Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of the day for Sept. 6

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September 6th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, Sept. 6, at Kentucky Downs, Saratoga, and Del Mar, including a ticket for Del Mar’s mandatory-payout $694,803 Pick 6 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Saratoga Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in select races at Saratoga. Offer must be unlocked each day of the meet; see offers page for details.
  • Del Mar Daily $500 Place Jackpot: Cash six or more $5+ place bets on any given card at Del Mar to split a $500 daily jackpot.
  • Build Your Assiniboia Closing Day Bankroll: For every day you wager at least $100 in win, place, or win-place wagers at Assiniboia Downs from Aug. 30 through Sept. 14, receive a $5 bonus to wager on closing day at Assiniboia (Sept. 15). Wager $100 all eight racing days and receive an additional $100. For every $1,000 wagered from Aug. 30 through Sept. 14, receive an additional $50 bonus.
  • Kentucky Downs $12,000 Place Jackpot: Make a winning $10 place bet in at least five races at Kentucky Downs to win a share of a $500 daily jackpot. Make a winning $10 place bet in at least seven races at Kentucky Downs to win a share of a $1,500 daily jackpot. Players may earn a share of each daily bonus pool.

Picks and Plays

Kentucky Downs: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (1 5/16 miles, 1:20 p.m. ET)

#4 Bella Conchita (5-1) might be an 0-for-5 maiden, but she’s hit the board three times and enters off a respectable third-place effort in a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight at Ellis Park. On that occasion, Bella Conchita rallied gamely from last place to finish 2 3/4 lengths behind Undisturbed, who came right back to win an Ellis Park allowance.

Bella Conchita may appreciate the opportunity to stretch out over 1 5/16 miles at Kentucky Downs. She’s a daughter of Kitten’s Joy (whose progeny have thrived at Kentucky Downs over the last decade), and she’s a half-sibling to three stakes-winning route runners. At 5-1, Bella Conchita is worth betting to win and playing over logical favorite #9 Scarabea (2-1) in a small exacta.

$20 to win on #4 Bella Conchita
$5 Exacta: 4 with 9
Total: $25

Saratoga: Race 3: Bernard Baruch H. (G2, 1 1/16 miles on turf, 1:43 p.m. ET)

#4 No Word (6-1) showed high-level form as a three-year-old last season, finishing third in the Saratoga Derby and second in the Belmont Derby (G1) while beaten only by multiple Grade 1 winners Gufo and Domestic Spending.

No Word failed to show the same level of form in his 2021 debut, finishing eighth in a 1 1/8-mile allowance at Saratoga last month. But the Todd Pletcher trainee was only beaten 4 1/2 lengths, despite encountering a somewhat slow early/fast late race shape detrimental to his chances.

Pletcher wins at a solid 22% rate with horses running back for the second time following a layoff. If No Word steps forward in his second run of the season, he can vie for victory at a fair price in the Bernard Baruch. #3 L’Imperator (5-2) can round out the exacta.

$20 to win on #4 No Word
$5 Exacta: 4 with 3
Total: $25

Del Mar: Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (one mile on turf, 4:59 p.m. ET)

#2 Picota (7-2) finished second or third in his first three starts sprinting in England, including a head defeat in a six-furlong turf dash at Royal Windsor. He wasn’t facing the toughest competition, but at least we know Picota has some ability.

Picota’s pedigree combines speed with stamina, so stretching out over one mile at Del Mar should suit him just fine. New trainer Phil D’Amato wins at a solid 21% rate with horses running in the U.S. for the first time, which includes five-time stakes winner Going Global. Throw in the presence of jockey Umberto Rispoli (a 23% winner on turf), and I think we have a recipe for victory.

$25 to win on #2 Picota

Carryover Watch

Del Mar, Race 5: $694,803 Rainbow Pick 6 mandatory payout (6:35 p.m. ET)

The Del Mar summer meet wraps up on Monday with the mandatory dispersal of a Rainbow Pick 6 jackpot. The carryover for the 20-cent wager stands at $694,803, setting the stage for millions of fresh dollars to enter the pool on closing day.

Keen to join in on the action? We’re here to help with a race-by-race look at the sequence:

Race 5: $50,000 Maiden Claiming (six furlongs)

Two of the main contenders, #13 Thirsty Chapo (3-1) and #14 I Know Cash Flow (2-1), are marooned on the also-eligible list and seem unlikely to start. Assuming they scratch, the speedy #8 Hay Juan (5-2)—fourth in his maiden special weight debut behind next-out stakes winner Joker Boy—looks like a logical single.

Race 6: $40,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (five furlongs on turf)

You can make a case for almost anyone in this ultra-competitive dash for fillies and mares, so we’ll hit the “ALL” button and hope for a double-digit longshot winner.

Race 7: $40,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (one mile)

The graded stakes-placed sprinter #7 Laurel River (3-1) may shake loose on an easy lead in his route debut, but the son of Into Mischief enters off a sub-par effort at Del Mar and looks tough to trust at a short price. We’ll back him up with Kentucky shipper #5 Final Jeopardy (5-1) from the high-percentage barn of Matt Shirer, plus local allowance runners #3 Divine Armor (8-1) and #8 Indimaaj (6-1).

Race 8: Del Mar Juvenile Turf S. (one mile on turf)

#5 Mackinnon (3-1), a pace-pressing maiden winner over this course and distance, looks like the best of the local runners. But don’t sleep on the chances of European raiders #1 Silver Surfer (5-2) and #8 Optimising (3-1).

Race 9: Del Mar Futurity (G1, seven furlongs)

Trainer Bob Baffert has won 14 of the last 25 editions of the Del Mar Futurity, so we’ll single his exciting colt #5 Murray (2-1) in the 2021 renewal. Murray posted a field-best 92 Brisnet Speed rating when obliterating his Del Mar debut by 10 3/4 lengths, and a repeat of that effort should be sufficient to visit the winner’s circle on Monday.

Race 10: $50,000 Starter Allowance (one mile on turf)

#9 Algeria (7-2) unleashed a strong finish to win a $50,000 maiden claimer over this course and distance last month, but several others have the form lines and Brisnet Speed ratings to challenge. Specifically, we’ll want to include #5 General Mathis (4-1), #2 Ox Bridge (4-1), and #10 Zippy Baby (12-1), who ran 2-3-5 in a race over this class level on Aug. 7 at Del Mar.

Our proposed ticket comes in a bit pricey at $115.20, but with luck, a scratch or two will drop the cost below $100:

20-cent Rainbow Pick 6: 8 with ALL with 3,5,7,8 with 1,5,8 with 5 with 2,5,9,10 ($115.20)

Good luck!