Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of Oct. 25, 2023

October 25th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, Oct. 25 at Keeneland and Horseshoe Indianapolis, including live longshots to use in Keeneland’s $54,576 Pick 6 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Hoosier Park $10 Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any eligible race at Hoosier Park.
  • Horseshoe Indianapolis $3,000 Late Pick 5 Hit It & Split It: Hit the Late Pick 5 at Horseshoe Indianapolis every Wednesday in October to win your share of a $3,000 bonus jackpot.
  • Keeneland Win Bonus: Hit multiple win bets in a single day at Keeneland to receive a bonus payoff of up to $25 per day.

Picks and Plays

Keeneland: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (about seven furlongs, 3:08 p.m. ET)

#3 Tarifa (6-1) is a Godolphin homebred daughter of Bernardini out of Kite Beach, by Awesome Again. This is a pedigree geared toward success running long, so Tarifa figures to relish every inch of this approximately seven-furlong trip.

Even better, Tarifa has shown speed in the mornings, most notably clocking five furlongs from the Keeneland starting gate in :59 4/5. She looks ready to outrun her 6-1 morning line odds and potentially vie for victory, so we’ll place a large win bet on Tarifa.


  • #3 Tarifa (6-1)
  • #7 Snow Dance (7-2)
  • #5 Yes to Champagne (9-2)


  • $30 to win on #3 Tarifa

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 4:03 p.m. ET)

#2 Lingonberry (9-5) ran strongly in his debut sprinting six furlongs over this track and class level, carving out a quick pace before weakening in the final furlong to finish second by 1 1/2 lengths. Even in defeat, he earned a 72 Brisnet Speed rating higher than the par winning number (68) for Wednesday’s conditions.

As a result, Lingonberry has to be viewed as the horse to beat for high-percentage trainer Brad Cox, who strikes at a 28% rate with second-time starters. A win bet is in order, along with an exacta using longshot first-time starters #1 Mischievous Mind (8-1) and #9 Secret Glenda (12-1) for second place. Their trainers have enjoyed success debuting juveniles in dirt sprints at Horseshoe Indianapolis this meet.


  • #2 Lingonberry (9-5)
  • #1 Mischievous Mind (8-1)
  • #9 Secret Glenda (12-1)


  • $18 to win on #2 Lingonberry
  • $6 Exacta: 2 with 1,9 ($12)
    Total: $30

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 6: Maiden Special Weight (one mile, 5:05 p.m. ET)

Trainer Brad Cox has done very well debuting juveniles in dirt routes at Horseshoe Indianapolis this meet, going 3-for-6 (50%). This bodes well for Cox’s unraced two-year-old #2 Blown Cover (3-1), a stoutly bred son of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner.

Blown Cover breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Horseshoe Indianapolis last Wednesday, so he has every chance to challenge for top honors. We’ll bet Blown Cover to win and key him over Kentucky raider #9 Planet (5-2) in a cold exacta.


  • #2 Blown Cover (3-1)
  • #9 Planet (5-2)
  • #8 Workislife (8-1)


  • $18 to win on #2 Blown Cover
  • $7 Exacta: 2 with 9
    Total: $25

Carryover Watch

Keeneland: Race 3: $54,576 Pick 6 carryover (2:04 p.m. ET)

The Wednesday card at Keeneland is highlighted by a $54,576 non-jackpot carryover in the $1 Pick 6.

It’s a difficult sequence to handicap. Before scratches, every race contains at least 11 entries. Even once you exclude also-eligible and main-track-only entrants from the mix, the six races contain 67 horses (averaging nearly 11.2 per race) and 1,900,800 possible outcomes. Wow!

Live longshots abound in a sequence this competitive, and we have a couple to recommend. The first is the above-mentioned #3 Tarifa (6-1) in Race 5, for reasons outlined previously. As the co-fourth choice on the morning line in a race that is likely to feature a full field of 12 starters, Tarifa will add value to the Pick 6 if she delivers victory on debut.

The other price horse we’re keen to support can be found in Race 3, a $150,000 maiden claimer for two-year-old fillies racing 1 1/16 miles on dirt. Morning line favorite #4 Up On the Edge (7-2) is a must-use contender after finishing second in a pair of maiden special weights for trainer Rodolphe Brisset, who wins at a 33% rate with horses descending from maiden special weight to maiden claiming competition. But #7 When I Look At You (6-1) is compelling for the same reasons, and she’s nearly twice the price on the morning line.

When I Look At You debuted in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs last month and rallied to finish second by a head, a noteworthy performance given that trainer Kenny McPeek isn’t known for cranking his juveniles to win on debut. McPeek-trained juveniles often improve second-time out and when stretching out in distance, so the fact When I Look At You enters Wednesday’s contest off fast workouts (including a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Churchill Downs) can be taken as confirmation that she’s sitting on improvement.

Throw in the fact McPeek wins at a 23% rate with horses dropping from maiden special weight to maiden claiming company, and When I Look At You looks primed for a winning run at enticing odds.

Good luck!