Keeler Johnson's picks and plays July 12

July 12th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Tuesday, July 12 at Horseshoe Indianapolis and Parx Racing, along with a live longshot to play in Belterra Park’s $2,127 Pick 5 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Colonial Downs $10 Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in any eligible race at Colonial Downs.
  • Assiniboia Downs $1,000 Late Pick 4 Hit It and Split It: Hit the late Pick 4 at Assiniboia Downs on any of three days from July 11-13 to win your share of a $1,000 daily jackpot.
  • Trifecta Tuesday: Receive a 15% bonus (up to $25 per day) on winning trifecta tickets.

Picks and Plays

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (4 1/2 furlongs, 3:32 p.m. ET)

Since 2020, trainer John Ortiz has compiled an otherworldly record debuting juveniles at Indiana Grand. His record stands at five winners and one runner-up from six starters, which equates to an 83% win rate and a 100% in-the-money rate.

One of those five winners was Aaron’s Conquest last Thursday, who breezed half a mile in :48 3/5 on June 21 at Ellis Park before following up with half a mile from the Churchill Downs starting gate in :49 1/5 on June 29. Interestingly, Ortiz’s unraced #3 Fire Baby (6-1) has identical workouts on his record, hinting Aaron’s Conquest and Fire Baby may have been training in company prior to Aaron’s Conquest’s debut.

If Fire Baby shows the same spark as Aaron’s Conquest, he can post an upset victory under apprentice jockey Gage Holmes, who has gone 3-for-4 (75%) teaming up with Ortiz over the last two months. The fact Holmes rides with a seven-pound weight allowance is surely an advantage for Fire Baby.

#5 Mo Moves (9-5), shipping in off a seventh-place finish in his debut at Churchill Downs, can complete the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #3 Fire Baby
  • $10 Exacta: 3 with 5
    Total: $30

Parx Racing: Race 10: Dr. James Penny Memorial S. (G3, 1 1/16 miles on turf, 5:10 p.m. ET)

The Grade 1-placed #3 Princess Grace (9-5) won this race last year as part of a four-race success streak in graded stakes. But the five-year-old mare ran well below form in her 2022 debut, finishing seventh in the Eatontown S. (G3) at Monmouth last month, so she isn’t necessarily unbeatable in her Dr. James Penny Memorial title defense.

We’ll take a shot with the Irish-bred #4 Flirting Bridge (9-2) instead. Placed against group stakes company in her native country, Flirting Bridge ran huge in her U.S. debut for trainer Brendan Walsh, unleashing a powerful rally to dominate a 1 1/16-mile turf allowance at Churchill Downs by 5 1/4 lengths. The daughter of Camelot still has upside and is well worth supporting at her morning line price.

  • $20 to win on #4 Flirting Bridge
  • $10 Exacta: 4 with 3
    Total: $30

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 8: Maiden Special Weight (one mile on turf, 6:07 p.m. ET)

Since 2017, trainer Brad Cox has compiled an excellent 9-for-35 (26%) record saddling first-time starters in turf routes at Indiana Grand. This lofty win percentage bodes well for the chances of Cox’s unraced three-year-old #7 Outbound (4-1).

A Godolphin homebred son of Candy Ride, Outbound was produced by the Danzig mare Zofzig, who has previously foaled five grass winners (including a stakes winner). Outbound has trained with promise at Indiana Grand and appears capable of beating #4 Haloo (9-2), #5 Jeeper (2-1), and #6 Gunton Roe (7-2) in his first run under colors.

We’ll play Outbound on top of exacta and trifecta tickets, designing the latter to capitalize on the Trifecta Tuesday promotion.

  • $6 Exacta: 7 with 4,5,6 ($18)
  • $2 Trifecta: 7 with 4,5,6 with 4,5,6 ($12)
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Belterra Park, Race 5: $2,127 Pick 5 carryover (2:31 p.m. ET)

The racing week at Belterra Park kicks off on Tuesday with a $2,127 carryover up for grabs in the 50-cent Pick 5. If you can assemble a winning ticket, you could be in for an enticing payoff.

The five-race sequence attracted 52 horses (averaging 10.4 per field) before scratches, and while some are also-eligibles and others are coupled in the betting, it’s clearly a competitive Pick 5. Narrowing down the contenders isn’t easy, and identifying a trustworthy single could be challenging.

But live longshots? They abound in a sequence like this. One of the best might be found in Race 8, a $12,500 claimer for fillies and mares who have never won two races. The distance is one mile on turf, but only three of the 10 entrants have managed to win a turf race.

One of the proven grass types is #2 Lucky Shore (20-1), who unleashed a big rally to win a $12,500 maiden claimer racing one mile at Belterra Park last year. She’s only run once since then on turf, finishing sixth out of 10 in a $12,500 claimer for non-winners of two races at Horseshoe Indianapolis to wrap up her 2021 campaign.

Lucky Shore competed with aplomb against slightly tougher $15,000 company at Turfway Park during the winter, finishing second and fifth in a pair of 6 1/2 furlong sprints over the Tapeta track. And lately, she’s been competing in $12,500 claimers over the Belterra Park main track, cracking the trifecta in two of her four runs.

Lucky Shore will return to the course and distance of her maiden win on Tuesday, opening the door for a winning run at impressive odds. Her best Brisnet Speed ratings are competitive in this spot, and trainer Robert Sturgeon has gone 2-for-6 (33%) with horses switching from dirt to turf in recent years.

Now, Lucky Shore probably isn’t the type of horse to single in the Pick 5. #5 Reveling (5-1), for example, also offers appeal after essentially wiring a $12,500 maiden claimer racing one mile over the Belterra turf last month for ultra-hot trainer Jimmy Corrigan.

But Lucky Shore has run faster than Reveling on the Brisnet Speed rating scale, and at 20-1, she could be the key to cashing a lucrative Pick 5 payoff.

Good luck!