Keeler Johnson's picks and plays June 24

June 24th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Friday, June 24 at Belmont Park and Churchill Downs, along with a ticket for the $7,008 Super High 5 carryover at Churchill.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Exacta Insurance: Receive refunds on exacta bets (up to $10) if your two selected horses finish in the first three home (but not in the winning order) in select races at Laurel Park. Offer applies to straight exacta bets only.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in eligible races at Eagle Farm (Australia).
  • Churchill Downs Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in select races at Churchill Downs.

Picks and Plays

Belmont Park: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs, 3:03 p.m. ET)

#5 Ten Cent Town (6-1) looks like a nice-priced contender in this maiden sprint for New York-bred juveniles. Trainer William Morey wins at an excellent 25% rate with horses debuting in maiden special weights, and Morey’s 3-for-6 (50%) overall record at Belmont this year is eye-catching.

Ten Cent Town has shown speed in the mornings, most notably breezing half a mile from the starting gate in :47 4/5 over the Belmont Park training track. At 6-1, Ten Cent Town is worth betting to win and keying over #6 Quick Chaos (9-2), #9 Little Luca (8-1), and #10 I’m Wide Awake (6-1) in the exacta.

  • $15 to win on #5 Ten Cent Town
  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 6,9,10
    Total: $30

Churchill Downs: Race 6: $50,000 Maiden Claiming (six furlongs, 3:18 p.m. ET)

#8 Shared Future (4-1) is dropping down the class ladder after finishing second and fourth in a pair of $100,000 allowance optional claiming sprints at Oaklawn Park. The daughter of Twirling Candy brings competitive Brisnet Speed ratings to the table and should receive a decent pace to chase while facing several speedy rivals, setting the stage for victory.

Taking advantage of the Churchill Downs Bet Back promotion, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Shared Future. Then we’ll look toward #2 I Cross My Heart (9-2) or #6 One Way Or Another (7-2) to complete the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #8 Shared Future
  • $5 Exacta: 8 with 2,6 ($10)
    Total: $20

Churchill Downs: Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (1 3/16 miles, 3:50 p.m. ET)

#4 Scotland Yard (4-1) has finished behind #7 Pioneering Spirit (7-5) in a pair of 1 1/16-mile maiden special weights at Churchill Downs this spring, but the outcome might be different on Friday. Scotland Yard is bred to relish stretching out over 1 3/16 miles, and his early speed should give him a tactical advantage over Pioneering Spirit in this largely paceless field.

We’ll play the race accordingly, betting Scotland Yard to win and keying him over Pioneering Spirit in a cold exacta.

  • $10 to win on #4 Scotland Yard
  • $10 Exacta: 4 with 7
    Total: $20

Carryover Watch

Churchill Downs, Race 9: $7,008 Super High 5 carryover (4:55 p.m. ET)

If you want to win a share of the $7,008 Super High 5 carryover up for grabs on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs, you’ll have to decipher an intensely difficult handicapping challenge.

The $1 wager is available to play in Race 9, a $20,000 maiden claimer taking place over a one-turn mile on the Churchill Downs main track. A total of 11 horses have been entered (which equates to 55,440 possible outcomes), and many are shifting up or down the class ladder, making it difficult to predict which horses will fit at this particular class level.

At first glance, #8 Officer Nick (4-1) seems like a prime contender, and perhaps he is. The three-year-old son of Frosted finished second after carving out the pace in a 1 1/16-mile event over this track and class level on June 5, earning a respectable 73 Brisnet Speed rating.

But Officer Nick was beaten a dozen lengths in that $20,000 maiden claimer. The runner-up finish looks good on his record, but might #10 Arrow Strike (5-1) be the stronger win contender? Arrow Strike has finished fourth, seventh, and fifth in his last three starts, but those defeats came against $50,000 and $30,000 maiden claiming company on the Kentucky circuit. He was only beaten 6 1/2 lengths in a $30,000 maiden claimer last time out, and dropping down the class ladder might be all Arrow Strike needs to challenge for victory.

Morning line favorite #7 Chrome’s Right (7-2) has run marginally faster than Arrow Strike on the Brisnet Speed rating scale, posting a 77 when finishing third in a $10,000 maiden claimer over this track and distance on June 2. But can he repeat the figure while stepping up in class?

#1 Hornbeam (9-2) was most recently eased in a $50,000 maiden claimer at Churchill after running into trouble on the first turn, but he’d previously placed against maiden special weight company over the synthetic Tapeta track at Turfway Park and is eligible to bounce back with a clean run on Friday.

If we key Arrow Strike on top of our ticket, we can afford to spread deeper underneath:

  • $1 Super High 5: 10 with 7,8 with 1,7,8 with 1,5,7,8,9,11 with 1,5,6,7,8,9,11 ($64)

Good luck!