Keeler Johnson's picks and plays May 24

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

May 24th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Tuesday, May 24 at Presque Isle Downs and Horseshoe Indianapolis, including a trifecta capitalizing on the Trifecta Tuesday promotion.

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 Will Rogers Downs.
  • Trifecta Tuesday: Receive a 15% bonus (up to $25 per day) on winning trifecta tickets.

Picks and Plays

Presque Isle Downs: Race 2: $12,500 Claiming (one mile on Tapeta, 1:57 p.m. ET)

#5 Punx (10-1) failed to fire in a $30,000 claimer sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs at Presque Isle one week ago, fading to finish last of sixth. But Punx was facing much tougher competition than he’ll encounter on Tuesday, and the distance was arguably shorter than his best.

After all, Punx had no trouble wiring a one-mile and 70-yard maiden special weight at Presque Isle last fall, scoring by one length with a 65 Brisnet Speed rating. There isn’t much speed on Tuesday’s field, so Punx should be able to set or stalk a slow pace while stretching back out in distance, opening the door for a competitive showing at high odds.

We’ll place a win bet on Punx, then key him over #7 Fierce Warrior (4-1) in a small exacta.

  • $15 to win on #5 Punx
  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 7
    Total: $20

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (4 1/2 furlongs, 2:30 p.m. ET)

Since 2018, trainer Marvin Johnson has compiled a respectable 20-3-1-3 (15%) record debuting juveniles at Horseshoe Indianapolis. This bodes well for the chances of #5 Tizzy Jojo (9-5) in this maiden dash for two-year-old fillies.

Tizzy Jojo turned in a solid half-mile workout at Horseshoe Indianapolis earlier this month, going in :49 from the starting gate. Hot jockey Joseph Ramos (a 22% winner this meet) has gone 5-for-15 (33%) teaming up with Johnson over the last two months, so we’ll bet Tizzy Jojo to win and key her over #3 Twirling Justice (2-1) in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #5 Tizzy Jojo
  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 3
    Total: $25

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 4:03 p.m. ET)

#7 Jericho Express (8-5) looks tough to deny in this maiden sprint for Indiana-breds. The three-year-old gelding finished third in his debut sprinting five furlongs over this track and class level, earning a 74 Brisnet Speed rating that tops Tuesday’s field. Then he came back and ran second in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Horseshoe Indianapolis, beaten only half a length while pulling 6 1/4 lengths clear of #1 Maker’s Please (3-1).

The third time should be the charm for Jericho Express, who has the tactical speed to work out a favorable trip. Maker’s Please can battle with #8 Indy Rebel (4-1) to complete the exacta and trifecta.

  • $10 Exacta: 7 with 1,8 ($20)
  • $5 Trifecta: 7 with 1,8 with 1,8 ($10)
    Total: $30

Good luck!