Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Sept. 26
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, Sept. 26 at Presque Isle Downs and Horseshoe Indianapolis, along with horses to bet in a pair of non-jackpot carryovers at Louisiana Downs.
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Picks and Plays
Presque Isle Downs: Race 2: $10,000 Starter Optional Claiming (five furlongs on Tapeta, 1:57 p.m. ET)
#1 Riverside Walk (7-5) has been on a roll at Presque Isle for hot trainer Larry Hayes, who has gone 4-for-14 (29%) at Presque Isle this year. Riverside Walk has used her pacesetting speed to wire a pair of $8,500 claimers sprinting six furlongs, earning sharp Brisnet Speed ratings of 77 and 82.
A typical performance from Riverside Walk should be more than sufficient to secure a third straight victory under Presque Isle’s leading jockey Pablo Morales.
- $10 Exacta: 1 with 5,6 ($20)
- $5 Trifecta: 1 with 5,6 with 5,6 ($10)
Presque Isle Downs: Race 5: $10,000 Claiming (five furlongs on Tapeta, 3:18 p.m. ET)
#1 Dom the Bomb (2-1) is the morning line favorite after wiring a $12,500 starter optional claimer over the Belterra Park turf course, but #2 Grande Tortugon (5-2) might be a better fit for Monday’s conditions. During the summer, Grande Tortugon defeated Dom the Bomb in a pair of $10,000 claimers sprinting five furlongs over the Presque Isle Tapeta track.
Grande Tortugon faltered to fifth place in a recent allowance traveling six furlongs at Presque Isle, a race from which the top two finishers returned to win their next starts. Dropping back down in class and distance should help Grande Tortugon rebound.
- $20 to win on #2 Grande Tortugon
- $10 Exacta: 2 with 1
Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (7 1/2 furlongs on turf, 4:34 p.m. ET)
The first-time starter #1 Beyond Doubt (5-2) is trained by Brad Cox, who has compiled an excellent 37-12-9-3 (32%) record debuting juveniles on turf at Horseshoe Indianapolis since 2017.
Beyond Doubt is a half-sibling to stakes winners Prime Attraction and Kathy’s Song, both of whom managed to place against graded stakes competition on grass. Beyond Doubt is bred to shine on the lawn and should have every chance to nab top honors over #9 Lilly Lane (5-1) and #10 Dessert First (6-1).
- $20 to win on #1 Beyond Doubt
- $5 Exacta: 1 with 9,10 ($10)
Louisiana Downs, Race 3: $1,517 Pick 5 carryover (5:01 p.m. ET)
Louisiana Downs, Race 7: $533 Super High 5 carryover (6:49 p.m. ET)
There are two non-jackpot carryovers up for grabs on Monday at Louisiana Downs, and while the prize pools aren’t huge—$1,517 in the 50-cent Pick 5 and $533 in the 50-cent Super High 5—they add some betting value to an overall quiet day.
The Pick 5 gets underway in Race 3, a $10,000 maiden claimer taking place over 1 1/16 miles on turf. A large 12-horse field has turned out, and #8 Pikachu (6-1) has the appearance of a live midrange longshot.
The experienced turf horses in this field bring generally uninspiring grass form to the mix, so Pikachu offers appeal even though he’s never run on turf. In two recent starts against $12,500 maiden claiming company sprinting over the Louisiana Downs main track, Pikachu has finished third and second with Brisnet Speed ratings of 72 and 68, easily the best recent figures in Monday’s field.
Pikachu’s sire, Treasure Beach, won the Irish Derby (G1) and Secretariat S. (G1) on turf. And Pikachu’s dam has already foaled a grass winner, so Pikachu’s pedigree indicates switching surfaces won’t be an issue. Stretching out in distance is arguably the bigger question mark, but at 6-1 Pikachu is well worth including in the Pick 5.
The final leg of the Pick 5 is Race 7, which is also the event in which Super High 5 betting is available. It’s a $12,500 claimer for fillies and mares who have never won two races, and the distance is 7 1/2 furlongs on turf, which means #1 Magical Stardust (3-2) is a filly worth building tickets around.
Magical Stardust ran a big race over this precise course, distance, and class level on Aug. 16, challenging for the lead throughout before weakening late to finish second by half a length. Her effort was flattered when the third-place finisher (who came home six lengths behind Magical Stardust) returned to win her next start.
The Aug. 16 race marked Magical Stardust’s first effort off a layoff, so she figures to come back with another big effort for hot trainer Joseph Foster, a 21% winner at Louisiana Downs this meet. A repeat of her last race should land Magical Stardust in the winner’s circle, so we suggest singling her in the Pick 5 and keying her on top in the Super High 5.