Keeler Johnson's picks and plays July 11

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

July 11th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, July 11 at Colonial Downs and Presque Isle Downs, including a pair of win bets focusing on the Colonial Downs $10 Bet Back offer.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Colonial Downs $10 Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in any eligible race at Colonial Downs.
  • Assiniboia Downs $1,000 Late Pick 4 Hit It and Split It: Hit the late Pick 4 at Assiniboia Downs on any of three days from July 11-13 to win your share of a $1,000 daily jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Colonial Downs: Race 2: Tyson Gilpin S. (5 1/2 furlongs on turf, 2:13 p.m. ET)

This turf sprint for Virginia-bred fillies and mares hasn’t drawn the toughest field, so why not take a creative chance with the first-time starter #5 Chambeau (10-1)? It might seem strange to bet an unraced five-year-old in a stakes, but there are several reasons to like Chambeau’s chances.

For starters, Chambeau is a daughter of Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Karakontie out of a Not for Love mare, so she’s bred to shine on turf. For another, Karakontie sires a solid 18% winners from first-time turf starters. Lastly, Chambeau has put together a flashy work tab at Laurel Park, breezing three straight half-miles in less than :48.

We’ll capitalize on the Colonial Downs $10 Bet Back promotion and place a $10 win bet on Chambeau. Then we’ll key her over #6 Still Alive (9-2) in the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #5 Chambeau
  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 6
    Total: $15

Presque Isle Downs: Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs on Tapeta, 2:24 p.m. ET)

The experienced entrants in this maiden dash for juvenile fillies haven’t run very fast on the Brisnet Speed rating scale, so we’ll give the first-time starter #6 Wine With a Rose (4-1) a chance to spring a mild upset.

Wine With a Rose is trained by Maria Bowersock, who has saddled a winner and a third-place finisher from four juvenile first-time starters at Presque Isle since 2020. Wine With a Rose has put together an encouraging work tab capped off with five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 and will be ridden by Ronald Allen Jr., a 21% winner teaming up with Bowersock over the last two months.

#4 Worldly Beauty (5-2) can complete the exacta under Presque Isle’s leading jockey Pablo Morales.

  • $20 to win on #6 Wine With a Rose
  • $10 Exacta: 6 with 4
    Total: $30

Colonial Downs: Race 8: Edward P. Evans S. (one mile on turf, 5:01 p.m. ET)

#3 Largent (1-1) won this race in 2020 as part of a hot streak that culminated with a close runner-up effort in the 2021 Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1). But the six-year-old gelding hasn’t cracked the trifecta in three starts since returning from a one-year layoff in January, suggesting he’s vulnerable to an upset.

We’ll take a shot with #1 Passion Play (3-1) instead. A two-race campaign in 2021 saw Passion Play win both the Bert Allen S. and the Edward P. Evans over the Colonial Downs turf course. He hasn’t run since September, but trainer Mary Eppler wins at a 21% rate with horses returning from layoffs of 90 days or more, and Passion Play’s work tab (including one mile at Pimlico in 1:43) shows promise.

Following along with the Colonial Downs $10 Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Passion Play before keying him over Largent in a cold exacta.

  • $10 to win on #1 Passion Play
  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 3
    Total: $20

Good luck!