Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Aug. 8
Picks and Plays
Presque Isle Downs: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs on Tapeta, 1:30 p.m. ET)
#3 Keystone Hank (7-5) is the logical morning line favorite after cracking the trifecta in four straight races over this track and class level, but unless the addition of blinkers sharpens his winning instinct, Keystone Hank seems more likely to settle for a minor award than vie for victory.
We’ll try to beat the favorite with #2 Rainas Rollin (5-2), a filly facing males in her second start. She flashed serious speed when setting the pace in her debut over this track and distance, with splits of :21.94 and :44.89 before weakening in the final furlong to finish third. If she shakes loose on an easier lead while adding Lasix, Rainas Rollin can spring a mild upset victory.
- $20 Exacta: 2 with 3
Colonial Downs: Race 6: $10,000 Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs on turf, 4:05 p.m. ET)
#1 Blame the Booze (1-1) competed in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) and recently returned from a long layoff to run fourth in a $50,000 claimer at Belmont Park, beaten only 1 3/4 lengths. Trainer Wesley Ward wins at a 39% rate with horses descending two or more levels down the class ladder, so dropping into a $10,000 claimer might be all Blame the Booze needs to produce a winning effort.
#9 Run Lea Run (6-1), runner-up over this course, distance, and class level on Aug. 2, can complete the exacta.
- $20 Exacta: 1 with 9
Presque Isle Downs: Race 7: Lady Erie S. (six furlongs on Tapeta, 4:12 p.m. ET)
#6 Lemieux (10-1) has only competed once on a synthetic track, dominating the Juvenile Fillies S. over the Tapeta track at Gulfstream last fall by 6 1/2 lengths. She’s subsequently missed the trifecta in four straight turf stakes, but who’s to say Lemieux can’t bounce back while returning to Tapeta for Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse?
At 10-1, Lemieux is worth betting to win and keying over #3 Loyalty (5-2) and #7 Majestic d’Oro (9-2) in the exacta.
- $10 to win on #6 Lemieux
- $5 Exacta: 6 with 3,7 ($10)
Mountaineer, Race 8: $866 Super High 5 carryover (9:55 p.m. ET)
Another racing week, another non-jackpot carryover to pursue. Monday’s prize pool of choice is an $866 Super High 5 carryover in Race 8 at Mountaineer, a $4,000 claimer for non-winners of four races.
Eight horses have entered the six-furlong dirt dash, and the key contenders are difficult to split. Certainly #4 Ride On Comanche (3-1) offers appeal for hot trainer Richard Zielinski, who has compiled a strong 4-2-1-1 record at Mountaineer this meet. Ride On Comanche has cracked the trifecta in each of his last three starts and was a comfortable winner of a $4,000 claimer for non-winners of three races at Mountaineer last month, earning a respectable 71 Brisnet Speed rating.
But #5 Auger (7-2) is another logical threat. His last two starts over this track and class level have yielded runner-up finishes with Brisnet Speed ratings of 71 and 75, so the six-year-old gelding has already proven effective against this caliber of competition and figures to factor again.
#7 Suddenly Seductive (5-1) also warrants serious respect. A trifecta finisher in six straight races (including all four of his runs this season), Suddenly Seductive produced a sharp rally to win a $4,000 claimer for non-winners of three races at Mountaineer last month. His Brisnet Speed ratings are a little light compared to the two favorites, but Suddenly Seductive’s consistency is appealing.
So how should we bet the Super High 5? We’ll start by keying Ride On Comanche and Auger on top of our tickets, counting on one or the other to win. Then we’ll throw Suddenly Seductive into the mix and rely on all three of these runners to finish in the top four.
For the remaining two slots, we’ll spread a bit deeper while emphasizing #2 Spanish Soul (4-1) and #8 Dialed Up (6-1). Spanish Soul recently nabbed a $4,000 claimer for non-winners of three races at Mountaineer, while Dialed Up is dropping in class out of three starts against tougher competition at Presque Isle Downs.
- $1 Super High 5: 4,5 with 4,5,7 with 4,5,7 with 2,8 with 2,3,6,8 ($24)
- $1 Super High 5: 4,5 with 4,5,7 with 2,8 with 4,5,7 with 2,3,6,8 ($24)