Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of Dec. 7, 2023

December 7th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, Dec. 7 at Turfway Park, including a horse to key on top in the $7,458 Super High 5 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Fraser Downs 15% Win Bonus: Earn a 15% bonus (up to $25 per day) on winning win wagers at Fraser Downs every Thursday and Friday from Nov. 16 through Dec. 15.

Picks and Plays

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

There’s quite a bit of speed in this six-furlong sprint, so let’s take a chance with longshot #3 Valuable Cargo (12-1). While not completely lacking in speed, Valuable Cargo is comfortable rallying from behind, as he did when overcoming a slow start to finish fourth in a $20,000 maiden claimer sprinting six furlongs at Keeneland two starts back.

Dropping down to the $5,000 level should make Valuable Cargo competitive for the hot jockey/trainer duo of Ferrin Peterson and Jerome Miller. If his 12-1 morning line odds hold up, a $20 win bet is in order. We’ll also play a small exacta using logical favorite #2 Rock With You (9-5) for second place.


  • #3 Valuable Cargo (12-1)
  • #2 Rock With You (9-5)
  • #11 Prince of Pennies (6-1)


  • $20 to win on #3 Valuable Cargo
  • $5 Exacta: 3 with 2
    Total: $25

Turfway Park: Race 2: $25,000 Claiming (1 1/8 miles on Tapeta, 6:25 p.m. ET)

#5 Chantry Flats (2-1) boasts a near-perfect 4-for-5 record at Turfway Park. That includes a win in a 1 1/8-mile $25,000 allowance optional claimer last winter, in which Chantry Flats earned a career-best 94 Brisnet Speed rating.

Chantry Flats recently ended a long layoff with a 10th-place finish in an $80,000 allowance optional claimer over the Churchill Downs turf course. Trainer Troy Newton wins at a 21% rate with horses running for the second time following a layoff, so returning to Turfway for his second start back should make Chantry Flats tough to beat.

We’ll bet Chantry Flats to win and key him over #2 Founder (5-2), winner of a one-mile allowance at Turfway last winter, in a cold exacta.


  • #5 Chantry Flats (2-1)
  • #2 Founder (5-2)
  • #7 Cantstealmythunder (10-1)


  • $20 to win on #5 Chantry Flats
  • $10 Exacta: 5 with 2
    Total: $30

Turfway Park: Race 8: $50,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (6 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta, 9:25 p.m. ET)

#1 Bombdiggity (8-1) was tons the best in a six-furlong allowance at Horseshoe Indianapolis last month, rallying from a couple lengths off the pace to dominate by 6 1/4 lengths. He’s since posted a quintet of bullet workouts at Keeneland, including half a mile in :46 4/5.

Trainer Wesley Ward went 5-for-12 (42%) during the 2022 Turfway Park Holiday Meet, so we’ll count on Bombdiggity to be prepped for a peak effort in his first start since September. Let’s bet him to win and call it a day.


  • #1 Bombdiggity (8-1)
  • #4 Last Leaf (3-1)
  • #2 Current Climate (6-1)


  • $25 to win on #1 Bombdiggity

Carryover Watch

Turfway Park: Race 9: $7,458 Super High 5 carryover (9:55 p.m. ET)

It’s been days since anyone managed to assemble a winning Super High 5 ticket at Turfway Park. No one hit the $1 wager last Thursday… or Friday… or Saturday… and it went unsolved again on Wednesday, which means there’s a non-jackpot quadruple carryover worth $7,458 up for grabs on Thursday.

The prize pool is available to chase in Race 9, a $12,500 claimer taking place over 5 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta. Winning a share won’t be easy; with 14 horses in the entries (including two also-eligibles), there are thousands of possible outcomes to analyze.

That said, we could be talked into taking a bold shot keying #1 Double Advantage (6-1) on top. Doing so will sharply simplify assembling tickets, and if Double Advantage wins at anything close to his morning line odds, we’ll have at least an outside chance to sweep the whole Super High 5 pool.

Double Advantage hasn’t run in a year, but he was in strong form at the end of 2022. After wiring a six-furlong $10,000 claimer for Indiana-breds at Horseshoe Indianapolis, Double Advantage finished second in back-to-back $5,000 starter allowances over the same track, beaten on each occasion by Silver Moon Road. The latter runner was in the midst of a six-race win streak at the time.

Those runner-up finishes yielded matching Brisnet Speed ratings of 87, and Double Advantage subsequently improved to a 91 when rallying boldly to dominate an $8,000 claimer sprinting six furlongs at Turfway Park by 5 1/2 lengths over a next-out winner. That brought Double Advantage’s record at Turfway to a perfect 2-for-2; in March 2021 he won a six-furlong $5,000 claimer at Turfway by 2 1/2 lengths.

Double Advantage has posted an encouraging series of workouts in preparation for his return, and the fact trainer Randy Klopp wins at a respectable 15% rate with horses returning from layoffs of 90 days or more bodes well for Double Advantage’s chances of bringing his A-game off the extended break.

Throw in the fact the rail post produced 18% winners in 5 1/2-furlong sprints during the 2022-23 racing season at Turfway, and Double Advantage is a compelling choice to play on top in the Super High 5.

Good luck!