Keeler Johnson's picks and plays July 1

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

July 1st, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $75 worth of picks and plays for Friday, July 1 at Delaware Park and Churchill Downs, including three exactas.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Exacta Insurance: Receive refunds on exacta bets (up to $10) if your two selected horses finish in the first three home (but not in the winning order) in select races at Monmouth Park. Offer applies to straight exacta bets only.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in eligible races at Rosehill (Australia).
  • Churchill Downs Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in select races at Churchill Downs.

Picks and Plays

Delaware Park: Race 4: $25,000 Maiden Claiming (five furlongs, 2:00 p.m. ET)

Since 2020, trainer Andrew Simoff has compiled an epic 5-for-8 (63%) record debuting juveniles at Delaware Park. This stat points toward #4 Tough Game (4-1) as a key contender to win her first start on Friday at Delaware.

A daughter of Mastery (who won a Grade 1 at age two), Tough Game was produced by the Stormy Atlantic mare In the Rough, who broke her maiden as a juvenile before going on to win a stakes early in her sophomore season. There are certainly reasons to believe Tough Game can mature early and win her debut under hot jockey Jaime Rodriguez, a 28% winner at Delaware this year.

Fellow first-time starter #5 Golden Neve (7-2) can complete the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #4 Tough Game
  • $5 Exacta: 4 with 5
    Total: $25

Churchill Downs: Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs, 3:50 p.m. ET)

#9 Personal Pursuit (7-2) looks like a promising filly for Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse. Sold for $500,000 as a yearling, the daughter of three-time leading sire Tapit was produced by Maddie’s Odyssey, whose previous foals include a quartet of stakes winners.

Personal Pursuit has put together a solid work tab and will be ridden on Friday by Churchill’s leading jockey Tyler Gaffalione, setting the stage for a winning run. We’ll bet Personal Pursuit to win and key her over #5 Sugar Mamas Cakery (9-2) and #10 Collected Glory (15-1) in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #9 Personal Pursuit
  • $5 Exacta: 9 with 5,10 ($10)
    Total: $30

Churchill Downs: Race 10: $62,500 Allowance Optional Claiming (1 1/16 miles, 5:26 p.m. ET)

#9 Decision Maker (8-1) was compromised by a slow pace when rallying to finish third in a 1 1/8-mile event over this track and class level on June 5. He had previously won his last four dirt starts with big rallies, including a 1 1/4-mile allowance at Churchill Downs last fall.

Decision Maker has earned triple-digit Brisnet Late Pace ratings in each of his last three starts, so if he receives a quicker pace to chase in Friday’s large field, he can rally to an upset victory for hot trainer Thomas Van Berg.

Taking advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Decision Maker. Then we’ll key him over #1 Scarlet Fusion (4-1) and #10 Roderick (10-1) in the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #9 Decision Maker
  • $5 Exacta: 9 with 1,10 ($10)
    Total: $20

Good luck!