Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of July 13

July 13th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, July 13 at Delaware Park, Saratoga, and Horseshoe Indianapolis, including tickets for the $3,431 Super High 5 carryover at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Hoosier Park $1,000 Pick 4 Hit It & Split It: Hit the late Pick 4 on Thursdays at Hoosier Park to win your share of a $1,000 weekly jackpot.
  • Colonial Downs Thursday Leaderboard: Place $10+ win bets on Thursdays at Colonial Downs to compete for your share of a $2,500 weekly jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Delaware Park: Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs, 1:30 p.m. ET)

#4 Rapid Ruby (5-2) debuted in a $50,000 maiden claimer at Delaware Park and carved out a decent pace before weakening to finish second by 1 1/2 lengths. Red-hot trainer John Rigattieri has won with 31% of his starters this year and is 1-for-1 with horses jumping from maiden claiming to maiden special weight competition over the past few years, so Rapid Ruby has upset potential in her second career start.

#3 Beads (9-5), switching from turf to dirt off a seventh-place debut at Belmont Park, can complete a cold exacta.


  • #4 Rapid Ruby (5-2)
  • #3 Beads (9-5)
  • #5 Joyful Kitten (7-2)


  • $20 to win on #4 Rapid Ruby
  • $10 Exacta: 4 with 3
    Total: $30

Saratoga: Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 1:44 p.m. ET)

#5 Lady Blitz (4-1) was favored at 6-5 in her debut at Monmouth Park last month, but broke slowly over a wet fast track and finished fifth. Still, she showed some interest late (gaining 1 3/4 lengths through the final furlong) and was only beaten 2 1/2 lengths.

Trainer Todd Pletcher is bringing Lady Blitz back in an arguably tougher contest where she’ll be guided by four-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. The stage is set for Lady Blitz to move forward and vie for victory at a nice price.

We’ll look for either #6 Lady Moscato (3-1) or #2 Empire Island (5-2) to round out the exacta.


  • #5 Lady Blitz (4-1)
  • #6 Lady Moscato (3-1)
  • #2 Empire Island (5-2)


  • $20 to win on #5 Lady Blitz
  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 2,6 ($10)
    Total: $30

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 2:41 p.m. ET)

Since 2018, trainer Laura Wohlers has compiled an excellent 4-for-11 (36%) record saddling first-time starters in sprints at Horseshoe Indianapolis. That includes a 2-for-3 (67%) record since 2021.

Perhaps Wohler can pick up another victory courtesy of #2 Homerunhappy (8-5). The son of champion sprinter Runhappy faces an unremarkable field and showed speed when breezing a bullet three furlongs in :34 4/5 at The Thoroughbred Center last month, suggesting he has the talent to challenge in this 5 1/2-furlong dash.

#1 Blocked (5-2), cutting back in distance after setting the pace in a $100,000 maiden claimer racing seven furlongs at Ellis Park, is a logical candidate to complete the exacta.


  • #2 Homerunhappy (8-5)
  • #1 Blocked (5-2)
  • #7 Be Ruthless (20-1)


  • $15 to win on #2 Homerunhappy
  • $5 Exacta: 2 with 1
    Total: $20

Carryover Watch

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 6: $3,431 Super High 5 carryover (4:45 p.m. ET)

Many non-jackpot Super High 5 wagers come with a $1 minimum bet amount, making sound tickets expensive to play. But the “Grand High 5” at Horseshoe Indianapolis is an exception, offering a 10-cent minimum that allows tickets to be played at one-tenth the cost of $1 tickets.

That’s why it’s exciting to see a $3,431 Grand High 5 carryover up for grabs on Thursday at Horseshoe Indianapolis—even bettors playing on small budgets can afford to construct competitive tickets. But of course, there’s no guarantee the lower minimum will lead to a winning ticket, especially since Thursday’s carryover is available to chase in Race 6, a maiden special weight for Indiana-breds racing 1 1/16 miles on turf. With 12 horses in the main body of the field plus two on the also-eligible list, there are 240,240 possible outcomes to sort through.

Who are the key contenders? Let’s check them out:

#2 Secret Rendezvous (8-1): He’s never run on turf, but this son of two-time grass champion Gio Ponti has placed a couple of times over this class level on dirt. He exits a stakes for Indiana-breds and is eligible to improve while switching surfaces.

#5 Sargent Hulka (15-1): Many of the entrants in this race are exiting a one-mile contest held over this course and class level on June 24, in which Sargent Hulka tracked a slow pace before staying on to finish second at odds of 36-1. The race was dominated by speed horses, so Sargent Hulka benefited from a favorable setup, but he’s only run once on turf and still has upside at a nice price.

#6 Scenic Justice (7-2): The morning line favorite hasn’t missed the trifecta in three recent starts over this turf course, including a couple of maiden special weights for Indiana-breds. His 0-for-9 lifetime record isn’t especially inspiring, but he seems likely to finish in the top three or four and should be heavily supported as a result.

#7 Big Stormy (20-1): This son of multiple Grade 1-winning grass star Get Stormy debuted in the June 24 contest and was compromised by the slow pace while finishing seventh. He’s picking up apprentice jockey Walter Rodriguez (who rides with a five-pound weight allowance) for his second start and is eligible to move forward with a better setup.

#8 Bagginshire (20-1): This gelding boasts pretty much the same profile as Big Stormy; having raced off the pace on his way to finishing eighth on debut in the June 24 maiden heat. The son of turf champion Flintshire can’t be underestimated for trainer Anthony Granitz, who wins at a 29% rate with horses running on grass for the second time.

#9 Porkyismyname (9-2): After finishing fourth (five lengths behind runner-up Scenic Justice) in a 1 1/16-mile contest over this course and class level on May 30, Porkyismyname improved to run second (1 1/4 lengths in front of Scenic Justice) in a similar one-mile heat on June 22. If you like Scenic Justice, you have to respect Porkyismyname.

#11 Hitchpin (5-1): Finished third on June 24 after settling in fourth position for much of the race. Hitchpin hasn’t missed the top five in any of his 11 starts and has every chance to crack the top five again on Thursday, making him a must-use contender in the Super High 5.

#12 Secreto de Amore (6-1): He was the only closer to do much running in the June 24 contest, rallying from ninth place to finish fourth. That marked Secreto de Amore’s turf debut, so give him a quicker pace to work with on Thursday, and he has every chance to win.

Here’s how we’ll bet the Super High 5:

  • 10-cent Super High 5: 9,12 with 5,6,9,11,12 with 5,6,9,11,12 with 5,6,9,11,12 with 2,5,6,7,8,9,11,12 ($19.20)
  • 10-cent Super High 5: 9,12 with 2,5,6,7,8,9,11,12 with 5,6,9,11,12 with 5,6,9,11,12 with 5,6,9,11,12 ($19.20)
  • 10-cent Super High 5: 2,5,6,7,8,9,11,12 with 9,12 with 5,6,9,11,12 with 5,6,9,11,12 with 5,6,9,11,12 ($19.20)
    Total: $57.60

Good luck!