Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of Sept. 22
Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:
- Los Alamitos $3,000 Leaderboard: Place $10+ win bets at Los Alamitos from Friday through Sunday to compete for your share of $3,000 in prizes.
- Churchill Downs $10 Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in select races at Churchill Downs.
- $2,000 Everest Carnival Leaderboard: Place $10+ win bets at Rosehill (AUS) on Friday to compete for your share of $2,000 in prizes.
- Caesars Trotting Classic $5,000 Stakes Challenge: Make winning $10+ win wagers in selected stakes races on Friday at Hoosier Park to win a share of a $5,000 prize.
- Caesars Trotting Classic $5,000 Late Pick 4 Hit It & Split It: Hit the Late Pick 4 (Races 12-15) on Friday at Hoosier Park to earn your share of an additional $5,000 jackpot.
Picks and Plays
Churchill Downs: Race 4: $150,000 Maiden Claiming (6 1/2 furlongs, 2:13 p.m. ET)
#10 Burgundy Royale (6-1) raced greenly when debuting in a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Ellis Park, finishing last against a deep field including future Hopeful (G1) runner-up Timberlake and Iroquois (G3) winner West Saratoga. But Burgundy Royale improved significantly in his second start, dueling for command in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Ellis before weakening to finish sixth by 3 3/4 lengths.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas wins at a 24% rate with horses transitioning from maiden special weight to maiden claiming competition, so let’s take advantage of the Churchill Downs $10 Money Back promotion and place a $20 win bet on Burgundy Royale—we’ll receive a $10 refund if he finishes second or third.
For good measure, we’ll play Burgundy Royale over #9 Chryso Alogo (4-1) and #6 Flotation Station (5-2) in the exacta.
- #10 Burgundy Royale (6-1)
- #9 Chryso Alogo (4-1)
- #6 Flotation Station (5-2)
- $20 to win on #10 Burgundy Royale
- $5 Exacta: 10 with 6,9 ($10)
Churchill Downs: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (seven furlongs, 2:45 p.m. ET)
#2 Top Gun Rocket (5-1) has posted five bullet workouts over the Churchill Downs training track, including five furlongs from the starting gate in 1:00. As a son of Into Mischief out of Rocket Twentyone, Top Gun Rocket has the pedigree to show speed and mature from an early age; his full-sister Frank’s Rockette is a 10-time stakes-winning sprinter who placed multiple times against Grade 1 company at age two.
A win bet on Top Gun Rocket is in order, along with an exacta using #9 Masmak (9-2) and #8 Informed Patriot (3-1) for second place.
- #2 Top Gun Rocket (5-1)
- #9 Masmak (9-2)
- #8 Informed Patriot (3-1)
- $20 to win on #2 Top Gun Rocket
- $5 Exacta: 2 with 8,9 ($10)
Charles Town: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (4 1/2 furlongs, 8:32 p.m. ET)
Since 2021, trainer Jeff Runco has compiled an excellent 7-for-29 (24%) record debuting juveniles at Charles Town, with 79% finishing in the top three. This bodes well for Runco’s unraced two-year-old #3 Aye Calypso (5-2), who has put together a sharp work tab capped off by three furlongs in :35 4/5.
As a son of Fiber Sonde, who sires 19% winners from first-time starters, Aye Calypso is bred to win from an early age. Throw in hot jockey Arnaldo Bocachica (a 30% winner at Charles Town this meet), and Aye Calypso is well worth betting to win and keying over #1 Take Your Time (7-2) and #4 Good Buzz (5-1) in the exacta.
- #3 Aye Calypso (5-2)
- #1 Take Your Time (7-2)
- #4 Good Buzz (5-1)
- $18 to win on #3 Aye Calypso
- $6 Exacta: 3 with 1,4 ($12)
Penn National: Race 4: $4,300 Pick 5 carryover (7:28 p.m. ET)
If you have a craving to play the Friday evening card at Penn National, either you’ve heard about the non-jackpot $4,300 Pick 5 carryover up for grabs, or else you’re lucky to have picked the night a carryover is on the table.
Penn National’s Pick 5 features a $1 minimum bet amount, double the 50-cent minimum found at many other tracks. That makes it twice as expensive to play, adding to the complexity of a sequence that features 44 horses (averaging 8.8 per race) and 50,400 possible outcomes before scratches.
Looking for a single to build tickets around? Check out Race 5, a $25,000 maiden claimer taking place over six furlongs on dirt. With only seven horses in the entries, Race 5 features the smallest field in the Pick 5 sequence, making it mathematically the soundest spot in which to seek a single.
The morning line favorite is #1 Chapa (9-5), a three-year-old filly taking on males, and she looks like a standout even while stepping outside the filly and mare ranks. She debuted in an Aug. 3 maiden special weight for fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs at Penn National and showed pace-tracking speed to finish second by 1 1/4 lengths, earning a 74 Brisnet Speed rating.
Chapa tackled another six-furlong maiden special weight for fillies and mares on Aug. 24 at Penn National and carved out a quick pace before battling on to finish second by three-quarters of a length, earning a 72 Brisnet Speed rating.
None of the colts and geldings in Friday’s field have posted a Brisnet Speed rating higher than 66, so Chapa is a standout while dropping down into a $25,000 maiden claimer. Trainer T. Bernard Houghton wins at a 32% rate with horses descending from maiden special weight to maiden claiming competition, and Chapa is adding Lasix (a 22% winning move for Houghton), so there are plenty of positive angles in Chapa’s corner.
Throw in the fact pacesetters have won 40% of six-furlong dirt sprints at Penn National this meet, and Chapa—who appears likely to lead the way while breaking from the rail—is a compelling Pick 5 single.