Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Sept. 9
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, Sept. 9 at Kentucky Downs and Presque Isle Downs, along with horses to play in non-jackpot carryovers at Arlington Park and Canterbury Park.
Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:
- 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 Arlington Park and Presque Isle Downs.
- $16,000 Hoosier Park Pick 4 Hit It and Split It: Make a winning early Pick 4 wager at Hoosier Park to win a share of $1,000. Offer applies to the early Pick 4 (Races 3-6) at Hoosier Park every Thursday, from Aug. 19 through Dec. 2.
Picks and plays
#5 Beantown Baby (6-1) cracked the exacta in her first seven starts on turf, then finished third in the July 26 Andy Guest S. at Colonial Downs.
But that effort was arguably Beantown Baby’s best to date, as she charged a bit prematurely into blazing fractions of :21.02 and :43.95, then finished just a half-length away from victory. The top two finishers rallied from the very back of the pack and capitalized on the blazing pace.
If Beantown Baby receives a more relaxed journey Thursday, she can bounce back to the winner’s circle under jockey Joel Rosario, a 41% winner at Kentucky Downs this meet.
She is a standout on the Brisnet Prime Power rankings, so isn’t the thought of playing Beantown Baby at 6-1 enticing?
We won’t get too creative. We’ll just bet Beantown Baby to win and key her over Saratoga shippers #1 Richies Great Girl (5-2) and #2 Strong Odor (7-2) in the exacta.
$20 to win on #5 Beantown Baby
$5 exacta: 5 with 1,2 ($10)
#6 Pure Panic (6-1) ran strongly in his debut, a 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the Ellis Park turf course, where he tracked the pace and rallied gamely, through quick finishing fractions, to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths. The reward for his effort was a 78 Brisnet Speed rating.
Pure Panic switched to dirt for an off-the-turf renewal of the Skidmore S. at Saratoga, where he came in second, behind the undefeated, two-time stakes winner Averly Jane.
A return to grass can help Pure Panic bounce back for trainer Mike Maker, who has cracked the trifecta with 12 of his 24 starters (50%) at Kentucky Downs this meet.
A $10 win bet on Pure Panic will be our first order of business, but we’ll also make a $10 place bet on Pure Panic, to pursue the Kentucky Downs $12,000 Place Jackpot.
$10 to win on #6 Pure Panic
$10 to place on $6 Pure Panic
#4 Fuel the Bern (6-1) went out much too fast in a one-mile and 70-yard event at this class level last month, when he led by as many as a dozen lengths and threw down Brisnet E1 and E2 Pace ratings of 97 and 91. The son of Bernardini battled on gamely down the homestretch to finish second, behind #5 Ault (5-1).
If Fuel the Bern rations his speed more effectively Thursday, he can turn the tables on Ault and bring home top honors at a fair price. #6 Beyond Smart (9-2) is the other we’ll use for exacta purposes.
$20 to win on #4 Fuel the Bern
$5 exacta: 4 with 5,6 ($10)
If you’re keen to pursue the non-jackpot Pick 8 carryover for this 20-cent wager (which features a 15% takeout rate), we’ve identified a single you can build your wagers around.
Best single: Race 6, #9 One Putt Richie (7-2)
One Putt Richie never fired in a one-mile turf stakes at Arlington last month and finished seventh.
But we’ll draw a line through that effort, since One Putt Richie is a Polytrack sprinter at heart, and Thursday’s six-furlong, optional-claiming allowance looks like a much better fit for the son of Mizzen Mast.
One Putt Richie boasts a 3-1-0 record from four sprint starts over the Arlington Polytrack. His lone defeat came two starts back, when he finished second in a higher level optional-claiming allowance.
One Putt Richie has plenty of tactical speed and figures to enjoy a clean trip Thursday, which sets the stage for a winning effort.
Arlington isn’t the only track with a non-jackpot carryover on the table Thursday. Canterbury Park will join in on the action with its Pick 5, which features a 10% takeout rate.
Here are a couple noteworthy runners to consider.
Best single: Race 8, #9 Super Silver (9-5)
Super Silver sits atop the Brisnet Prime Power rankings by nearly 20 points in this one-mile, $5,000 claimer, and it’s not hard to understand why.
Formerly a capable $50,000 starter allowance competitor on the New York circuit (where he cracked the trifecta in five straight starts), Super Silver recently returned from a long layoff to win an $8,000 claimer at Monmouth Park.
Super Silver looms as a Brisnet Speed rating standout on the drop in class at Canterbury Park and should be tough to catch in his first start for high-percentage trainer Robertino Diodoro, a 28% winner at Canterbury this meet.
Live longshot: Race 5, #5 Don’t Box Me In (5-1)
Although Don’t Box Me In is the fourth choice on the morning line in this $40,000 maiden claimer for Minnesota-bred juveniles, the Joel Berndt trainee appears capable.
Don’t Box Me In has turned in a couple quick, half-mile workouts at Canterbury, and Berndt has eight wins from 31 starts (26%) with debut two-year-olds over the Canterbury main track since 2016.
The experienced runners in this field don’t appear formidable, so Don’t Box Me In may have as strong a chance as any to visit the winner’s circle.