Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Sept. 20

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September 20th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Tuesday, Sept. 20 at Presque Isle Downs and Horseshoe Indianapolis, along with horses to play in carryovers at Belterra Park and Louisiana Downs.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Trifecta Tuesday: Receive a 15% bonus on trifecta winnings (excluding stake amount; up to $25 per day) on every Tuesday from Aug. 2 through Oct. 4.

Picks and Plays

Presque Isle Downs: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (one mile on Tapeta, 3:18 p.m. ET)

Trainer Michael Stidham has saddled one winner and one runner-up from a pair of first-time starters at Presque Isle this year, so we’ll give Stidham’s unraced #6 By the Yard (7-2) a long look in this maiden route for juvenile fillies.

Stidham strikes at a solid 16% rate with horses debuting over one mile or farther, and By the Yard enters off a lengthy series of workouts. With hot jockey Antonio Gallardo aboard, By the Yard is worth betting to win and keying over #3 Warrior’s Ransom (3-1) and #8 Aztec Princess (4-1) in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #6 By the Yard
  • $5 Exacta: 6 with 3,8 ($10)
    Total: $30

Presque Isle Downs: Race 6: $62,500 Allowance Optional Claiming (six furlongs on Tapeta, 3:45 p.m. ET)

In terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, #3 Shammah (9-5) is a standout in this allowance optional claiming sprint for juveniles. The Timothy Hamm trainee finished second by a head in his debut dashing five furlongs at Presque Isle, then returned to wire a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight over the same track by 2 3/4 lengths.

Shammah’s maiden win received an 83 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest figure in Tuesday’s field by five points, and his performance was flattered when the distant third-place finisher returned to win his next start. Under Presque Isle’s leading jockey Pablo Morales, Shammah is a logical choice to beat the stakes-experienced #2 Camino de Santiago (2-1) to the winner’s circle.

  • $25 Exacta: 3 with 2

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 2: $5,000 Claiming (six furlongs, 3:01 p.m. ET)

#5 Raceday Attire (9-5) has posted sharp Brisnet Speed ratings of 78, 73, and 71 in three starts since being claimed by trainer Genaro Garcia. The three-year-old filly won a $12,500 maiden claimer two starts back (defeating a pair of next-out winners) and most recently finished second in a $12,500 claimer.

Garcia wins at a 32% rate with horses dropping multiple levels down the class ladder, so Raceday Attire figures to shine at the $5,000 level. The fact she’s receiving a seven-pound weight break courtesy of apprentice jockey Gage Holmes adds to the appeal.

The battle for second place looks tricky to sort out, so we’ll keep things simple with a $30 win bet on Raceday Attire.

  • $30 to win on #5 Raceday Attire

Carryover Watch

Belterra Park, Race 4: $535 Pick 5 carryover (2:02 p.m. ET)

If you want to win a share of Tuesday’s $535 Pick 5 carryover at Belterra Park, you’ll have to decipher a fairly challenging sequence. The 50-cent wager drew 44 entries across five races (averaging 8.8 per race) before scratches.

The smallest field can be found in Race 5, a six-furlong allowance for Ohio-bred runners. Seven horses have been entered, and #1 Honky Tonk Music (3-1) has the appearance of a possible single.

Honky Tonk Music has shown impressive improvement in two starts since transferring to the care of high-percentage trainer Larry Smith, a 33% winner at Belterra this meet. After finishing second in a six-furlong maiden special weight for Ohio-breds (beaten only by next-out allowance winner Blazing Burroughs), Honky Tonk Music came back to wire an identical race by 4 1/2 lengths.

Honky Tonk Music will be ridden for the third straight race by hot jockey Perry Wayne Ouzts, a 42% winner teaming up with Smith over the last two months. Honky Tonk Music still has upside for his first start against winners and should be tough to catch from the rail post.

Louisiana Downs, Race 7: $508 Super High 5 carryover (6:49 p.m. ET)

The final race of the afternoon at Louisiana Downs brings a $508 carryover in the 50-cent Pick 5.

The event in question is a $5,000 claimer for fillies and mares who have never won three races. The distance is six furlongs on dirt, and with a large field of 11 entries in the mix, there are 55,440 possible outcomes.

Constructing a winning ticket may involve keying #4 Tay Tay’s Baby (7-2) on top. Conditioned by high-percentage trainer Karl Broberg (a 23% winner at Louisiana Downs this year), Tay Tay’s Baby was dominant in a $5,000 claimer for non-winners of two races last month, employing tracking tactics to trounce the six-furlong Louisiana Downs sprint by 4 3/4 lengths.

Tay Tay’s Baby was guided that day by jockey Vicente Del-Cid, a lofty 32% winner teaming up with Broberg over the last two months. Del-Cid rides with a five-pound weight allowance, and Tay Tay’s Baby’s Brisnet Speed ratings are solid, so she’s as logical a choice as any to play on top.

Good luck!