Keeler Johnson's picks and plays May 22

May 22nd, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, May 22 at Horseshoe Indianapolis and Presque Isle Downs, along with tickets for the $533 Super High 5 carryover at Louisiana Downs.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Assiniboia Downs $1,000 Late Pick 4 Hit It & Split It: Hit the Late Pick 4 at Assiniboia Downs to split an additional $1,000 jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (one mile, 3:01 p.m. ET)

#1 Loupit (2-5) debuted with a respectable fourth-place finish in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Oaklawn Park last month, for which she received a 77 Brisnet Speed rating equal to the par winning number for Monday’s conditions at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

Kenny McPeek isn’t a frequent winner with first-time starters, but his success rate with horses running long for the second time stands at a lofty 21%. Loupit figures to move forward in her second start and cruise to victory at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

The beautifully bred #5 Spun Oats (5-1) can complete the exacta while adding blinkers and trying dirt for the first time. We’ll use the speedy #3 Midnight Grind (10-1) to round out the trifecta.


  • #1 Loupit (2-5)
  • #5 Spun Oats (5-1)
  • #3 Midnight Grind (10-1)


  • $20 Exacta: 1 with 5
  • $10 Trifecta: 1 with 5 with 3
    Total: $30

Presque Isle Downs: Race 8: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta, 6:09 p.m. ET)

#1 Rainas Rollin (5-1) was a bit unlucky not to break her maiden last year. The speedy filly hit the board in all five of her starts against maiden special weight competition at Presque Isle Downs, finishing second in each of her last three runs. The best of those efforts was a half-length miss against males to complete the year.

Rainas Rollin is facing fellow fillies and mares in her 2023 debut. Trainer Ronald Rogers has gone 1-for-1 to start the meet, while the rail post has gone 4-for-15 (27%) in 5 1/2-furlong sprints. Throw in the fact pacesetters have gone 5-for-15 (33%) over this distance, and Rainas Rollin is a logical choice to finally graduate from the maiden ranks.

We’ll bet Rainas Rollin to win and key her over #11 Geared Up (6-1) and #3 Jaylee (4-1) in the exacta.


  • #1 Rainas Rollin (5-1)
  • #11 Geared Up (6-1)
  • #3 Jaylee (4-1)


  • $18 to win on #1 Rainas Rollin
  • $6 Exacta: 1 with 3,11 ($12)
    Total: $30

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 9: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs on turf, 6:38 p.m. ET)

Since 2018, trainer Wesley Ward has compiled a strong 13-5-3-2 record debuting juveniles in turf sprints at Horseshoe Indianapolis. That’s a 38% win rate and a 77% in-the-money rate.

Ward has a pair of first-time starters entered in this grass dash for juveniles: #3 Drunken Sailor (9-2) (scratch) and #5 Candymaker (1-1). Of the pair, we prefer Candymaker, a fast-working colt who has four-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. named to ride.

We’ll key Candymaker over Drunken Sailor in a cold exacta.


  • #5 Candymaker (1-1)
  • #3 Drunken Sailor (9-2) (scratch)
  • #4 Ore Mine (6-1) (scratch)


  • $20 Exacta: 5 with 3

Carryover Watch

Louisiana Downs: Race 8: $533 Super High 5 carryover (6:21 p.m. ET)

If you feel like starting the new week by chasing a non-jackpot Super High 5 carryover, you’re advised to check out Louisiana Downs. Race 8, the final event on Monday afternoon, features a $533 carryover in the 50-cent Super High 5.

Race 8 is a five-furlong turf allowance with a couple of eligibility conditions. It’s open to horses who have never won four races or horses who haven’t won two races in the last year. An eight-horse field has turned out, offering 6,720 possible Super High 5 outcomes.

The race is difficult to analyze for several reasons. For example, what do we make of morning line favorite #8 Pepper Jack (3-1), who enters off a 16-race losing streak? He’s won three times on grass, but failed to finish better than third in a quartet of turf races at Sam Houston during the winter. Three of those were $10,000 starter optional claimers and the other was a $15,000 claimer, and the Brisnet Speed ratings Pepper Jack posted (in the 77-80 range) all came in below the 83 that stands as the par winning number for Monday’s conditions.

In other words, Pepper Jack is shaping up as a vulnerable favorite. And second choice #7 Count de Monet (7-2) looks a bit unreliable as well. He started his career with three consecutive victories, including a three-length triumph in the Advent S. at Oaklawn Park. But Count de Monet’s form has deteriorated in his last three starts, and he’s never run on turf, so there’s no guarantee he’ll bring his A-game over the Louisiana Downs lawn.

If you want to play a horse who hasn’t run on turf, #5 Old Homestead (4-1) might be the more compelling choice. He also won his first three starts, culminating with a 3 3/4-length romp in the Lafayette S. at Keeneland last year. And two months ago, Old Homestead returned from a long layoff to finish second in an $80,000 allowance optional claimer at Fair Grounds, beaten only half a length by a next-out winner after setting the pace.

Let’s take a stand and key Old Homestead on top in the Super High 5. Underneath, we’ll emphasize #3 Meant for Me (5-1), who is 1-for-1 on turf following a decisive score in a $25,000 claimer at Sam Houston last time out. The five-year-old gelding still has upside for improvement on grass and will be ridden by hot jockey Angel Suarez, who has gone 7-for-28 (25%) at Louisiana Downs this meet.

  • 50-cent Super High 5: 5 with 3 with 2,4,6,8 with 2,4,6,7,8 with 2,4,6,7,8 ($24)
  • 50-cent Super High 5: 5 with 2,4,6,8 with 3 with 2,4,6,7,8 with 2,4,6,7,8 ($24)
    Total: $48

Good luck!