Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of July 27

July 27th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, July 27 at Saratoga and Colonial Downs, including a horse to single in the $2,927 Pick 6 carryover at Colonial Downs.

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.
  • $5,000 Coast to Coast Daily Challenge: Place winning $10+ win bets on selected races at Saratoga and Del Mar to earn your share of a $5,000 daily prize.

Picks and Plays

Saratoga: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs on turf, 1:10 p.m. ET)

Since 2019, trainer Christophe Clement has gone 3-for-10 debuting juveniles in turf sprints at Saratoga, with another four runners finishing in the top three. That’s a 30% win rate and a 70% in-the-money rate.

This bodes well for #6 Price Is Truth (7-2). The son of early-maturing Belmont (G1) winner Union Rags enters off an encouraging work tab and should have every chance to win this sprint for New York-bred juveniles, considering morning line favorite #7 Jimmythetooth (2-1) has already been beaten twice over this class level.

At 7-2, a win bet on Price Is Truth is in order. We’ll also key him over Jimmythetooth and #10 Film Academy (6-1) in the exacta.


  • #6 Price Is Truth (7-2)
  • #10 Film Academy (6-1)
  • #7 Jimmythetooth (2-1)


  • $20 to win on #6 Price Is Truth
  • $5 Exacta: 6 with 7,10 ($10)
    Total: $30

Colonial Downs: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs on turf, 1:30 p.m. ET)

#5 Shards (3-2) showed promise in his debut on dirt at Gulfstream Park, setting a quick pace before weakening to finish third behind Dickens, who came back to run third against tougher competition in the Sanford (G3) at Saratoga.

Shards is bred to shine on turf, so switching surfaces should make him tough to beat for hot trainer Kelsey Danner, a 21% winner at Colonial Downs this meet.

Let’s single Shards to start a double wager.


  • #5 Shards (3-2)
  • #6 A G Diamond (7-2)
  • #2 Tok Tok (5-2)


  • $20 Double: 5 with 1

Colonial Downs: Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (seven furlongs, 2:08 p.m. ET)

Kelsey Danner’s #1 Dewy’s Beast (5-2) debuted in the above-mentioned Gulfstream maiden contest won by Dickens and finished fourth, four lengths behind Shards. He then ran third in a similar contest, showing improved tactical speed before weakening down the homestretch.

Dewy’s Beast owns decent Brisnet Speed ratings of 70 and 76, not far off the par winning number (79) for Thursday’s conditions. Under hot jockey Antonio Gallardo (a 26% winner at Colonial Downs this meet), Dewy’s Beast is worth betting to win and singling to conclude our double wager.  


  • #1 Dewy’s Beast (5-2)
  • #5 Ascendance (3-2)
  • #7 Chachaching (7-2)


  • $20 to win on #1 Dewy’s Beast

Carryover Watch

Colonial Downs: Race 4: $2,927 Pick 6 carryover (3:08 p.m. ET)

If the thought of playing a Pick 6 with a modest 15% takeout rate and a non-jackpot carryover sounds enticing, then you’re advised to check out the Thursday card at Colonial Downs. The “Old Dominion 6” is a non-jackpot $1 Pick 6 wager, and Thursday’s offering features a $2,927 carryover.

There’s no guarantee anyone will solve Thursday’s sequence. It looks phenomenally difficult to decipher, even by Pick 6 standards. The six races contain 61 horses (averaging just over 10 per race), and four of the fields contain 10 or more horses. All told, there are 970,200 possible outcomes before scratches. Anyone who manages to pluck the winning combination out of all these possibilities is bound to catch a nice payoff.

It’s hard to even think about finding a single in a sequence this competitive, but we’ll give it our best shot. In Race 7, a $25,000 starter optional claimer for fillies and mares racing 1 1/16 miles over the inner turf course, #11 Yankee Dollar (2-1) looms as a possible standout even while facing a large field of 11 rivals.

Aside from a fifth-place finish in her debut, Yankee Dollar hasn’t missed the trifecta in 10 starts, along the way recording five victories. She’s been competing on synthetic as of late, finishing first and second in $25,000 starter optional claimers at Presque Isle Downs, but the majority of her success has come on turf. During the 2022-23 meet at Turf Paradise, Yankee Dollar won four straight one-mile grass contests, most notably leading all the way to win the Molly P S. over next-out Queen of the Green S. winner Miss Hard Knocks.

Returning to turf at Colonial Downs should make Yankee Dollar formidable. She’s the fastest entrant from a Brisnet Speed rating perspective and routinely exceeds the par winning number (80) for Thursday’s conditions. Throw in the fact she’ll be ridden by hot jockey Antonio Gallardo (as mentioned previously, a 26% winner at Colonial Downs this meet), and Yankee Dollar is as logical a single as any in this difficult Pick 6.

Good luck!