Keeler Johnson's picks and plays May 15

May 15th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, May 15 at Horseshoe Indianapolis and Presque Isle Downs, including a horse to single in the $33,764 Pick 5 carryover at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • $10 Money Back Mondays: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in any eligible race at Will Rogers Downs or Parx Racing, every Monday from April 3 through May 15.

Picks and Plays

Presque Isle Downs: Race 1: $6,250 Claiming (five furlongs on Tapeta, 3:00 p.m. ET)

Trainer Eduardo Rojas enjoyed a hot start to the 2022 Presque Isle Downs meet, compiling a stellar 10-4-1-3 record during the first two weeks of racing. That’s a 40% win rate and an 80% in-the-money rate.

Perhaps Rojas can start the 2023 meet on a similar note with #1 Macrelletta (8-1). The four-year-old filly struggled in her final few starts of 2022, but last summer she broke her maiden in a $15,000 maiden claimer over this track and subsequently finished third in a $6,250 claimer.

Macrelletta has been freshened for her 2023 return and is eligible to outrun expectations on Monday, especially when you consider how morning line choice #5 Money and Honey (7-5) hasn’t run in 14 months. A win bet is in order, along with exacta and trifecta tickets using #4 Breezy Connection (5-2), the speedy longshot #3 Sheer Alice (12-1), and Money and Honey underneath.


  • #1 Macrelletta (8-1)
  • #4 Breezy Connection (5-2)
  • #3 Sheer Alice (12-1)


  • $16 to win on #1 Macrelletta
  • $4 Exacta: 1 with 3,4 ($8)
  • $1.50 Trifecta: 1 with 3,4 with 3,4,5 ($6)
    Total: $30

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (4 1/2 furlongs, 3:01 p.m. ET)

#5 Laugh Now (12-1) tired in his debut racing 5 1/2 furlongs over the Keeneland turf course, but he was facing a promising field over a surface he possibly didn’t relish. His sire (Vino Rosso) and dam sire (Tiznow) combined to win three editions of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), so switching from turf to dirt can trigger improvement from Laugh Now. The addition of blinkers is another encouraging sign, as is the fact he’ll be ridden by hot jockey Marcelino Pedroza.

Let’s bet Laugh Now to win and key him over #4 Grove St. (7-2) and #3 Untroubled (8-5) in the exacta for good measure.


  • #5 Laugh Now (12-1)
  • #4 Grove St. (7-2)
  • #3 Untroubled (8-5)


  • $20 to win on #5 Laugh Now
  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 3,4 ($10)
  • Total: $30

Presque Isle Downs: Race 6: $6,250 Starter Allowance (six furlongs on Tapeta, 5:15 p.m. ET)

#6 Enjoy the Music (7-5) boasts a strong 13-8-3-1 record at Presque Isle Downs. The six-year-old gelding spent the winter at Turfway Park, where he won three straight $5,000 starter allowance sprints before finishing a good fourth in a one-mile $5,000 starter allowance.

Cutting back to six furlongs and returning to Presque Isle can send Enjoy the Music to the winner’s circle for high-percentage trainer Larry Rivelli. We’ll bet Enjoy the Music over #4 Grainger County (9-2) in a cold exacta.


  • #6 Enjoy the Music (7-5)
  • #4 Grainger County (9-2)
  • #7 Quartermaster (4-1)


  • $20 Exacta: 6 with 4

Carryover Watch

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 4: $33,764 Pick 5 carryover (4:03 p.m. ET)

The racing week is kicking off on a high note at Horseshoe Indianapolis. The Late Fire 5 (a 50-cent Pick 5 wager starting in Race 4) features a $33,764 non-jackpot carryover, adding value to an already enticing wager with a low 11.99% takeout rate.

A challenging sequence is on tap. Every race in the Pick 5 contains at least eight entries before scratches. All told, there are 56 horses (averaging 11.2 per race) and 161,280 possible outcomes, which are large numbers for a Pick 5.

Fortunately, we can reduce the complexity of the sequence by singling heavy favorite #7 Jais’s Solitude (4-5) in Race 8, a $10,000 claimer taking place over one mile on turf. With 14 entries (including two also-eligibles) in the mix, a single in Race 8 cuts the number of Pick 5 possibilities to consider from 161,280 to 11,520.

Jais’s Solitude has been facing tougher competition than he’ll encounter at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Last time out, he finished fifth in the 1 1/8-mile Turf Classic S. against Florida-breds at Tampa Bay Downs. Two starts back, he ran fourth (beaten 2 1/2 lengths) in a $32,000 starter optional claimer racing 1 1/16 miles over the Gulfstream Park turf course. And three starts back, he rallied nicely to win a $20,000 allowance optional claimer racing 1 1/16 miles against Florida-breds at Gulfstream.

Those three performances yielded sharp Brisnet Speed ratings of 87, 89, and 83. Dropping down into a $10,000 claimer in his first start for trainer Eddie Kenneally (a 20% winner this year) should make Jais’s Solitude tough to beat. The fact he’ll be ridden by hot jockey Declan Cannon (3-for-11, 27% to start the Horseshoe Indianapolis meet) adds to the appeal.

Some bettors might wish to use #12 Takafumi (12-1) as backup; earlier this year he won a pair of $12,500 claimers racing one mile over the synthetic Tapeta track at Turfway Park. Takafumi is a capable turf competitor, but he hasn’t competed over the surface in his last eight starts and trailed home in a recent run over the Horseshoe Indianapolis dirt, his first start since switching trainers. He also risks a wide trip from post 12, so there are enough questions marks surrounding Takafumi to make Jais’s Solitude a viable single.

Good luck!