Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of the day for Nov. 26

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November 26th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $100 worth of picks and plays for Friday, Nov. 26 at Aqueduct, Churchill Downs, and Fair Grounds, plus suggested singles for Aqueduct’s $73,574 Pick 6 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Exacta Insurance: Receive refunds on exacta bets (up to $10) if your two selected horses finish in the first three home (but not in the winning order) at Churchill Downs. Offer applies to straight exacta bets only.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Rosehill (Australia).
  • $10,000 Place Jackpot at Del Mar: Make a winning $5+ place bet in at least six races at Del Mar to win your share of a daily $500 jackpot.
  • Churchill Downs Bet Back 2nd and 3rd: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in select races at Churchill Downs.
  • Fair Grounds Opening Weekend $4,000 Late Pick 4 Jackpot: Hit the Late Pick 4 at Fair Grounds on any day from Nov. 25-28 to split a $1,000 daily jackpot.
  • Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1 Bet $50 Get $10: Place a $50 wager on Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1 or the Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager to receive a $10 bonus.

Picks and Plays

Aqueduct: Race 4: Forever Together S. (1 1/16 miles, 1:18 p.m. ET)

#4 Flower Point (7-5) didn’t get the cleanest trip in the one-mile Noble Damsel S. (G3) at Belmont Park last month, but the daughter of turf star Point of Entry nevertheless rallied gamely to finish third, beaten only two lengths with a career-best 95 Brisnet Speed rating.

Flower Point will face only five rivals in the Forever Together, and dropping down the class ladder should make her a formidable win threat for hot trainer Shug McGaughey, who has gone 4-for-12 (33%) at Aqueduct this meet.

Let’s bet Flower Point to win and key her over #1 Speaktomeofsummer (5-2) and #3 Giacosa (7-2) in the exacta.

$25 to win on #4 Flower Point
$5 Exacta: 4 with 1,3 ($10)
Total: $35

Churchill Downs: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 2:57 p.m. ET)

The experienced fillies and mare in this maiden dash don’t appear overly formidable. The par winning Brisnet Speed rating for these conditions is 86, but none of the entrants have posted a figure higher than 79.

This suggests the field’s lone first-time starter, #2 Sweet Tea (5-1), can vie for victory on debut. A daughter of two-time leading sire Into Mischief (who sires 15% winners from first-time starters), Sweet Tea is a sibling to a pair of fillies who won their debuts at age two. Both went on to win at the stakes level.

Sweet Tea sold for $300,000 as a yearling and has put together a solid work tab for trainer Larry Jones, culminating with five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Churchill. She looks ready to roll, so we’ll bet Sweet Tea to win and play her over #3 Anna Volante (5-2) in a cold $10 exacta, in order to capitalize on the Exacta Insurance promotion.

$20 to win on #2 Sweet Tea
$10 Exacta: 2 with 3
Total: $30

Fair Grounds: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (1 1/16 miles, 4:09 p.m. ET)

Since the 2018, trainer Brad Cox has compiled a stellar 12-for-38 (32%) record saddling two-year-olds in sprints at Fair Grounds, which includes a fantastic 6-for-9 (67%) record with juveniles entering off at least one previous race.

These stats point toward Cox’s #2 Majestic Union (7-2) as a key win threat in this two-turn route for juveniles. The son of Belmont S. (G1) winner Union Rags ran encouragingly in his debut over one mile at Indiana Grand, gaining meaningful ground through the final furlong to finish second by 1 3/4 lengths.

Cox wins at a 37% rate with horses running long for the second time, so we’ll place a hefty win bet on Majestic Union before adding an exacta using #3 Fannie and Freddie (3-1) and #4 Chrome Racer (4-1) for second place.

$25 to win on #2 Majestic Union
$5 Exacta: 2 with 3,4 ($10)
Total: $35

Carryover Watch

Aqueduct, Race 5: $73,574 Pick 6 carryover (1:45 p.m. ET)

Ready to chase a post-Thanksgiving carryover? Aqueduct is ready to oblige with a hefty $73,574 prize pool in the $1 Pick 6.

The sequence looks challenging at first glance, with 60 entries (averaging 10 per race) before scratches. But if you’re willing to single a pair of logical favorites in the second half of the sequence, the Pick 6 should be playable on a reasonable budget.

These are the two horses we recommend singling:

Race 8: Gio Ponti S.: #6 Never Surprised (4-5)

Never out of the exacta in five starts for hot trainer Todd Pletcher (a 25% winner this meet), Never Surprised has held his own against tough company this season. Since returning from a long layoff in September, the son of Constitution has finished second in both the Saranac S. (G3) at Saratoga and the Hill Prince S. (G2) at Belmont, losing the latter race by just a neck.

Never Surprised will face easier competition in the Gio Ponti, setting the stage for victory. He’s 2-for-2 racing on grass at Aqueduct, winning his debut before posting a pacesetting score in the Central Park S.  Never Surprised has plenty of tactical speed, but is versatile in terms of running style, so he’s going to be tough to beat if he brings his A-game to the Gio Ponti. He looms as the most trustworthy single in the Pick 6 sequence.

Race 10: $25,000 Claiming: #6 Montauk Daddy (7-2)

Speed has been dominant in six-furlong sprints over the outer turf course at Aqueduct this meet, with pacesetters going 5-for-11 (45%). This stat points toward Montauk Daddy as the horse to beat in the Friday finale.

A speedy four-year-old conditioned by ultra-hot trainer Rob Atras (a 36% winner this meet), Montauk Daddy has set the pace in seven of his last eight starts. Along the way, he’s shown strong form against tougher company than he’ll encounter on Friday, dominating a $35,000 claimer by 5 1/2 lengths before nabbing a $50,000 starter allowance by two lengths.

Montauk Daddy might not be a lock to win, considering his form has slipped in recent starts and several of his rivals have been posting similar Brisnet Speed ratings. But in a competitive Pick 6 sequence, Montauk Daddy is nevertheless a viable candidate for singling if you need to reduce ticket costs down to a more manageable range.

Good luck!