Keeler Johnson's picks and plays June 16

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

June 16th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, June 16 at Delaware Park and Presque Isle Downs, along with a horse to single in the $31,363 Pick 5 carryover at Charles Town.

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 Canterbury Park.
  • $1,000 Hoosier Park Pick 4 Hit It and Split It: Hit the early Pick 4 at Hoosier Park on any Thursday from June 9-30 to win your share of a $1,000 weekly jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Delaware Park: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs, 2:00 p.m. ET)

#3 Riccio (9-5) ran a strong race in his debut sprinting 4 1/2 furlongs at Laurel Park last month. The son of Cross Traffic produced a big rally from third place to finish second by three-quarters of a length.

This effort produced an 83 Brisnet Speed rating, higher than the par winning figure for Thursday’s conditions, and Riccio’s performance was flattered when third-place finish Pompous Prince returned to win his next start. We’ll count on Riccio to get the job done on Thursday while adding Lasix for hot trainer John Robb, who has gone 6-2-2-0 (33%) to start the Delaware Park meet.

First-time starters #1 Citi Creek (6-1), #2 Midnight Trouble (5-2), and #6 Catchhimandfreehim (7-2) can battle for spots in the exacta and trifecta.

  • $6 Exacta: 3 with 1,2,6 ($18)
  • $2 Trifecta: 3 with 1,2,6 with 1,2,6 ($12)
    Total: $30

Presque Isle Downs: Race 7: $40,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (six furlongs, 4:12 p.m. ET)

Former New York campaigner #2 Madam Maclean (5-1) ran strongly in her Presque Isle debut last month. She carved out a solid pace in a $32,000 allowance optional claimer before battling on to win the six-furlong sprint by a nose, earning a career-best 86 Brisnet Speed rating.

Trainer Timothy Hamm has been on fire at Presque Isle this meet, going 11-for-31 (35%), so we’ll count on Madam Maclean to keep her momentum rolling in her second start over this track. We’ll bet her to win and key her over #5 Forgotten Peace (8-5) in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #2 Madam Maclean
  • $10 Exacta: 2 with 5
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Charles Town, Race 4: $31,363 Pick 5 carryover (8:25 p.m. ET)

Thursday is shaping up to be a big day at Charles Town in West Virginia. The six-furlong bullring racetrack heads into the evening with a lucrative $31,363 carryover in the 50-cent Pick 5, a non-jackpot wager featuring a low 12% takeout rate.

If you want to win a share of the carryover, you had better come prepared for a meaningful handicapping challenge. The five-race sequence contains 42 entries (averaging 8.4 per race) and 39,690 possible outcomes before scratches.

Wouldn’t it be nice to identify a trustworthy single to build tickets around? Sure it would, because a single would drastically simplify the challenge (and expense) of playing the Pick 5. Fortunately, Race 7—a 6 1/2-furlong allowance for West Virginia-breds—offers such a possibility.

Only seven horses will face the starter, and #4 No Change (2-1) looms as a formidable favorite. True, he was beaten to second place over this track and distance on May 13. But that race was an unrestricted allowance, and No Change rallied gamely to miss victory by only a neck.

Overall, No Change boasts an impressive 20-9-6-2 resume at Charles Town, which happens to mirror his lifetime record—he’s never run anywhere except Charles Town. He also boasts a solid 6-2-3-0 record dashing 6 1/2 furlongs.

Dropping into the West Virginia-bred ranks might be all No Change needs to vie for victory. Prior to his May 13 defeat, No Change had won four straight races, including the seven-furlong Confucius Say S. against West Virginia-bred company. There appears to be enough pace in Thursday’s field to enhance No Change’s stretch kick, and the fact he’ll be ridden by hot apprentice jockey Marshall Mendez means No Change will benefit from a five-pound weight break.

One final note—the 91 Brisnet Speed rating No Change posted on May 13 ranks as the highest figure in the field aside from numbers posted in the distant past by #1 Runnin’toluvya (4-1). The latter is a tried-and-true Charles Town specialist with a victory in the 2019 Charles Town Classic (G2) ranking as his greatest triumph, but he’s only run once since December 2020 (finishing third in an allowance optional claimer for West Virginia-breds on April 30) and might be past his peak at the age of eight.

Good luck!