Keeler Johnson's picks and plays June 30

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

June 30th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, June 30 at Delaware Park, Presque Isle Downs, and Churchill Downs, along with horses to single in lucrative Pick 6 carryovers at Belmont Park and Gulfstream Park.

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.
  • $20,000 Twilight Thursday Leaderboard: Place $10+ win bets at Churchill Downs to play for your share of a $2,000 weekly jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Delaware Park: Race 2: $40,000 Maiden Claiming (five furlongs, 1:00 p.m. ET)

Since 2017, trainer Anthony Pecoraro has compiled a stellar 35-for-93 (38%) record saddling experienced juveniles on dirt at Delaware Park. This points toward #6 Midnight Trouble (9-5) as a key contender for victory.

Midnight Trouble showed promise in her debut against maiden special weight company at Delaware last month, finishing third after tracking the pace over a sloppy track. Pecoraro wins at a 32% rate with second-time starters, and at a 33% rate with horses descending from maiden special weight to maiden claiming company, so all the stats suggest Midnight Trouble is sitting on a big effort.

#4 Citi Creek (6-1), who finished ahead of Midnight Trouble in the latter’s debut, can battle with first-time starter #5 Baylis Street (5-2) to complete the exacta and trifecta.

  • $10 Exacta: 6 with 4,5 ($20)
  • $5 Trifecta: 6 with 4,5 with 4,5 ($10)
    Total: $30

Presque Isle Downs: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs on Tapeta, 3:18 p.m. ET)

#4 Boo Boo Kitty (7-2) hasn’t missed the trifecta in three starts against maiden special weight company at Presque Isle Downs. On May 30, she ran third after tracking the pace in a competitive six-furlong dash, beaten only 2 1/2 lengths by a pair of next-out winners.

Boo Boo Kitty brings lots of tactical speed to the mix and should be capable of outrunning #1 Paris Paramour (5-2), #3 Float Away (12-1), and #7 Wild Irish (5-1) in the dash to the finish line.

  • $6 Exacta: 4 with 1,3,7 ($18)
  • $2 Trifecta: 4 with 1,3,7 with 1,3,7 ($12)
    Total: $30

Churchill Downs: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs, 6:56 p.m. ET)

First-time starter #8 Hard to Come By (5-1) has been training with promise for Donnie Von Hemel, who has gone 2-for-3 (67%) at Churchill Downs this spring. A son of hot young stallion Bolt d’Oro (who is siring 44% winners from first-time starters), Hard to Come By clocked five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 on June 18, then followed up with a bullet half-mile in :47 1/5 last Saturday.

The experienced runners in this maiden dash for juveniles haven’t been running especially fast from a Brisnet Speed rating perspective, so we’ll take a chance betting Hard to Come By on top of #6 Roman Giant (2-1) and #7 Determinedly (6-1).

  • $20 to win on #8 Hard to Come By
  • $5 Exacta: 8 with 6,7 ($10)
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Belmont Park, Race 4: $83,540 Pick 6 carryover (4:40 p.m. ET)

It isn’t easy to hit the $1 Pick 6 at Belmont Park, which is probably why there’s an $83,540 carryover on the table for Thursday’s competitive card.

If you’re searching for a single to build tickets around, your best chance might come in Race 7, a 1 1/16-mile allowance for New York-breds. Eight horses have been entered, but #7 Price Discipline (3-5) looks like the one to beat for hot trainer Chad Brown, who has gone 40-for-124 (32%) at Belmont this spring.

Price Discipline showed great promise when debuting in a maiden special weight for New York-breds racing one mile at Belmont last month. A bump at the start left Price Discipline racing wide and off the pace, but the stoutly bred son of Overanalyze overcame these obstacles to rally and dominate by 4 1/4 lengths, earning a promising 89 Brisnet Speed rating.

Brown wins at a 29% rate with last-out maiden winners, and hot jockey Flavien Prat (a 20% winner this meet and a 37% winner teaming up with Brown over the last two months) retains the mount. If Price Discipline repeats or improves upon his maiden effort, he’ll be tough to deny on Thursday.

Gulfstream Park, Race 3: $131,154 Pick 6 mandatory payout 1:35 p.m. ET)

The final month of June brings the mandatory payout of a $131,154 Rainbow Pick 6 carryover at Gulfstream Park.

The 20-cent wager kicks off in Race 3, a $20,000 maiden claimer that just happens to be one of the best opportunities to seek a single. Eight horses have been entered in the 6 1/2-furlong dash, but the field contains essentially no pace on paper, which opens the door for #1 Celestial Glaze (3-1) to spring a mild surprise.

Celestial Glaze showed solid tactical speed when finishing third in a $25,000 maiden claimer at Gulfstream last month, settling a couple lengths behind an opening quarter in :22.36 before racing up to challenge for the lead through half a mile in :44.79. He displayed similar tactical speed when finishing third by less than one length in a $12,500 maiden claimer three starts back.

Celestial Glaze enters off a bullet half-mile workout in :46 3/5 at Gulfstream, suggesting he’s sharp and ready to set the pace on Thursday. If he shakes loose on an easy lead while dropping in class, Celestial Glaze may prove difficult to catch at a nice price.

Good luck!