Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of the day for June 14
Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:
- Build Your Indiana Derby Day Bankroll: Wager at least $1,000 (excluding show bets) at Indiana Grand in April, May, and/or June and receive $30 to wager at Indiana Grand on Indiana Derby day, July 7. Bet $1,000 at Indiana Grand in all three months and receive $150.
Picks and Plays
Delaware Park: Race 3: Allowance Optional Claiming (five furlongs on turf, 2:15 p.m. ET)
#4 Beantown Baby (8-5) has been pretty much unstoppable since switching from dirt to turf. The daughter of Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Artie Schiller has compiled a 6-4-2-0 record on grass, with all of her starts coming in dashes over five to 5 1/2 furlongs.
As a result, the conditions of Monday’s test should suit Beantown Baby just fine. She was much the best in a five-furlong allowance at Pimlico last month, and she has no trouble taking her game on the road, scoring her four victories at four different tracks. Beantown Baby’s Brisnet Speed ratings are competitive, and Delacour strikes at a solid 20% rate with last-out winners, so we’ll bet Beantown Baby to win and play her on top of a trifecta.
$18 to win on #4 Beantown Baby
$1 Trifecta: 4 with 1,2,3,9 with 1,2,3,9 ($12)
Indiana Grand: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 3:58 p.m. ET)
The first-time starter #6 Birra (5-1) has the pedigree to win from an early age. Sire Street Sense was a champion two-year-old who won the Kentucky Derby (G1) as a sophomore, while dam Biorra was a stakes-placed three-year-old who has foaled five winners from five starters, including a trio who won races at age two.
Birra has put together a sharp work tab for trainer Reeve McGaughey, who boasts a 1-for-2 (50%) record saddling first-time starters at Indiana Grand. Birra has clocked a couple half-miles in :47.60 at Keeneland in recent weeks, including one from the starting gate, so all signs suggest she’s ready for a strong showing on debut.
At 5-1, Birra is definitely worth a win bet. But we’ll also play her in the exacta over #1 Miss Alejandra (3-1) and #7 Remembrance (5-2).
$20 to win on #6 Birra
$5 Exacta: 6 with 1,7 ($10)
Indiana Grand: Race 7: Allowance (one mile on turf, 5:31 p.m. ET)
#1 Actuality (5-2) has yet to run on turf, but the son of Unbridled Express was tons the best in a one-mile and 70-yard maiden special weight at Indiana Grand last month, rallying from mid-pack to dominate half a dozen rivals by 7 3/4 lengths.
The strength of this effort was reiterated when both the runner-up and third-place finisher returned to win their next starts, flattering Actuality’s form. Switching to grass is a question mark, but Unbridled Express sires a lofty 21% winners on the lawn, and trainer Mike Maker succeeds at a respectable 14% rate with horses transitioning from dirt to turf.
In short, Actuality is worth betting to win and playing over #6 Expressed (3-1) in a cold exacta.
$20 to win on #1 Actuality
$5 Exacta: 1 with 6
Indiana Grand, Race 3: $22,532 Pick 6 jackpot (3:27 p.m. ET)
The 20-cent Straight Fire 6 was ripe for the taking at Indiana Grand last Friday. Five favorites fell to defeat, and a couple of winners started in excess of 20-1. A unique winning ticket would have swept the whole jackpot, but in the end, no one managed to compile the winning combination.
This means racing returns to Indiana Grand on Monday with $22,532 in the Straight Fire 6 jackpot. In hopes of winning a share of the daily pool (or maybe even the whole jackpot), let’s take a race-by-race look at the sequence and assemble a ticket on a ~$15 budget:
#6 Khozan’s Success (9-2) threw down a field-best 90 Brisnet Speed rating when breaking his maiden by 12 1/2 lengths at Fairmount Park. But he’ll face tougher competition on Monday, so for backup we have to use #2 Outlier (5-2) and #5 Slicked Back (4-1), who race for high-percentage connections.
#1 Miss Alejandra (3-1) and #6 Birra (5-1) are the two we’ll use.
#2 Carimba (1-5) is unbeaten and unchallenged in three starts for trainer Wesley Ward, who has gone 3-for-4 (75%) saddling turf horses at Indiana Grand since 2020. Dropping from open company into the Indiana-bred ranks should make Carimba very difficult to defeat. But #6 Ever Wonder (5-1) has run faster on the Brisnet Speed rating scale, so if she handles the switch from dirt to turf, Ever Wonder can potentially spring a surprise and help us construct a unique winning ticket.
#3 Music to My Ears (7-5) was much the best when dropping down to the $5,000 claiming level at Indiana Grand last time out, rolling home on top by five lengths. Now he’s set to make his first start for hot trainer Randy Klopp, who wins at a 33% rate with new claiming acquisitions. All signs suggest he’ll be tough to beat at a short price.
We’ll use #1 Actuality (5-2) and #6 Expressed (3-1) in equal strength.
Including #2 Miss Sugarbaker (5-2), #4 Classiest (9-2), and #6 Corsidat (3-1) should be sufficient to survive this competitive maiden special weight.
20-cent Straight Fire 6: 2,5,6 with 1,6 with 2,6 with 3 with 1,6 with 2,4,6 ($14.40)