Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Sept. 23

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

September 23rd, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Friday, Sept. 23 at Belterra Park, Churchill Downs, and Remington Park, along with tickets for the $4,095 Super High 5 carryover at Gulfstream Park.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Churchill Downs $10 Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in select races at Churchill Downs.
  • $3,000 Los Alamitos Leaderboard: Place $10+ win bets at Los Alamitos to climb a weekly leaderboard and earn your share of a $3,000 jackpot.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in eligible races at Rosehill (Australia).
  • 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) in select races at Belmont at the Big A. Offer applies to straight exacta bets only.
  • Hoosier Park $5,000 Late Pick 4 Hit It and Split It: Hit the Late Pick 4 (Races 12-15) at Hoosier Park to win your share of a $5,000 bonus jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Belterra Park: Race 7: Miss Southern Ohio S. (1 1/16 miles on turf, 3:33 p.m. ET)

#4 Star Rules (5-2) is the morning line favorite after competing reasonably well in a series of $50,000 allowance optional claimers at Colonial Downs, including two on turf. Dropping into the Ohio-bred ranks should put the five-year-old mare in the hunt for victory under hot jockey John McKee, a 29% winner at Belterra Park this meet.

But don’t dismiss the chances of #6 Goodness Sakes (7-2). The promising three-year-old filly has only run once on turf, launching an eye-catching rally to dominate the 1 1/16-mile Cincinnatian S. against fellow Ohio-bred sophomores. She still has upside for improvement and may give Star Rules quite a fight.

We’ll bet Goodness Sakes to win and play her over Star Rules in the exacta.

  • $15 to win on #6 Goodness Sakes
  • $15 Exacta: 6 with 4
    Total: $30

Churchill Downs: Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (seven furlongs, 3:50 p.m. ET)

#7 Methodology (2-1) is bred to be a star. The daughter of champion juvenile and successful sire Uncle Mo was produced by the Bernardini mare Innovative Idea, previously the dam of Acorn S. (G1) winner Matareya.

A Godolphin homebred conditioned by two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox, Methodology has put together a solid work tab at Ellis Park highlighted by a bullet five furlongs from the starting gate in :59 4/5. She looks ready to challenge on debut, so we’ll take advantage of the Churchill Downs $10 Bet Back promotion and place a $10 win bet on Methodology.

We’ll also play Methodology on top of an exacta using fellow first-time starters #6 Ghostly Girl (15-1) and #10 Tabor Time (10-1) for second place.

  • $10 to win on #7 Methodology
  • $5 Exacta: 7 with 6,10
    Total: $20

Remington Park: Race 6: Bob Barry Memorial S. (7 1/2 furlongs on turf, 10:27 p.m. ET)

Eight of the 10 fillies and mares in this field of Oklahoma-bred runners have never won on turf, which makes the impressive grass resume of #10 Run Slewpy Run stand out even at a glance.

Run Slewpy Run boasts a near-perfect 4-for-5 record on turf, which includes a three-length romp in the 2021 Bob Barry Memorial. She enters off an allowance victory racing 1 1/16 miles against non-state-restricted company at Remington and should be tough to beat while dropping back into the Oklahoma-bred ranks.

#2 She’s All Wolfe, third in this race last year and runner-up against tougher competition in the Bayakoa S. (G3) on dirt at Oaklawn Park, can complete a cold exacta.

  • $25 Exacta: 10 with 2

Carryover Watch

Gulfstream Park, Race 1: $4,095 Super High 5 carryover (12:25 p.m. ET)

Feel like chasing a non-jackpot Super High 5 carryover? You’ll have an opportunity early on Friday. The first race at Gulfstream Park features a $4,095 prize pool in the $1 Super High 5.

The race in question is a $12,500 maiden claimer for fillies and mares racing one mile on dirt. The conditions are straightforward, and with eight entries there are only 6,720 possible outcomes to consider, so constructing a winning ticket should be manageable on a modest budget.

The morning line favorite is the lightly raced #2 Provocativa (3-1), and her credentials are solid. In two starts since being claimed by hot trainer Rohan Crichton (a 22% winner this year), Provocativa has finished second and third in $12,500 maiden claimers racing one mile over the Gulfstream dirt. Clearly, Friday’s conditions are suitable for the three-year-old filly.

But Provocativa’s recent third-place effort saw her finish 1 1/4 lengths behind runner-up #5 What a Knockout (9-2), who looms as a formidable challenger once again. Many of What a Knockout’s recent races have come on turf and synthetic, but her dirt credentials are solid, including a third-place finish against $16,000 maiden claiming company at Tampa Bay Downs last year. What a Knockout can’t be dismissed from win consideration for the hot jockey/trainer duo of Chantal Sutherland and Dwight Puckett, who have gone 2-for-3 (67%) teaming up together over the last two months.

#8 Holiday Princess (4-1) has finished behind Provocativa in a couple of recent starts over this track, distance, and class level, but she improved to second place in a seven-furlong dash on Sept. 2 and rates a strong chance to finish in the top five. The same can be said of #1 Irish Samurai (7-2), who finished 2 3/4 lengths behind Holiday Princess in third place on Sept. 2.

Here’s how we’ll bet the Super High 5:

  • $1 Super High 5: 2,5 with 2,5 with 8 with 1,3,6,7 with 1,3,6,7 ($24)
  • $1 Super High 5: 2,5 with 2,5 with 1,6 with 8 with 1,3,6,7 ($12)
  • $1 Super High 5: 2,5 with 8 with 2,5 with 1,3,6,7 with 1,3,6,7 ($24)
    Total: $60

Good luck!