Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of the day for Nov. 24

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

November 24th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs and Parx Racing, including a ticket for Churchill’s $13,558 Super High 5 carryover.

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 Parx Racing.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Happy Valley (Hong Kong).
  • Churchill Downs $10,000 Winning Wednesday Leaderboard Competition: Place $10+ win bets at Churchill Downs to compete for your share of $10,000 in bonus prizes.

Picks and Plays

Parx Racing: Race 6: $20,000 Starter Optional Claiming (one mile and 70 yards, 2:25 p.m. ET)

#8 Roan Mountain (3-1) rarely misses the board and enters off a sharp victory over this track, distance, and class level. Making his first start since being claimed by hot trainer Daniel Velazquez, Roan Mountain stalked the early pace from fourth place, then rallied tenaciously to score by 1 1/2 lengths with a career-best 96 Brisnet Speed rating.

Roan Mountain has enough tactical speed to work out a favorable trip in Wednesday’s largely paceless field, so we’ll take advantage of the Midweek Bet Back promotion and place a $10 win bet on Roan Mountain. #3 Bumperdoo (9-2), recently victorious in a $25,000 claimer at Parx, can complete the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #8 Roan Mountain
  • $5 Exacta: 8 with 3
  • Total: $15

Churchill Downs: Race 4: $150,000 Maiden Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 2:30 p.m. ET)

#1 In Dreams (2-1) ran too good to lose in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint over this class level at Keeneland last month. After dueling for the lead through quick fractions, In Dreams opened up a 3 1/2-length lead down the homestretch, only to weaken late and finish second by a length.

Even in defeat, In Dreams posted a 78 Brisnet Speed rating, fast enough to vie for victory against Wednesday’s field. Cutting back to 5 1/2 furlongs should only help her chances, and it’s worth noting jockey Florent Geroux (a 24% winner when teaming up with trainer Brad Cox) is taking over the mount.

#4 Camargo (9-5), sixth in her debut against maiden special weight company at Keeneland, is a logical choice for runner-up honors.

  • $20 to win on #1 In Dreams
  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 4
  • Total: $30

Churchill Downs: Race 6: $50,000 Maiden Claiming (six furlongs, 3:36 p.m. ET)

#1 Honey Run (3-1) is the fastest entrant on paper in this claiming sprint for juvenile fillies. The Joe Sharp trainee threw down a field-best 76 Brisnet Speed rating when finishing fourth in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill two starts back, a race won by future Rags to Riches S. runner-up Yuugiri.

Honey Run has been facing quality competition and can produce a winning performance while dropping into the maiden claiming ranks for the first time. Throw in hot jockey Tyler Gaffalione (a 24% winner this meet), and Honey Run is worth betting to win and keying over #7 Howboutdemapples (7-2) in a cold exacta.

  • $20 to win on #1 Honey Run
  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 7
  • Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Churchill Downs, Race 9: $13,558 Super High 5 carryover (5:06 p.m. ET)

The Super High 5 at Churchill Downs went unsolved for two straight racing days last week, which means the $1 wager will carryover an enticing $13,558 carryover when racing resumes on Wednesday.

The pool is on the table in Race 9, a maiden special weight for horses three years old and upward racing one mile over the main track. A dozen runners plus one also-eligible have been entered, but one­#9 Tartufo (9-2)—might be a standout.

Tartufo has run strongly in a pair of recent starts over the Churchill dirt. In a one-mile maiden special weight Oct. 2, Tartufo ran second behind Cody’s Wish, a next-out allowance winner who looks like a graded stakes horse in the making. Then in a seven-furlong maiden special weight on Nov. 6, Tartufo rallied boldly to finish third by a neck.

Tartufo will stretch back out over one mile on Wednesday, setting the stage for a winning performance. His career-best 94 Brisnet Speed rating tops this field, so we’ll key him on top of our Super High 5 tickets.

The improving Godolphin homebred, #7 Crump (4-1), who finished third in the one-mile maiden heat won by Cody’s Wish, is a logical contender to use underneath. The same can be said of #6 Carmel Crush (5-1), who hasn’t missed the trifecta in four starts to date. The gelded son of California Chrome finished second in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Keeneland last month, and trainer Matt Shirer strikes at a 35% rate with horses transitioning from a sprint to a route.

But there are also some higher-priced runners worth respecting. #11 Street Ruckus (15-1), for example, posted a sharp 90 Brisnet Speed rating when second by a neck in a one-mile maiden special weight at Del Mar two starts back. If you draw a line through his subsequent third-place finish on turf, Street Ruckus is an appealing longshot with plenty of tactical speed.

#3 Mount Kenya (8-1) is worth including too. The four-year-old gelding ran second over this track and class level on Sept. 19, his most recent start on dirt. And don’t forget about #12 Sticky Issue (15-1), who finished ahead of Tartufo when second in the seven-furlong maiden sprint on Nov. 6.

As you can see, there are a lot of viable contenders to consider. But if we key Tartufo on top and emphasize Crump underneath, we should be able to construct competitive Super High 5 tickets on a manageable budget.

  • $1 Super High 5: 9 with 7 with 6,11 with 3,5,6,10,11,12 with 3,5,6,10,11,12 ($40)
  • $1 Super High 5: 9 with 6,11 with 7 with 3,5,6,10,11,12 with 3,5,6,10,11,12 ($40)
  • Total: $80

Good luck!