and 13 lengths clear of the third-place runner.

Good Idea regressed in a Sept. 8 maiden special weight at Thistledown, where he rallied belatedly to finish fourth. But the son of Buffum gained four lengths through the final furlong, and he finished just 1 3/4 lengths behind runner-up #1 Chromed Impulse (9-5), the favorite to win Wednesday’s test.

I believe Good Idea can turn the tables, and thanks to the Midweek Bet Back offer, we can place a $10 win bet on Good Idea and receive a refund if he comes in second.

We’ll also bet Good Idea on top of Chromed Impulse in a cold exacta.

$10 to win on #3 Good Idea
$10 exacta: 3 with 1
Total: $20

Indiana Grand, Race 6: Maiden special weight (five furlongs on turf, 5:00 p.m. ET)

Since 2017, trainer Wesley Ward has a 5-3-2 record from 13 starts with debut juveniles at Indiana Grand, which equates to a 38% win rate and a 77% in-the-money rate. Four of those winners came on turf, which suggests Ward’s #11 Liza’s Ready (5-2) will be tough to deny in this grass sprint for two-year-old fillies.

An unraced daughter of More Than Ready (who sires 13% winners on turf), Liza’s Ready was produced by Liza Too, the dam of juvenile debut winner and two-time stakes-winning sprinter Long Weekend. It is a pedigree geared toward speed and success from an early age, so there’s no reason to think Liza’s Ready won’t fire a strong shot on debut.

Let’s bet Liza’s Ready to win and play her on top of straight exacta and trifecta tickets.

$20 to win on #11 Liza’s Ready
$10 exacta: 11 with 7
$5 trifecta: 11 with 7 with 5
Total: $35

Presque Isle Downs, Race 6: $8,500 claiming (one mile and 70 yards on Tapeta, 6:50 p.m. ET)

There isn’t much speed in this two-turn claimer, which could lend an edge to the consistent #5 Cooper Crescent (3-1).

A pacesetting/pressing type who hasn’t missed the board in his last nine starts, Cooper Crescent has competed against tougher claiming company than he’ll face Wednesday. Three starts back, he won a $13,500 claimer at Presque Isle. Four starts back, he finished third in in a $20,000 claimer and earned a 84 Brisnet Speed rating.

After he sharpened up with a fourth-place finish in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint at Presque Isle, Cooper’s Crescent should be ready for a strong effort. Trainer Mark Hoffman strikes at a 23% rate with horses who stretch out from a sprint to a route, and the drop to the $8,500 claiming level should also help Cooper’s Crescent’s chances.

A win bet will be our first order of business, followed by an exacta, with Cooper’s Crescent over logical favorite #2 Ault (8-5), who was victorious in his last two starts at the $8,500 claiming level.

$20 to win on #5 Cooper Crescent
$10 exacta: 5 with 2
Total: $30

Carryover watch

Indiana Grand, Race 5: $45,997 Pick 5 carryover (4:29 p.m. ET)

If you like betting maidens, you’ll love Wednesday’s Pick 5 carryover at Indiana Grand. Four of the five races in the 50-cent wager are maiden special weight events.

Let’s take a race-by-race look at the Pick 5, then assemble a ticket on a $48 budget.

Race 5: Maiden special weight (one mile)

#8 Gio’s Baby Girl (1-1) is the clear morning-line favorite, after she finished second in her first two starts at this track and class level, with Brisnet Speed ratings of 53 and 52. But #4 Amazingness (4-1) posted a 55 when she finished second in a one-mile maiden special weight at Indiana Grand last month, so we’ll use both to kick off the Pick 5.

Race 6: Maiden special weight (five furlongs on turf)

We’ve already outlined a strong case for #11 Liza’s Ready (5-2), so we’ll make the Wesley Ward trainee a short-priced single.

Race 7: Maiden special weight (5 1/2 furlongs)

#6 Me and Chili (6-5) finished second as the 4-5 favorite in his debut at this track, distance, and class level Sept. 1.

He can challenge for victory in his second start for trainer Bernard Flint, a 29% winner with horses beaten as the favorite in their previous start.

But #7 Faithful Notion (9-2) earned a better Brisnet Speed rating when he finished second in a similar maiden sprint Sept. 1, so victory isn’t guaranteed for Me and Chili.

Race 8: Maiden special weight (one mile on turf)

#11 February Son (7-2) wasn’t disgraced when he finished fourth in a 1 1/2-mile maiden special weight Sept. 5 at Kentucky Downs. That followed a pair of close, runner-up efforts at a mile over the Indiana Grand lawn, which stamps February Son as a key contender.

But this is a deep field, so we’ll spread deep, with #4 Simon Peter (12-1), #6 Kid Shelleen (9-2), #7 Tropical Tornado, #8 Dynablue (3-1), and #10 American Diamond (12-1).

Race 9: Allowance (six furlongs)

#1 Justa Simple Girl (5-2), #4 Royal’s Girl (7-2), and #8 Tappin Into Summer (3-1) have all placed at this class level, and all bring competitive Brisnet Speed ratings. Throw in #3 Thunderstruck (5-1) for hot trainer Jeffrey Greenhill, and we should have the finale covered.

50-cent Pick 5: 4,8 with 11 with 6,7 with 4,6,7,8,10,11 with 1,3,4,8 ($48)

Good luck!