Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Sept. 8

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September 8th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $75 worth of picks and plays for Wednesday, Sept. 8 at Kentucky Downs, Canterbury Park, and Assiniboia Downs.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Build Your Assiniboia Closing Day Bankroll: For every day you wager at least $100 in win, place, or win-place wagers at Assiniboia Downs from Aug. 30 through Sept. 14, receive a $5 bonus to wager on closing day at Assiniboia (Sept. 15). Wager $100 all eight racing days and receive an additional $100. For every $1,000 wagered from Aug. 30 through Sept. 14, receive an additional $50 bonus.
  • Kentucky Downs $12,000 Place Jackpot: Make a winning $10 place bet in at least five races at Kentucky Downs to win a share of a $500 daily jackpot. Make a winning $10 place bet in at least seven races at Kentucky Downs to win a share of a $1,500 daily jackpot. Players may earn a share of each daily bonus pool.
  • Midweek Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in select races at Kentucky Downs and Remington Park.
  • 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).

Picks and plays

Kentucky Downs, Race 10: Maiden special weight (one mile on turf, 6:25 p.m. ET)

Which filly owns the two fastest Brisnet Speed ratings in this maiden route for juveniles? That would be #9 Cailin Diana (9-2), who looks like a live win candidate at a fair price for trainer Brendan Walsh.

Cailin Diana endured a troubled start in her debut, a 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the Churchill Downs turf course, but nevertheless rallied gamely to finish sixth, with a 72 Brisnet Speed rating. She then improved to a 78 when she finished second in a one-mile maiden special weight over the Ellis Park turf, where she was beaten only a length by next-out Kentucky Downs stakes winner Turnerloose.

To take advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Cailin Diana. Then we’ll play her over coupled entrymates #1 Already Charming (3-2) and #1A Soft Touch (3-2) in a cold exacta.

$10 to win on #9 Cailin Diana
$10 exacta: 9 with 1
Total: $20

Canterbury Park, Race 10: Bella Notte Minnesota Distaff Sprint Championship S. (six furlongs, 9:40 p.m. ET)

Although #4 Star of the North (9-5) was beaten as an odds-on favorite in the Minnesota Oaks at Canterbury last month, it’s possible the one-mile and 70-yard distance was a bit too far for this speedy three-year-old.

Star of the North had previously dominated seven straight races (six of them sprints) by a minimum of 2 1/4 lengths, including a trio of stakes at Canterbury Park.

On Wednesday, Star of the North will cut back to six furlongs, a more suitable distance for her frontrunning speed. We’ll count on a rebound, bet her to win, and play her over #1 Clickbait (6-5) in a straight exacta.

$20 to win on #4 Star of the North
$5 exacta: 4 with 1
Total: $25

Assiniboia Downs, Race 1: Winnipeg Futurity (six furlongs, 8:35 p.m. ET)

#1 Diamond Digger (1-5) figures to start as an overwhelming favorite, after he won his first three starts at Assiniboia (including two stakes) by a minimum of 3 3/4 lengths.

A speed horse capable of setting or stalking the pace, Diamond Digger hails from the barn of high-percentage trainer Michael Nault and has already beaten three of his four Winnipeg Futurity rivals.

What’s not to like?

Well, nothing… except for the fact the one rival Diamond Digger hasn’t beaten, the filly #4 Cordillera (8-1), looks like a pretty promising runner. After she debuted with a fourth-place finish in the Debutante S. at Assiniboia, Cordillera squared off against males in a five-furlong maiden special weight and rallied to win by 2 3/4 lengths.

Cordillera finished fast, off a slow pace, and sprinted the final furlong in :12 3/5 to earn a 66 Brisnet Speed rating. That’s higher than the figures Diamond Digger has posted in two of his three starts, so I can envision a scenario where Cordillera thrives at Wednesday’s six-furlong distance and rallies to upset Diamond Digger at a big price.

We’ll bet Cordillera to win and play her over Diamond Digger in the exacta.

$20 to win on #4 Cordillera
$10 exacta: 4 with 1
Total: $30

Good luck!