Keeler Johnson's picks and plays July 20

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

July 20th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, July 20 at Colonial Downs, Delaware Park, and Saratoga, along with a ticket for the $994 Super High 5 carryover at Mountaineer.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in eligible races at Naas (Ireland).

Picks and Plays

Delaware Park: Race 1: $40,000 Maiden Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 12:30 p.m. ET)

#2 Super Rocker (5-2) ran strongly in his debut against maiden special weight company at Delaware Park last month, dueling for the lead before weakening slightly to finish third by 2 1/4 lengths. His performance was flattered when runner-up Chickieness returned to win his next start against similar competition.

Adding Lasix and dropping down into the maiden claiming ranks can send Super Rocker to the winner’s circle under hot jockey Mychel Sanchez, a 23% winner this meet.

#1 Swifty Devil (8-1) and #4 Dagda (3-1) can battle for exacta honors.

  • $15 Exacta: 2 with 1,4 ($30)

Saratoga: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 3:21 p.m. ET)

#3 Numero Seis (4-1) showed promise in her debut for trainer Joe Sharp, especially considering Sharp wins at only an 8% rate with first-time starters. Sent off at 15-1 in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs, Numero Seis tracked the early pace before staying on to finish third by 2 1/2 lengths.

This effort produced a 75 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest figure in Wednesday’s field. Sharp wins at a 16% rate with second-time starters and has gone 3-1-0-1 (33% wins, 67% in the money) to start the Saratoga meet, suggesting Numero Seis is a logical win threat.

#2 U Glow Girl (5-2), #4 Whatchamacall (5-1), and #5 Leave No Trace (4-1) are logical contenders worth supporting in the exacta and trifecta.

  • $6 Exacta: 3 with 2,4,5 ($18)
  • $2 Trifecta: 3 with 2,4,5 with 2,4,5 ($12)
    Total: $30

Colonial Downs: Race 5: $8,000 Claiming (1 1/16 miles on turf, 3:37 p.m. ET)

Trainer Michael Trombetta is off to a hot start at Colonial Downs, going 13-4-1-2 (31%) so far, and Trombetta can potentially pick up another win courtesy of #8 Captain Thunder (10-1). In his first start under Trombetta’s care, the seven-year-old gelding stalked a swift pace in a $12,500 claimer at Laurel before weakening to finish seventh, beaten six lengths.

Dropping down to the $8,000 level should suit Captain Thunder just fine, especially if the early tempo is more relaxed. The class drop is actually sharper than it first appears, since Wednesday’s race is restricted to horses who haven’t won a race since Jan. 20, whereas the $12,500 claimer at Laurel was open to all comers.

A win bet on Captain Thunder will be our primary play, followed by an exacta using #7 Thomond Park (7-2) for second place.

  • $15 to win #8 Captain Thunder
  • $5 Exacta: 8 with 7
    Total: $20

Carryover Watch

Mountaineer, Race 8: $994 Super High 5 carryover (9:55 p.m. ET)

Looking for a carryover to chase on Wednesday evening? Then you might want to check out the action at Mountaineer, where an eight-race card concludes with a $994 non-jackpot Super High 5 carryover up for grabs.

Race 8 is a $4,000 claimer for horses who haven’t won a race within the last year. Seven horses have been entered, which means there are only 2,520 possible outcomes to consider.

There isn’t much speed in the mix, which could lend an advantage to #3 Gaultier (9-2). The only obvious frontrunner in the field exits a pair of placed efforts over this track and class level. On June 26, he set the pace before fading to finish third. Then on July 10, Gaultier escaped with a daylight lead through pedestrian fractions before settling for second place, beaten half a length.

But don’t overlook morning line favorite #1 Fred’s Country Boy (2-1), who routinely tracks the pace. He failed to seriously challenge when fourth in a $5,000 claimer sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on synthetic at Presque Isle Downs last month, but switching to dirt, dropping in class, and stretching out in distance can trigger a turnaround. The last time Fred’s Country Boy competed over this surface, distance, and class level, he finished third by one length at Mahoning Valley.

Who are the other key players? #5 Lucky Andy (5-2) misfired in his latest run, but that was a $7,500 claimer at Thistledown, and overall his Brisnet Speed ratings are fast enough to vie for victory while dropping in class. #2 Ry’s Revenge (8-1) has hit the board in four of his five starts against $4,000 claiming company at Mountaineer this year, so a top-five finish is well within reach. And #7 Crazy Idea (4-1) boasts a bevy of top-four finishes against $5,000 company at Charles Town, so he’s eligible to factor in his first start for trainer Eddie Clouston, who wins at a 24% rate with new additions to his barn.

Here’s how we’ll bet the Super High 5:

  • $1 Super High 5: 1,5 with 1,3,5 with 1,2,3,5 with 1,2,3,5,7 with ALL ($48)

Good luck!