Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Aug. 17

August 17th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, Aug. 17 at Colonial Downs, Delaware Park, and Presque Isle Downs, including a trio of exactas.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in eligible races at York (England).

Picks and Plays

Delaware Park: Race 1: $25,000 Maiden Claiming (six furlongs, 12:30 p.m. ET)

#2 Citi Creek (5-2) is the morning line favorite after finishing second in a $40,000-$35,000 maiden claimer on July 20 at Delaware Park. But the stretch-running colt only edged third-place finisher #3 Swifty Devil (6-1) by half a length, and Swifty Devil may have more upside for improvement.

Swifty Devil debuted on July 20 and carved out a quick pace before weakening in the final furlong. He’ll add Lasix on Wednesday (a 42% winning move for trainer Anthony Pecoraro), and it’s worth noting Pecoraro strikes at a 31% rate with second-time starters.

At 6-1, Swifty Devil is worth betting to win and keying over Citi Creek in a cold exacta.

  • $20 to win on #3 Swifty Devil
  • $10 Exacta: 3 with 2
    Total: $30

Colonial Downs: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 3:37 p.m. ET)

Trainer Hamilton Smith wins at an 8% rate with first-time starters, but his success rate jumps to 17% with horses debuting in maiden special weights, suggesting Smith’s unraced gelding #3 Porch Swing (8-1) is worth supporting in this dash for two-year-olds.

Porch Swing is a son of Irish War Cry, a stakes-winning juvenile who is siring a respectable 14 percent winners from first-time starters. Porch Swing breezed a bullet five furlongs at the Elloree Training Center last month and looks ready to outrun his 8-1 morning line odds.

A win bet will be our first order of business, followed by an exacta using first-time starters #5 City Humor (4-1) and #6 Saturn Boy (2-1) for second place.

  • $20 to win on #3 Porch Swing
  • $5 Exacta: 3 with 5,6 ($10)
    Total: $30

Presque Isle Downs: Race 6: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs on Tapeta, 3:45 p.m. ET)

#5 Carronade (3-1) ran into a bit of traffic trouble when finishing fourth in his debut against maiden special weight company at Gulfstream Park back in January. The son of Lord Nelson has since been freshened and transferred to the care of trainer S. Matthew Kintz, who wins at a lofty 28% rate with horses returning from layoffs of 90 days or more.

Carronade should find the competition at Presque Isle a bit easier, and hot jockey Avery Whisman (a 21% winner this meet) is named to ride, so we’ll bet Carronade to win and key him on top in the exacta and trifecta.

  • $16 to win on #5 Carronade
  • $8 Exacta: 5 with 4
  • $3 Trifecta: 5 with 4 with 6,8 ($6)
    Total: $30

Good luck!