Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of Dec. 6, 2023

December 6th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, Dec. 6 at Turfway Park, including horses to use when playing the $4,117 Super High 5 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Hong Kong $10 Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any eligible race at Happy Valley (HK) on Dec. 6 or Sha Tin (HK) on Dec. 9.

Picks and Plays

Turfway Park: Race 1: $15,000 Maiden Claiming (six furlongs on Tapeta, 5:55 p.m. ET)

#9 Baytown Bama Girl (10-1) has cracked the trifecta three times against $30,000 and $20,000 maiden claiming competition. On Oct. 24, the Paul McEntee trainee faced males in a $20,000 maiden claimer over the Tapeta track at Presque Isle Downs and finished second by three lengths after tracking the pace.

Squaring off against fellow fillies in a $15,000 maiden claimer should help Baytown Bama Girl score a breakthrough victory under apprentice jockey Joseph Bealmear, who rides with a 10-pound weight allowance. According to Equibase, Bealmear has only ridden in three races, all at Turfway Park. But in two of those races, Bealmear finished second aboard Paul McEntee trainees who started at double-digit odds.

Let’s bet Baytown Bama Girl to win and play her over #1 Margaret’s Lady (7-2) and #8 Wreck It Ruby (3-1) in the exacta.


  • #9 Baytown Bama Girl (10-1)
  • #1 Margaret’s Lady (7-2)
  • #8 Wreck It Ruby (3-1)


  • $24 to win on #9 Baytown Bama Girl
  • $3 Exacta: 9 with 1,8 ($6)
    Total: $30

Turfway Park: Race 2: $7,500 Maiden Claiming (one mile on Tapeta, 6:25 p.m. ET)

#2 Double Gold (10-1) showed little when debuting in a one-mile maiden special weight over the Horseshoe Indianapolis turf course, finishing ninth. But Horseshoe Indianapolis shippers are faring well at Turfway Park this meet, and trainer Mark Simms Jr. has gone 6-for-25 (24%) at Turfway since 2020. That’s significant since Simms has compiled a 10-for-95 (11%) at all other tracks during the same timeframe.

Double Gold is eligible to move forward while switching to Tapeta and dropping sharply in class for his second start, so let’s bet the Calumet Farm homebred to win and call it a day.


  • #2 Double Gold (10-1)
  • #12 Cooperstown (7-5)
  • #10 Cheesesteak (7-2)


  • $30 to win on #2 Double Gold

Turfway Park: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs on Tapeta, 7:55 p.m. ET)

#2 Boyne Valley (15-1) showed a bit of speed in her debut sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs, then ran into some trouble, and gave way to finish seventh. Now she’s adding blinkers for trainer John Ennis, who wins at a solid 19% rate when making that move.

Ennis has gone 7-for-33 (21%) at Turfway in 2023 and is 1-for-2 (50%) to start this Holiday Meet, so there are plenty of reasons to believe Boyne Valley can outrun her 15-1 morning line odds.

A $20 win bet on Boyne Valley is in order.


  • #2 Boyne Valley (15-1)
  • #10 Xtra Extraordinary (8-1)
  • #5 Stirred Up (8-1)


  • $20 to win on #2 Boyne Valley

Carryover Watch

Turfway Park: Race 9: $4,117 Super High 5 carryover (9:55 p.m. ET)

Want to win a share of Wednesday’s $4,117 Super High 5 carryover at Turfway Park? Then you’ll have to sort through a challenging maiden special weight for two-year-olds racing one mile on Tapeta.

That’s right—the carryover is up for grabs in Race 9, a contest overflowing with 14 lightly raced horses (including two also-eligible entrants) who offer little to analyze in the way of form. None of them have run long over a synthetic track, and 13 of the 14 haven’t run on synthetic whatsoever, so predicting which ones will take to Tapeta is tricky. And, oh yes, three of the entrants are first-time starters.

The good news is, in a race this wide-open on paper, there are bound to be live longshots worth backing. Here are three we’re keen to use in the Super High 5:

  • #1 Drip d’Oro (12-1): A son of Bolt d’Oro out of Wicked Wish, Drip d’Oro is a half-brother to eight-time stakes winner Rated R Superstar. Drip d’Oro finished last in his debut over the tricky turf course at Kentucky Downs, but improved when tackling Tapeta in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Presque Isle Downs, rallying to finish third. The fact he’s already run well over Tapeta is appealing, and trainer Jeff Hiles is 1-for-1 to start the Turfway meet, so Drip d’Oro looks like an overlay at 12-1.
  • #3 Midnight Award (12-1): Midnight Award finished eighth in his debut at Kentucky Downs behind future Bourbon (G2) winner and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) fourth-place finisher Can Group. He then tackled a one-mile maiden special weight over the Horseshoe Indianapolis lawn and ran evenly to finish fifth, beaten three lengths in a large field. Midnight Award finished reasonably fast that day (running his final quarter-mile in about :24.87), and his pedigree offers some potential for handling Tapeta, so there’s quite a bit to like here.
  • #7 Unreasonable (10-1): A stoutly bred son of Honor Code out of a mare by English Channel, Unreasonable debuted in a six-furlong dirt sprint at Churchill Downs and rallied from last place to finish fourth. He subsequently struggled when stretching out for a one-mile maiden special weight over the same track, but that contest took place over a sloppy track, and the winner (Real Men Violin) came back to finish second in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2). Unreasonable may find the competition a bit easier at Turfway and if he handles Tapeta, he can outrun his 10-1 morning line odds in a big way.

Good luck!