Keeler Johnson's picks and plays June 10

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

June 10th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Friday, June 10 at Churchill Downs and Belmont Park, including tickets for the $5,995 Super High 5 carryover at Churchill.

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 Laurel 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 Eagle Farm (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

Belmont Park: Race 3: Bed o’ Roses S. (G2, seven furlongs, 1:58 p.m. ET)

#1 Obligatory (2-1) placed second in the one-mile Acorn S. (G1) at Belmont last season and enters the Bed o’ Roses in red-hot form. The daughter of Curlin is rapidly developing into a top-class sprinter, dominating the 6 1/2-furlong Hurricane Bertie S. (G3) in her four-year-old debut before unleashing a tremendous last-to-first rally to win the Derby City Distaff (G1) by three-quarters of a length.

In the Derby City Distaff, Obligatory gained 4 1/2 lengths in the final furlong alone to prevail with a career-best 100 Brisnet Speed rating. Her three rivals in the Bed o’ Roses have all done their best work racing on or near the lead, so Obligatory should get the pace setup she needs to produce another rallying triumph over #3 Bella Sofia (1-1) and #2 Glass Ceiling (8-5).

A cold trifecta is the way we’ll play.

  • $25 Trifecta: 1 with 3 with 2

Churchill Downs: Race 6: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs, 3:18 p.m. ET)

#6 Reiquist (8-1) looks like a live longshot to win this maiden sprint for juveniles. A son of champion two-year-old Nyquist (who sires a respectable 15% winners from first-time starters), Reiquist is trained by William Morey, who wins at a 31% rate with horses debuting in maiden special weights.

Morey has gone 2-for-6 (33%) debuting juveniles in dirt sprints at Churchill Downs since 2021, and two of the losers cracked the trifecta. Reiquist has shown some speed in the mornings (even breezing a bullet three furlongs at Churchill in :35 3/5), so we’ll take advantage of the Churchill Downs Bet Back promotion and place a $10 win bet on Reiquist.

We’ll also box Reiquist in the exacta with #7 Gulfport (5-2), a promising Steve Asmussen trainee entering off fast workouts.

  • $10 to win on #6 Reiquist
  • $5 Exacta box: 6,7 ($10)
    Total: $20

Belmont Park: Race 8: Belmont Gold Cup (G2, two miles on turf, 4:42 p.m. ET)

Since the Belmont Gold Cup achieved graded status in 2018, European raiders have won all four editions. The first to strike was Red Cardinal, who entered off a victory in the two-mile Comer Group International Oleander-Rennen (G2) at Hoppegarten in Germany.

One of the key contenders in the 2022 Belmont Gold Cup is #1 Loft (4-1), who—coincidentally—won the Oleander-Rennen over soft ground in his 2022 debut. Stamina is clearly a strong suit for Loft, who has won or placed in three straight group stakes running 1 3/4 miles and farther. We’ll count on Loft to spring a mild surprise over two-mile H. Allen Jerkens S. winner #2 Abaan (5-2) and fellow European raider #4 Outbox (2-1).

  • $20 to win on #1 Loft
  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 2,4 ($20)
    Total: $40

Carryover Watch

Churchill Downs, Race 9: $5,995 Super High 5 carryover (4:55 p.m. ET)

Who’s ready to chase an enticing non-jackpot carryover at Churchill Downs? Friday’s race card features a $5,995 prize pool in the $1 Super High 5, which—as usual—is available to play in the final race of the day.

The closing event is Race 9, an $80,000 allowance optional claimer taking place over a one-turn mile on dirt. Nine horses have been entered, but a handful of logical favorites appear to rank a cut above the rest.

First and foremost is #6 Weyburn (5-2), who secured his signature victory in the 2021 Gotham S. (G3) racing a one-turn mile at Aqueduct. Weyburn has run twice this season, starting off with a stretch-running score in the seven-furlong Sir Shackleton S. at Gulfstream Park before coming home fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Alysheba S. (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Weyburn’s Alysheba effort was rock-solid. After setting the pace over a distance possibly farther than he wants to run, Weyburn found himself racing in tight quarters along the inside and actually bumped the rail twice. Despite these obstacles, Weyburn was only beaten 6 1/2 lengths by a tough group of rivals, including multiple graded stakes winner Olympiad and Grade 1 winner Happy Saver.

Dropping down in class and distance should make Weyburn tough to beat on Friday. Underneath, we’ll strongly emphasize #4 Southern District (3-1). The Chad Brown trainee has rallied to win his last two starts against allowance company on the New York circuit, posting competitive Brisnet Speed ratings of 103 and 96.

#3 Buck Moon (7-2) is another logical contender. A pure pacesetter, Buck Moon wired a $62,500 allowance optional claimer racing 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland in April, then came back to finish third in an $80,000 allowance optional claimer over the same distance at Churchill. Cutting back to a one-turn mile might suit Buck Moon just fine.

We can’t forget about #2 Candy Tycoon (6-1) either. He’s 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs, scoring both of his victories against $62,500 allowance optional claiming company. He was best by two lengths in a one-mile heat last fall and recently returned to Churchill with a 2 1/4-length score racing 1 1/16 miles; these victories yielded Brisnet Speed ratings of 102 and 98.

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

  • $1 Super High 5: 6 with 4 with 2,3 with 2,3,5,8 with ALL ($30)
  • $1 Super High 5: 6 with 2,3 with 4 with 2,3,5,8 with ALL ($30)
    Total: $60

Good luck!