Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of the day for June 16
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $100 worth of picks and plays for Wednesday, June 16 at Arizona Downs, Canterbury Park, Indiana Grand, and Thistledown, including a play for the $2,271 Pick 5 carryover at Arizona Downs.
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 Indiana Grand.
- Royal Ascot Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in select stakes races at Royal Ascot (UK).
- Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Scottsville (South Africa).
- 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
Canterbury Park: Race 2: $15,000 Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 6:40 p.m. ET)
#2 Haddy Up (9-5) ran a winning race in an allowance over this track and distance on May 30, carving out fast fractions of :21.97 and :45.64 before weakening in the final furlong to finish third. Even in defeat, the McLean Robertson trainee posted a respectable 71 Brisnet Speed rating.
Haddy Up figures to be sharper for her second start of the season, and Robertson wins at a 24% rate with horses descending into the claiming ranks for the first time. We’ll count on Haddy Up to outsprint her pace rivals and lead the way home over #1 All Native (3-1).
$25 to win on #2 Haddy Up
$5 Exacta: 2 with 1
Indiana Grand: Race 2: Allowance (one mile, 2:56 p.m. ET)
#1 Starspangledxpress (7-5) is the big favorite after kicking off 2021 with a gate-to-wire allowance win at Indiana Grand. The gray four-year-old dominated by 7 3/4 lengths with an 86 Brisnet Speed rating, but it’s worth noting he escaped with setting a slow pace over a sloppy track. There’s no guarantee he’ll repeat the effort under less favorable circumstances on Wednesday.
Instead, I’ll throw my support behind #7 Forwhomthebelltoll (6-1). If you draw a line through his sprint efforts and turf tries, his form looks pretty solid. In a two-turn allowance over this track last summer, Forwhomthebelltoll finished second with an 80 Brisnet Speed rating.
If Forwhomthebelltoll takes a step forward while returning to his preferred conditions, he can spring a nice-priced surprise. Taking advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Forwhomthebelltoll and play him over Starspangledxpress in the exacta.
$10 to win on #7 Forwhomthebelltoll
$6 Exacta: 7 with 1
Thistledown: Race 4: Allowance (one mile, 2:20 p.m. ET)
It’s pretty hard to oppose #2 Shez Shacked Up (5-2) in this two-turn allowance for fillies and mares who have never won two races. The three-year-old daughter of Shackleford has placed twice running long against stakes company on the Ohio circuit, including when second in the 1 1/16-mile in the Best of Ohio Norm Barron Queen City Oaks last month.
In terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, Shez Shacked Up is the fastest horse in Tuesday’s field by a wide margin. She also brings an abundance of tactical speed to the equation for hot trainer Jeffrey Skerrett, a 27% winner at Thistledown this meet. Any way you slice it, Shez Shacked Up is the runner to beat, with #7 Thursday Frost (7-2) most likely to complete the exacta.
$20 to win on #2 Shez Shacked Up
$10 Exacta: 2 with 7
Arizona Downs, Race 5: $2,271 Pick 5 carryover (7:22 p.m. ET)
Tuesday was a day for chaos at Arizona Downs. All nine races were won in upset fashion, capped off by a 17-1 winner in the finale. When the dust settled, no one managed to pick all five winners in the 50-cent Pick 5. In fact, no one managed to pick as many as four winners—tickets containing three of five winners returned $50.45 apiece, leaving a carryover of $2,271 for Wednesday’s card.
Since non-jackpot Pick 5 carryovers don’t come along every day, let’s take a race-by-race look at the sequence and assemble a ticket on a $24 budget. “Regression to the mean” suggests more predictable results are bound to be in store!
#6 Write Itinthe Dust (8-5) brings competitive Brisnet Speed ratings to the mix and has the tactical speed to be involved from the outset. But #5 More Firewater (9-5) has been facing tougher company and has run slightly faster on his best day. One or the other should prevail.
#4 Captain Red (4-5) is cutting back from one mile to 5 1/2 furlongs, but his Brisnet Speed ratings are sharp, and new trainer Justin Evans wins at a 29% rate with recent claiming acquisitions. Captain Red’s stiffest competition may come from #3 South Fresno (5-1), runner-up over this track and $3,500 claiming class level two weeks ago.
#5 Stackin Silver (2-1) owns the best Brisnet Speed ratings, though dashing six furlongs is a question mark since he’s only sprinted once and has competed in nine straight route races. Tried-and-true sprinter #6 Meet Joe (3-1) is a logical (and very speedy) alternative if the distance proves too sharp for Stackin Silver.
This $4,000 claimer has come up tough, with plenty of logical contenders in the mix. #1 Flower Beach (6-1), #4 No Supah for You (12-1), #5 Albany Front (4-1), #6 Hermano (5-1), #7 Parley Street (6-1), and #8 Mr View (5-2) all have the credentials and Brisnet Speed ratings to win on their best day, so rather than split hairs, we’ll use them all.
#5 Win Like Coach P (6-5) finished second for a $7,500 claiming tag in her first start since being claimed by trainer Justin Evans, so dropping down to the $3,500 level should make the consistent four-year-old tough to beat. Keep in mind, Evans wins at a staggering 57% rate with horses running for the second time following a claim.
50-cent Pick 5: 5,6 with 3,4 with 5,6 with 1,4,5,6,7,8 with 5 ($24)