Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Jan. 12

January 12th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, Jan. 12 at Fair Grounds and Turfway Park, including tickets for Turfway’s $2,116 Super High 5 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Fair Grounds $1,000 Late Pick 5 Hit It and Split It: Hit the Late Pick 5 at Fair Grounds on any day of live racing from Jan. 5-31 (excluding Jan. 21) to win your share of a daily $1,000 bonus jackpot.
  • Turfway Park $2,500 Thursday Leaderboard Contest: Place $10+ win wagers at Turfway Park on Thursdays from Jan. 5-26 to earn points and play for your share of a $2,500 weekly jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Fair Grounds: Race 5: $20,000 Starter Allowance (six furlongs, 4:15 p.m. ET)

#4 All West (2-1) has been in red-hot form for high-percentage trainer Chris Hartman. After rallying to win a $10,000 starter allowance racing 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs (earning a sharp 97 Brisnet Speed rating), All West cut back to six furlongs for a $20,000 starter allowance at Fair Grounds and promptly prevailed with a 93 Brisnet Speed rating.

None of All West’s rivals have posted a Brisnet Speed rating higher than 91 in their last three starts, so we’ll count on All West to deliver a third consecutive victory.

#1 Gormleys Got Game (5-1) and #5 Emerald Forest (9-5) can battle for places in the exacta and trifecta.


  • #4 All West (2-1)
  • #5 Emerald Forest (9-5)
  • #1 Gormleys Got Game (5-1)


  • $10 Exacta: 4 with 1,5 ($20)
  • $5 Trifecta: 4 with 1,5 with 1,5 ($10)
    Total: $30

Fair Grounds: Race 6: Maiden Special Weight (one mile, 4:45 p.m. ET)

#5 Allnight Moonlight (9-5) has shown promising form sprinting over this track and class level for trainer Ron Faucheux. After finishing second by 3 3/4 lengths in a six-furlong dash on Nov. 25, Allnight Moonlight improved to run second by 1 1/4 lengths in an identical race on Dec. 26, improving his Brisnet Speed rating from 79 to 85.

Allnight Moonlight has enough stamina in his pedigree to suggest stretching out over one mile won’t be an issue, so with hot jockey Jareth Loveberry in the saddle, Allnight Moonlight is an enticing choice to defeat #1 Slick and Fast (4-1) and #4 I Don’t Venmo (7-2).


  • #5 Allnight Moonlight (9-5)
  • #1 Slick and Fast (4-1)
  • #4 I Don’t Venmo (7-2)


  • $15 Exacta: 5 with 1,4 ($30)

Turfway Park: Race 4: $15,000 Maiden Claiming (one mile on Tapeta, 7:25 p.m. ET)

Hot trainer William Morey (a 28% winner at Turfway since Nov. 30) appears to be pulling out all the stops to secure victory with #6 Life and Light (4-1). After finishing off the board in his first two starts against $30,000 maiden claiming competition, Life and Light is dropping sharply in class, adding Lasix, gaining blinkers, and picking up apprentice jockey Walter Rodriguez.

Rodriguez rides with a seven-pound weight allowance and is winning 21% of the time at Turfway, so there’s a lot to like about Life and Light’s chances. We’ll bet the three-year-old gelding to win and add #7 King Shaman (9-2) and #9 Coalminer’s Kitten (3-1) for exacta purposes.


  • #6 Life and Light (4-1)
  • #7 King Shaman (9-2)
  • #9 Coalminer’s Kitten (3-1)


  • $20 to win on #6 Life and Light
  • $5 Exacta: 6 with 7,9 ($10)
  • Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Turfway Park, Race 8: $2,116 Super High 5 carryover (9:25 p.m. ET)

It’s no wonder why Turfway Park tosses up Super High 5 carryovers on a regular basis. The $1 wager is available to play in the final race on every card, and the final race usually features a full or overflowing field that’s almost impossible to decipher.

Thursday’s card is a perfect example. There’s a $2,116 Super High 5 carryover up for grabs in Race 8, a $15,000 maiden claimer taking place over one mile on Tapeta. The race has drawn 14 entries, including two on the also-eligible list, which equates to 240,240 possible Super High 5 outcomes before scratches. Yikes!

The good news is, there are a couple of seemingly trustworthy horses to build tickets around. The first is #1 Tricolour (4-1), who ran second over this precise track, distance, and class level on Dec. 29. Tricolour got an inside trip that day and led in midstretch before ultimately missing by a neck, earning a solid 77 Brisnet Speed rating. He’s drawn the rail on Thursday and has every chance to work out another ground-saving journey.

The other horse to strongly consider is #5 Laytown (5-2), a Godolphin homebred trained by Brendan Walsh. The four-year-old gelding has run exclusively against maiden special weight company, and in his Turfway debut on Dec. 17 he was prominent until the eighth pole and only weakened late to finish seventh.

With Brisnet Speed ratings of 76, 80, 74, and 75 under his belt, Laytown is fast enough to challenge for victory while dropping down to the $15,000 maiden claiming level. The fact Walsh wins at a 28% rate with horses shifting from maiden special weight to maiden claiming company adds to the appeal.

So how should we bet the Super High 5? We recommend keying Laytown on top and counting on Tricolour to finish either second or third. Add in horses like #4 Paintsville (9-2), #6 Mid Atlantic (8-1), #7 Midway Miracle (20-1), #8 No Limitation (10-1), and #11 Mr. Yasuda (8-1) underneath, and we should have a fair chance to cash a winning ticket.

  • $1 Super High 5: 5 with 1 with 4,6,8 with 4,6,7,8 with 4,6,7,8,11 ($27)
  • $1 Super High 5: 5 with 4,6,7,8,11 with 1 with 4,6,8 with 4,6,7,8 ($27)
    Total: $54

Good luck!