Keeler Johnson's picks and plays June 17

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

June 17th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Friday, June 17 at Delaware Park and Penn National, along with tickets for the $47,119 Super High 5 carryover at Churchill Downs.

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 Santa Anita. 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 Rosehill (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.
  • 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

Delaware Park: Race 6: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 3:00 p.m. ET)

#1 Jack a Rose (8-5) ran a huge race in his debut sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs over this track and class level last month. The four-year-old gelding tracked quick fractions of :21.85 and :45.58, forged to a one-length lead in the homestretch, and then weakened slightly through fast closing fractions to finish second by a neck.

Even in defeat, Jack a Rose earned a flashy 85 Brisnet Speed rating. He finished five lengths clear of the rest and figures to get the job done in his second run under colors. The fact the rail post is producing 25% winners sprinting six furlongs at Delaware this meet adds to the appeal.

The consistent #7 Heaven’s Got Fire (2-1) can complete a cold exacta.

  • $25 Exacta: 1 with 7

Penn National: Race 5: Susquehanna Valley S. (six furlongs, 7:49 p.m. ET)

#6 Kaylasaurus (5-2) has compiled an excellent 11-5-2-1 record at Penn National and an admirable 19-8-4-2 record sprinting six furlongs. The last time she combined the two in a six-furlong sprint at Penn National, she smashed a $25,000 allowance optional claimer by 3 1/4 lengths.

Kaylasaurus possesses a strong turn-of-foot, which she used to win the six-furlong Primonetta S. at Laurel Park last time out. She returns to Penn National off a pair of bullet half-mile workouts and should post another strong showing for high-percentage trainer Timothy Kreiser, a 28% winner at Penn National this meet.

#1 Prodigy Doll (6-1) and #5 Fille d’Esprit (7-2) can battle to complete the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #6 Kaylasaurus
  • $10 Exacta: 6 with 1,5 ($20)
    Total: $30

Penn National: Race 6: Chocolate Town S. (six furlongs, 8:16 p.m. ET)

#2 Beren (4-1) was a decisive winner of the Danzig S. over this track and distance last year, which ranks as one of the biggest wins from his flashy 6-4-1-0 record sprinting six furlongs. The only time he finished out of the top three was in the Gallant Bob S. (G2) last season, when he knocked heads with future champion sprinter Jackie’s Warrior.

Beren kicked off 2022 with a close runner-up finish in the seven-furlong Page McKenney H. at Parx Racing. He’s trained sharply for the Chocolate Town and should appreciate cutting back to six furlongs, giving Beren a live chance to upset the Grade 1-placed #11 Ny Traffic (5-2).

  • $15 to win on #2 Beren
  • $15 Exacta: 2 with 11
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Churchill Downs, Race 9: $47,119 Super High 5 carryover (4:55 p.m. ET)

Following two days of heat-related cancellations, racing returns to Churchill Downs on Friday with an enticing $47,119 Super High 5 carryover up for grabs.

The multi-day carryover for the $1 wager is available to chase in Race 9, a one-mile maiden special weight featuring an intriguing blend of experienced runners and first-time starters. Narrowing down the 11-horse field isn’t easy, but building tickets around #1 What’s Up Doc (9-2) seems like a logical place to start.

An unraced son of 2014 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome, What’s Up Doc has put together an encouraging work tab for hot trainer Brad Cox, who has gone 16-for-52 (31%) at Churchill Downs this meet. Just as importantly, Cox has been on fire with first-time starters this year, going 14-for-41 (34%).

But What’s Up Doc isn’t necessarily a lock to win. #3 Hippodrome (4-1) finished second in a $150,000 maiden claimer racing 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs last fall, and he’s earned solid Brisnet Speed ratings in a pair of maiden special weight sprints at Churchill this spring, finishing fourth in a six-furlong dash on May 28 before improving to second place in a seven-furlong heat on June 8. Stretching out over a one-turn mile might suit Hippodrome just fine.

Meanwhile, #10 Predominate (10-1) is a longshot with a chance to outrun expectations. As a son of Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Arrogate out of a mare by Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Street Cry, Predominate is bred top and bottom to improve with distance and maturity. Certainly his stakes-winning half-siblings Are You Kidding Me and Core Values got better with age and distance.

Keeping these pedigree factors in mind, it’s interesting to note Predominate ran well in his debut sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs last month, rallying from the back of the pack to finish third. If he improves as expected while stretching out over one mile, Predominate can vie for victory at a nice price.

Let’s build our tickets around Hippodrome, What’s Up Doc, and Predominate, favoring the latter two on top while counting on all three to finish in the top four.

  • $1 Super High 5: 1,10 with 1,3,10 with 1,3,10 with 2,9 with 2,4,5,7,9,11 ($40)
  • $1 Super High 5: 1,10 with 1,3,10 with 2,9 with 1,3,10 with 2,4,5,7,9,11 ($40)
    Total: $80

Good luck!

Belmont Park Carryover & BetShare

Darin Zoccali cues up a Pick 6 play for Belmont Park racing today. TwinSpires is using this ticket to set up a BetShare for YOU to participate and play along with his bet. We have increased our BetShare tickets from various team members, so be on the look out daily via our Twitter account! (@TwinSpires)

5 / 1,2,3,5,8 / 1,4 / 4,5,6,8,10 / 2 / 7,10,11,15