Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of Nov. 2, 2023

November 2nd, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs, including tickets for the $4,076 Super High 5 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Churchill Downs $2,000 Late Pick 5 Hit It & Split It: Hit the Late Pick 5 at Churchill Downs on any racing day from Nov. 1 through Nov. 26 to win your share of a $2,000 daily jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Churchill Downs: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (6 1/2 furlongs, 2:30 p.m. ET)

#10 Mixer (3-1) ran well in her debut sprinting seven furlongs at Keeneland, closing ground from midpack to finish second. The 83 Brisnet Speed rating she posted is higher than the par winning number (82) for Thursday’s conditions.

As a daughter of Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Vino Rosso, Mixer has the pedigree to improve with maturity. Throw in the fact trainer Wayne Catalano wins at a 20% rate with second-time starters, and there are reasons to believe Mixer can move forward at Churchill Downs.

If Mixer’s 3-1 morning line odds hold up, a large win bet is in order.


  • #10 Mixer (3-1)
  • #4 Crazy Cami (2-1)
  • #3 Tempting Lady (7-2)


  • $30 to win on #10 Mixer

Churchill Downs: Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 4:01 p.m. ET)

#1 Just a Coed (8-1) has shown speed in the mornings for trainer Bret Calhoun, who wins at a respectable 13% rate with first-time starters. She was particularly sharp on Oct. 12, clocking a bullet five furlongs in :59 4/5 at Churchill Downs.

As a daughter of Triple Crown winner Justify, who sires 18% winners from first-time starters, Just a Coed has the pedigree to fire a winning shot on debut. At 8-1, she’s worth betting to win and singling to start a double wager.


  • #1 Just a Coed (8-1)
  • #13 Silver Rose (5-2)
  • #10 In Just My Heels (12-1)


  • $22 to win on #1 Just a Coed
  • $8 Double: 1 with 9
    Total: $30

Churchill Downs: Race 8: Allowance (one mile, 4:33 p.m. ET)

#9 Banishing (7-2) was tons the best in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Fair Grounds last December, leading all the way to smash his opponents by 8 1/2 lengths with a 96 Brisnet Speed rating. Unfortunately, Banishing hasn’t run since February, when he faded to fifth as the even-money favorite in an $80,000 allowance optional claimer over the same track and distance.

On the bright side, Banishing has trained strongly for his return, even clocking a bullet five furlongs at Churchill Downs in :59 3/5. Trainer Brendan Walsh wins at a 20% rate with horses returning from layoffs of 90 days or more, so Banishing’s 7-2 morning line odds are compelling. A rebound to the form of his maiden win can place Banishing in contention for victory.

We’ll keep things simple, betting Banishing to win and singling him to conclude our double wager.


  • #9 Banishing (7-2)
  • #3 Money Supply (5-1)
  • #1 J J’s Joker (12-1)


  • $30 to win on #9 Banishing

Carryover Watch

Churchill Downs: Race 1: $4,076 Super High 5 carryover (1:00 p.m. ET)

(Note: Following the publication of this article, a scratch in Race 1 has pushed the Super High 5 carryover to Race 2 at Churchill Downs on Thursday, Nov. 2.)

Do you have what it takes to win a share of Thursday’s $4,076 Super High 5 carryover at Churchill Downs? Then you’ll have to select the top five finishers in an almost inscrutable race.

The prize pool for the $1 wager is up for grabs in Race 1, a $16,000 claimer for fillies and mares racing one mile on dirt. Mathematically speaking, playing the Super High 5 shouldn’t be difficult; with seven horses in the entries, there are only 2,520 possible outcomes to consider.

The challenge is sorting through those seven horses. Six of them have morning line odds between 3-1 and 5-1 because none bring especially compelling form to the table and splitting them is downright difficult.

Rather than spread deep and cover a lot of options, we’ll keep costs down and take a stand with #3 Sunday Grace (9-2) on top. Her form has been muddied by last-place finishes in a Horseshoe Indianapolis allowance and a $20,000 claimer at Keeneland, but on both of those occasions Sunday Grace showed some early speed while sprinting six furlongs.

Three starts back, Sunday Grace ran a fine race in a $30,000 claimer traveling seven furlongs at Ellis Park, leading early before staying on to finish third with a sharp 81 Brisnet Speed rating. The daughter of Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Overanalyze figures to be forwardly placed while stretching out over one mile under apprentice jockey Yoel Navas, who rides with a seven-pound weight allowance. In fact, it’s possible Sunday Grace will escape on an uncontested lead, which could make her difficult to run down while dropping in class.

Who should we use underneath? Certainly #4 Keen Contender (3-1), who boasts back-to-back wins in a $16,000 maiden claimer at Ellis Park and a $12,500 claimer at Horseshoe Indianapolis. #5 Recognize Me (5-1) hasn’t missed the trifecta in her last four starts, including a $12,500 claimer at Belterra Park, and #7 Lost Bikini (7-2) brings a sharp series of Brisnet Speed ratings to the table after cracking the trifecta in three straight allowance and allowance optional claimers at Mountaineer.

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

  • $1 Super High 5: 3 with 4,5,7 with 4,5,7 with 4,5,7 with 1,2,6 ($18)
  • $1 Super High 5: 3 with 4,5,7 with 4,5,7 with 1,2,6 with 4,5,7 ($18)
  • $1 Super High 5: 3 with 4,5,7 with 1,2,6 with 4,5,7 with 4,5,7 ($18)
    Total: $54

Good luck!