Friday’s Best Bets and Quick Picks: Keeneland’s closing day carryover

April 26th, 2024

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares best bets and quick picks for Friday, April 26 at Gulfstream Park, Aqueduct, and Charles Town, along with horses to play in Keeneland’s $27,787 Super High 5 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Keeneland Double Down: Hit two double wagers in a single day at Keeneland to receive a 25% bonus (up to 50% per day) on all winning double wagers for the day, every Wednesday through Friday in April.
  • 10x Points on Harness Racing: Receive 10x reward points on all harness racing wagers (excluding show bets) on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Best Bets and Quick Picks

Gulfstream Park: Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs on turf, 1:42 p.m. ET)

Morning line favorite #8 Arrogancy (2-1) appears vulnerable while making his turf debut. His pedigree isn’t especially geared toward grass success, and after finishing second by less than one length in five straight races, he looks like the type of horse who is content to settle for minor awards.

Let’s oppose Arrogancy with #6 Victory Achieved (4-1). The Mark Casse trainee flashed some early speed in his debut over this course, distance, and class level, but checked badly soon after the start and lost meaningful ground. He ran an even race after that to finish sixth behind a runaway winner.

Victory Achieved bounced back to breeze a bullet half-mile in :47 1/5 at Gulfstream Park earlier this month, so with a clean trip on Friday he can vie for victory at fair odds.


  • #6 Victory Achieved (4-1)
  • #1 The Drunk Neighbor (15-1)
  • #8 Arrogancy (2-1)


  • $25 to win on #6 Victory Achieved

Aqueduct: Race 4: $32,000 Claiming (one mile, 2:54 p.m. ET)

#3 First Glimpse (8-1) is an intriguing longshot contender. He finished fourth last time out in a $25,000 claimer traveling one mile at Aqueduct, but he raced wide that day over a surface that favored inside runners. Two starts back over the same track and distance, First Glimpse finished third by half a length in a $32,000 claimer.

First Glimpse regularly throws down respectable Brisnet Speed ratings in the 81-89 range and won’t need much improvement to beat Friday’s field, so a win bet is in order.


  • #3 First Glimpse (8-1)
  • #7 Dangerous Ride (5-2)
  • #6 Mystic Night (3-1)


  • $20 to win on #3 First Glance

Charles Town: Race 2: $5,000 Claiming (4 1/2 furlongs, 7:32 p.m. ET)

#1 Castle Lights (3-1) has lots of early speed and has posted Brisnet E2 Pace ratings in the 92-97 range in each of her last seven starts sprinting 4 1/2 furlongs at Charles Town. She was beaten only half a length when second over this track, distance, and class level on March 23.

Pacesetters have won 63% of 4 1/2-furlong sprints at Charles Town this year, while horses drawn in post 1 have won at a 20% rate. These stats lend an advantage to Castle Lights, so we’ll bet her to win and play her over #5 Shutupn’kissme (5-2) in the exacta.


  • #1 Castle Lights (3-1)
  • #2 Shutupn’kissme (5-2)
  • #3 Thunder Punch (7-2)


  • $20 to win on #1 Castle Lights
  • $5 Exacta: 1 with 2
    Total $25

Carryover Watch

Keeneland: Race 10: $27,787 Super High 5 carryover (5:09 p.m. ET)

This year’s Keeneland spring meet is going out with a bang. The final race of the meet features an enticing $27,787 carryover in the $1 Super High 5.

The meet finale is Race 10, a 1 3/16-mile turf allowance for three-year-olds. An 11-horse field has turned out, so there are 55,440 possible Super High 5 outcomes to analyze.

The morning line favorite is #2 Domingo (3-1), who has made gradual improvement under the care of hot trainer Brendan Walsh, a 26% winner at Keeneland this meet. After competing in three straight races on dirt and Tapeta, the son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah switched to turf for a maiden special weight racing about 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park. In that contest, Domingo settled a couple of lengths off the early pace before finishing nicely to prevail by half a length, earning a career-best 87 Brisnet Speed rating.

However, #8 Catch a Wave (7-2) might be the more likely winner at Keeneland. The stoutly bred son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin was produced by the Scat Daddy mare Harmonize, winner of the 1 1/8-mile Del Mar Oaks (G1) and previously the dam of Hill Prince (G2) and Virginia Derby (G3) winner Integration.

Catch a Wave debuted in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight over the Tampa Bay Downs turf last month and delivered a deceptively sharp victory. After settling in midfield behind slow fractions of :23.70, :49.01, and 1:14.25, Catch a Wave accelerated strongly and gained 2 1/2 lengths through the final furlong alone to beat Noble Factor (the early leader) by a head.

Catch a Wave’s big finish yielded a flashy 105 Brisnet Late Pace rating, the only triple-digit number in Friday’s field. Stretching out over 1 3/16 miles shouldn’t be an issue, and high-percentage jockey Flavien Prat (a 20% winner on turf this year) is named to ride, so all signs suggest Catch a Wave is poised for victory.

We recommend playing the Super High 5 accordingly, keying Catch a Wave on top while emphasizing Domingo underneath.

Good luck!