Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of July 19
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, July 19 at Presque Isle Downs and Saratoga, along with tickets for the $2,835 Super High 5 carryover at Horseshoe Indianapolis.
Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:
- Hoosier Park $10 Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any eligible race at Hoosier Park.
Picks and Plays
Presque Isle Downs: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs on Tapeta, 3:00 p.m. ET)
#6 Checker Cab (6-1) enters off a pair of bullet half-mile workouts from the Presque Isle starting gate. On July 5, he traveled the distance in :46 4/5. On July 12, he clocked an even faster :46.
Trainer Ron Potts has gone 6-for-29 (21%) debuting juveniles at Presque Isle since 2018, and jockey Erin Walker (a 22% winner teaming up with Potts over the last two months) is named to ride. Let’s bet Checker Cab to win and key him over #1 Frizzante (5-2) and #2 Yeah Take That (2-1) in an exacta.
- #6 Checker Cab (6-1)
- #1 Frizzante (5-2)
- #2 Yeah Take That (2-1)
- $20 to win on #6 Checker Cab
- $5 Exacta: 6 with 1,2 ($10)
Saratoga: Race 6: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 4:00 p.m. ET)
#7 Ginuccha (6-1) has put together a sharp work tab for high-percentage trainer Robert Reid Jr., a 24% winner with first-time starters. Most of Ginuccha’s workouts have come at Parx Racing, where Reid is based, but her latest—a solid half-mile in :48.48—came at Saratoga.
Reid could have debuted Ginuccha at Parx, so the fact he’s entered the two-year-old daughter of Maximus Mischief in this rich Saratoga maiden heat is a positive. The only other juvenile Reid has debuted at Saratoga over the last five years was the filly Project Whiskey, who finished third as an 8-1 longshot in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight just like this one.
Throw in the fact Maximus Mischief was an early-maturing Remsen (G2) winner who has already sired five winners from his first crop of foals, and there’s a lot to like about Ginuccha. We’ll bet her to win and key her over #3 Ilikefunsize (7-2) and #9 Khozy Colby (3-1) in the exacta for good measure.
- #7 Ginuccha (6-1)
- #3 Ilikefunsize (7-2)
- #9 Khozy Colby (3-1)
- $20 to win on #7 Ginuccha
- $5 Exacta: 7 with 3,9 ($10)
Saratoga: Race 7: $45,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (one mile on turf, 4:34 p.m. ET)
#2 Masterof the Tunes (9-2) won a six-furlong grass allowance at Belmont Park two starts back, then stretched out over seven furlongs to finish third in a $45,000 allowance optional claimer at Belmont. In the latter race, Masterof the Tunes chased a hot pace from third place before closing 2 1/4 lengths in the final furlong to finish 1 1/4 lengths away from victory.
Masterof the Tunes is a good fit for this class level and has the tactical speed to sit a nice trip under four-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz, a 24% winner at Saratoga this meet and a 26% winner on grass this year.
At 9-2, Masterof the Tunes is worth betting to win and keying over logical challengers #7 Collaboration (3-1) and #9 Im Just Kiddin (7-2) in the exacta.
- #2 Masterof the Tunes (9-2)
- #7 Collaboration (3-1)
- #9 Im Just Kiddin (7-2)
- $20 to win on #2 Masterof the Tunes
- $5 Exacta: 2 with 7,9 ($10)
Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 6: $2,835 Super High 5 carryover (5:05 p.m. ET)
You probably wish you could afford to chase more of the non-jackpot Super High 5 carryovers that pop up with frequency at racetracks across the country. But unfortunately, the minimum bet amount for many of these wagers is $1, and playing strong tickets can quickly grow expensive.
That’s where Horseshoe Indianapolis comes in. The Indiana oval offers a non-jackpot Super High 5 with a 10-cent minimum that can be played at one-tenth the cost of $1 options.
Wednesday’s offering of the “Grand High 5” is even more enticing than usual thanks to a $2,835 carryover. The prize pool is up for grabs in Race 6, an allowance taking place over one mile on dirt. With eight horses in the entries, there are 6,720 possible Super High 5 outcomes.
The morning line favorite is #6 Jr’s Gift (3-1), and his credentials are solid. The four-year-old gelding has hit the board in each of his three dirt starts this year, including a runner-up finish in a $75,000 claimer at Churchill Downs and a fourth-place try in an Ellis Park allowance. Those efforts produced competitive Brisnet Speed ratings of 84 and 88, dancing right around the par winning number for Wednesday’s conditions (86).
But might #4 Call of Honor (5-1) be the better play? The speedy five-year-old gelding was terrific in a $12,500 claimer racing 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland last time out, leading all the way to trounce his opposition by 13 lengths. His reward was a career-best 92 Brisnet Speed rating.
That effort marked Call of Honor’s first start of the season, and he was claimed out of that race by Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, a 30% winner at Horseshoe Indianapolis this meet. Call of Honor is stepping up in class, but he’s picking up hot apprentice jockey Walter Rodriguez, who rides with a five-pound weight allowance. Rodriguez and Asmussen have gone 2-for-6 (33%) teaming up together over the last two months, with two other starters finishing in the top three.
There isn’t a crazy amount of pace in Wednesday’s field, so let’s count on Call of Honor to finish either first or second. Underneath (and on top, in some cases), we’ll emphasize Jr’s Gift and the improving three-year-old #7 Tabeguache (9-2). The latter recently nabbed a one-mile and 70-yard maiden special weight at Horseshoe Indianapolis for red-hot trainer Brad Cox, who is winning at a 35% rate this meet.
- 10-cent Super High 5: 4 with 6,7 with 6,7 with 1,5,8 with ALL ($2.40)
- 10-cent Super High 5: 4 with 6,7 with 6,7 with ALL with 1,5,8 ($2.40)
- 10-cent Super High 5: 4 with 6,7 with 1,5,8 with 6,7 with ALL ($2.40)
- 10-cent Super High 5: 4 with 6,7 with ALL with 6,7 with 1,5,8 ($2.40)
- 10-cent Super High 5: 4 with 6,7 with 1,5,8 with ALL with 6,7 ($2.40)
- 10-cent Super High 5: 4 with 6,7 with ALL with 1,5,8 with 6,7 ($2.40)
- 10-cent Super High 5: 4 with 1,5,8 with 6,7 with 6,7 with ALL ($2.40)
- 10-cent Super High 5: 4 with 1,5,8 with 6,7 with ALL with 6,7 ($2.40)
- 10-cent Super High 5: 6,7 with 4 with 6,7 with 1,5,8 with ALL ($2.40)
- 10-cent Super High 5: 6,7 with 4 with 6,7 with ALL with 1,5,8 ($2.40)
- 10-cent Super High 5: 6,7 with 4 with 1,5,8 with 6,7 with ALL ($2.40)
- 10-cent Super High 5: 6,7 with 4 with 1,5,8 with ALL with 6,7 ($2.40)
- Total: $28.80