Keeler Johnson's picks and plays June 14
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Tuesday, June 14 at Parx Racing, Presque Isle Downs, and Horseshoe Indianapolis, along with a horse to key in the $1,607 Super High 5 carryover at Louisiana Downs.
Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:
- Midweek Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in select races at Louisiana Downs.
- Trifecta Tuesday: Receive a 15% bonus (up to $25 per day) on winning trifecta tickets.
- Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in eligible races at Randwick (Australia).
- Royal Ascot $10 Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in select races at Royal Ascot (England).
Picks and Plays
Presque Isle Downs: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (4 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta, 2:51 p.m. ET)
Since 2020, trainer Timothy Hamm has compiled a stellar 11-4-2-1 record debuting two-year-olds at Presque Isle Downs. For those keeping count, that’s a 36% win rate and a 64% in-the-money rate.
These stats point toward Hamm’s first-time starter #3 Camino de Santiago (5-1) as the horse to beat in this maiden sprint for juveniles. Hamm has been hot this meet, going 8-for-25 (32%), and Camino de Santiago has been cranking out fast workouts in preparation for his debut. Throw in the presence of leading jockey Pablo Morales (a 30% winner at Presque Isle this meet), and Camino de Santiago looks tough to beat.
Camino de Santiago’s stablemate #2 Mikey Bananas (7-2) can battle with #10 Uncle Jock (9-2) to complete the exacta.
- $20 to win on #3 Camino de Santiago
- $5 Exacta: 3 with 2,10 ($10)
Parx Racing: Race 8: Neshaminy Match Series S. (1 1/16 miles on turf, 4:14 p.m. ET)
#5 Gladys (9-2) has held her own against quality competition in recent starts. Three starts back, she employed pacesetting tactics to finish third in the 1 1/8-mile Hillsborough S. (G2) behind future New York S. (G1) winner Bleecker Street. Most recently, Gladys overcame a slow pace to rally and win a 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claimer at Churchill Downs.
#7 High Opinion (2-1), placed three times against graded stakes company over the last year, is another logical contender. She exits a sold third-place finish behind Group 1 winner Rougir in the 1 1/16-mile Beaugay S. (G3) at Belmont Park.
We’ll box Gladys and High Opinion in a large exacta.
- $15 Exacta box: 5,7 ($30)
Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (one mile on turf, 4:34 p.m. ET)
#1 Shesacleverjustice (3-1) ran well against #7 Bickerments (7-2) in a 7 1/2-furlong turf test over this course and class level last month. Bickerments benefited from racing closer to a pedestrian pace than Shesacleverjustice, but Shesacleverjustice nevertheless closed ground furiously down the lane to finish just a neck behind Bickerments.
For Tuesday’s assignment, Shesacleverjustice will be ridden by hot jockey Marcelino Pedroza, a 21% winner this meet. If Shesacleverjustice gets a quicker pace to work with in this large field, I’m optimistic she can edge Bickerments in the sprint to the finish line and secure her maiden win.
- $20 to win on #1 Shesacleverjustice
- $10 Exacta: 1 with 7
Louisiana Downs, Race 7: $1,607 Super High 5 carryover (6:49 p.m. ET)
It’s not every day you can look at a carryover and realistically think to yourself, “I can win the entire pool.” But such an opportunity may exist on Tuesday at Louisiana Downs, where a modest (but potentially lucrative) $1,607 Super High 5 carryover is up for grabs.
Here’s the situation: the 50-cent wager is available to play in Race 7, an ultra-competitive $12,500 claimer for non-winners of two races lifetime. The distance is one mile on turf, but the majority of the entrants have never won on turf. Oh, and there are 14 entries: 12 in the main body of the field plus two also-eligible runners. Assuming 12 horses start (which seems like a certainty), there are 95,040 possible outcomes to consider.
All this is a roundabout way of saying there’s a good chance no one will hit the Super High 5 on Tuesday, which would trigger a double carryover. So if you happen to assemble the winning combination, it stands to reason there’s a good chance you’ll be the only player holding a winning ticket, thus giving you a sweep of the carryover plus Tuesday’s fresh money.
The hard part, of course, is constructing a winning ticket. Where do we even begin? There are plenty of directions to consider, but we recommend keying #4 Monarch Man (7-2) on top. Is he a certain winner? No, not at all. But there’s a lot to like about the son of globetrotting grass star Flintshire.
For starters, Monarch Man has already won on turf. In a $30,000 maiden claimer racing 1 1/16 miles over the Fair Grounds lawn last December, Monarch Man tracked the early pace before taking command to win by 1 3/4 lengths with a solid 79 Brisnet Speed rating.
Monarch Man has been beaten by double-digit margins in three subsequent starts at Fair Grounds, but two of those were on dirt, and his turf loss came against tougher competition in a $30,000 starter optional claimer. Returning to grass and dropping down to the $12,500 claiming level might be all Monarch Man needs to rebound. The fact jockey Jose Guerrero and trainer Shane Wilson have won at a 33% rate together over the last two months adds to the appeal.