Keeler Johnson's picks and plays July 27

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July 27th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, July 27 at Colonial Downs, Delaware Park, and Saratoga, along with horses to play in Pick 5 carryovers at Delaware Park and Finger Lakes.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Colonial Downs All-Stakes Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in any eligible stakes at Colonial Downs.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in eligible races at Goodwood (England).

Picks and Plays

Delaware Park: Race 4: $25,000 Maiden Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 2:00 p.m. ET)

#1A The Grayt Pumpkin (12-1) wasn’t disgraced in his debut sprinting five furlongs over this track and class level, racing in third place throughout. Trainer Anthony Pecoraro has won at a respectable 15% rate debuting juveniles at Delaware Park since 2017, but his win rate with experienced juveniles jumps all the way to 32%.

These stats suggest The Grayt Pumpkin can move forward in his second run under colors. Adding to the appeal is the fact The Grayt Pumpkin will be ridden by Jeremy Rose, a 22% winner this meet and a 44% winner teaming up with Pecoraro over the last two months.

At 12-1, The Grayt Pumpkin is worth betting to win and keying over #4 Cold Feet (3-1) and #6 The Colora Kid (6-1) in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #1A The Grayt Pumpkin
  • $5 Exacta: 1A with 4,6 ($10)
    Total: $30

Saratoga: Race 4: Honorable Miss H. (G2, six furlongs, 2:49 p.m. ET)

#2 Bella Sofia (1-2) dominated the Test S. (G1) at Saratoga last summer and remains in strong form, entering the Honorable Miss off victories in the Vagrancy H. (G3) and Bed o’ Roses S. (G2) at Belmont Park. She has the early speed to sit a favorable forwardly placed trip in this tiny field and should be tough to deny at a short price.

We’ll play Bella Sofia on top of a cold exacta using longshot #3 Amadevil (12-1) for second place. Amadevil is 7-for-8 facing easier competition on the Ohio circuit, and while stepping up in class is a question mark, her abundant tactical speed could lead to an easy trip.

  • $20 Exacta: 2 with 3

Colonial Downs: Race 8: Colonial Cup S. (1 1/2 miles on turf, 5:01 p.m. ET)

#2 Snap Decision (8-1) has spent the past several years competing over fences; in fact, he enters the Colonial Cup off a runaway victory in the three-mile Iroquois S. (G1).

But before Snap Decision took to jumping, he was a capable flat racer, even placing third in the 2017 Palm Beach S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Who’s to say Snap Decision can’t cut back in distance and gallop to an upset victory in the Colonial Cup?

We’ll take advantage of the Colonial Downs All-Stakes Bet Back promotion and place a $10 win bet on Snap Decision. Then we’ll key him over #7 Another Mystery (6-1) and #8 Cellist (3-1) in the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #2 Snap Decision
  • $5 Exacta: 2 with 7,8 ($10)
    Total: $20

Carryover Watch

Delaware Park, Race 3: $6,930 Pick 5 carryover (1:30 p.m. ET)

The 50-cent Pick 5 at Delaware Park features a modest 15% takeout rate. Even better, Wednesday’s sequence boasts a $6,930 non-jackpot carryover.

Looking for a single to build tickets around? #1A Sevier (7-2) in Race 6 (a six-furlong $20,000 starter optional claimer) might be worth a try. Whereas Sevier’s rivals have been largely struggling to crack the 90 Brisnet Speed rating plateau, Sevier has posted three straight figures in the 91-99 range.

Granted, these lofty figures have been achieved against easier $8,000 starter allowance company at Parx Racing. But Sevier has won two of his last three starts (including a six-furlong dash) and brings a lot of tactical speed to the table. He figures to work out a favorable trip on the front end for the hot jockey/trainer duo of Jaime Rodriguez and Jamie Ness (27% winners together over the last two months), cementing Sevier as a viable single.

Finger Lakes, Race 4: $22,328 Pick 5 carryover (2:31 p.m. ET)

No one hit the 50-cent Pick 5 on Tuesday at Finger Lakes, which means Wednesday’s card features an enticing $22,328 non-jackpot carryover.

A competitive sequence is on tap. If you’re looking for a live longshot to boost the prospective payoff, look no further than #5 Max for Short (8-1) in Race 8, a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight. Max for Short has never raced, but there’s a lot to like about the son of Union Jackson.

For starters, Max for Short is conditioned by hot trainer Stacy Torelli, who has compiled a stellar 15-5-2-5 record at Finger Lakes this meet. Torelli wins at a 29% rate overall with first-time starters and has gone 2-for-4 (50%) debuting horses at Finger Lakes since 2019, so there are lots of trainer stats in Max for Short’s favor.

There are also a couple of noteworthy jockey stats to highlight. Max for Short will be ridden by Jose Baez, a 23% winner at Finger Lakes this meet. And over the last two months, Baez has gone 3-for-8 (38%) teaming up with Torelli.

In short, all the angles suggest Max for Short is ready to outrun his odds on debut.

Good luck!