Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Nov. 22
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for a trio of stakes on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at Zia Park, including tickets for the $1,389 carryover in the all-stakes Pick 5.
Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:
- Trifecta Tuesday: Receive a 15% bonus on trifecta winnings (excluding stake amount; up to $25 per day) on every Tuesday through Nov. 29.
Picks and Plays
Zia Park: Race 4: Zia Park Princess S. (six furlongs, 3:21 p.m. ET)
#1 Flying Connection (9-5) finished fifth in her first two starts against maiden special weight competition at Del Mar, including one defeat against future Del Mar Debutante (G1) and Chandelier (G1) winner And Tell Me Nolies. But when Flying Connection shipped to Zia Park for a Nov. 7 maiden special weight, the outcome was decidedly different as Flying Connection smashed a small field by 15 1/4 lengths.
This was a powerful performance on the clock, with Flying Connection running the third quarter-mile in a swift :22.79 and the final sixteenth in :06.01 to earn a 102 Brisnet Late Pace rating. None of Flying Connection’s Tuesday rivals have earned a Late Pace rating higher than 88, and Flying Connection’s 81 Brisnet Speed rating likewise tops the Zia Park Princess field.
- $15 Pick 3: 1 with 1,3 with 5 ($30)
- $10 Exacta: 1 with 4
Zia Park: Race 6: Zia Park Distaff (six furlongs, 4:15 p.m. ET)
Sprinting is a strong suit for #5 Samurai Charm (4-5), a Southern California campaigner who counts placed efforts in the Desert Stormer (G3) and Great Lady M (G2) on her 2022 resume.
Samurai Charm recently traveled to Zia Park for the six-furlong Chaves County S., a race in which she tracked the early pace before seizing command to dominate by 4 3/4 lengths. Sticking to the same track, distance, and class level should allow Samurai Charm to win right back, so we’ll single her to conclude our Pick 3 (see above) and bet her over #3 Our Iris Rose (4-1) in the exacta.
- $20 Exacta: 5 with 3
Zia Park: Race 10: Zia Park Derby (1 1/16 miles, 6:03 p.m. ET)
#5 Apprehend (7-5) has long shown promise sprinting, but the son of Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Arrogate elevated his game to a new level when stretching out for a one-mile allowance optional claimer at Santa Anita last month. Facing older rivals, Apprehend pressed a quick pace before powering away to win by 8 1/2 lengths with a 102 Brisnet Speed rating.
Squaring off against fellow three-year-olds in the Zia Park Derby should send Apprehend to the winner’s circle for the hot jockey/trainer duo of Ramon Vazquez and Peter Miller, who have won at a 34% rate together over the last two months.
Apprehend’s stablemate #2 Perfect Flight (9-5), twice placed against graded stakes competition, can complete a cold Peter Miller exacta.
- $25 Exacta: 5 with 2
Zia Park, Race 6: $1,389 Pick 5 carryover (4:15 p.m. ET)
Tuesday’s all-stakes Pick 5 at Zia Park boasts a $1,389 carryover, adding value to an already enticing sequence. Let’s take a race-by-race look at the 50-cent wager and assemble $45 worth of tickets:
Race 6: Zia Park Distaff (six furlongs)
We’ve already made our case for #5 Samurai Charm (4-5) as a standout favorite in her second local start, and we’ll single the five-year-old mare to start the Pick 5.
Race 7: Zia Park Sprint (six furlongs)
#1 Empire of Gold (8-5) threw down a flashy 100 Brisnet Speed rating when finishing second in the six-furlong David M. Vance S. at Remington Park two months ago. He’s a logical choice to claim top honors, though local runners #5 Sweet River Baines (10-1) and #7 Competitive Idea (3-1) aren’t necessarily out of the mix for hot trainer Dick Cappellucci, and stakes winner #2 It Makes Sense (6-1) has a shot to bounce back after unexpectedly finishing ninth in the David M. Vance.
Race 8: Zia Park Championship (1 1/8 miles)
Southern California raider #2 Tripoli (4-5) won the 2021 Pacific Classic (G1) and most recently came home second in an $80,000 allowance optional claimer at Santa Anita. The John Sadler trainee should find the competition easier at Zia Park, though #1 Mine That Star (9-2) is a viable alternative after trouncing the Veterans S. at Zia by eight lengths, and Steve Sexton Mile (G3) winner #6 Silver Prospector (7-2) is worth including too.
Race 9: Zia Park Oaks (1 1/16 miles)
#6 Bella Runner (9-5) enters off consecutive runner-up finishes against allowance company at Churchill Downs and Keeneland, stamping the daughter of Gun Runner as a serious win threat while shipping to Zia Park. But Remington Park Oaks (G3) winner #3 Hits Pricey Legacy (5-2) is 2-for-2 facing fellow three-year-old fillies this season, and #4 Kirstenbosch (5-2) wired a $40,000 allowance optional claimer at Del Mar in her most recent dirt run. Either one could spring a mild upset.
Race 10: Zia Park Derby (1 1/16 miles)
As outlined previously, California raider #5 Apprehend (7-5) is the horse to beat if he repeats his powerful allowance optional claiming score from last month. We’ll single the son of Arrogate to conclude the Pick 5.
- $1 Pick 5: 5 with 1,2,5,7 with 1,2,6 with 3,4,6 with 5 ($36)
- $1 Pick 5: 5 with 1 with 1,2,6 with 3,4,6 with 5 ($9)