Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of July 7

July 7th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Friday, July 7 at Prairie Meadows, along with a horse to single in the $138,216 Pick 6 carryover at Belmont Park.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Ellis Park Let 8 Ride: Place win bets at Ellis Park on Friday through Sunday for a chance to win your share of a $5,000 weekly jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Prairie Meadows: Race 7: Iowa Sprint S. (six furlongs, 9:40 p.m. ET)

#7 Strobe (9-5) hasn’t missed the trifecta in seven starts while putting up excellent Brisnet Speed ratings in the 96-107 range. He’s exiting a third-place finish behind champion Elite Power in the True North (G2) at Belmont Park and should be tough to beat while dropping in class for high-percentage trainer Brad Cox.

Let’s single Strobe to start double and Pick 3 wagers, then bet him over the in-form Speightstown Sprint S. runner-up #6 Albizu (3-1) in the exacta.


  • #7 Strobe (9-5)
  • #6 Albizu (3-1)
  • #2 Dean’s List (7-2)


  • $15 Double: 7 with 7
  • $5 Pick 3: 7 with 7 with 10
  • $10 Exacta: 7 with 6
    Total: $30

Prairie Meadows: Race 8: Prairie Gold Lassies S. (5 1/2 furlongs, 10:09 p.m. ET)

#7 Kiss (3-1) debuted on turf in the Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies S. at Gulfstream Park, finishing midfield against Crimson Advocate, who returned to win the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot. Kiss then switched to dirt for a five-furlong maiden special weight at Ellis Park, where she led all the way to win by a neck.

These efforts produced Brisnet Speed ratings of 75 and 77, the two highest numbers in Friday’s field. Tackling a dirt stakes at Prairie Meadows should suit Kiss just fine, so we’ll single her in our double and Pick 3 wagers and bet her over #2 Crown Imperial (4-1) and #8 Stealthespotlight (7-2) in the exacta.


  • #7 Kiss (3-1)
  • #2 Crown Imperial (4-1)
  • #8 Stealthespotlight (7-2)


  • $10 Exacta: 7 with 2,8 ($20)
  • $5 Double: 7 with 10
    Total: $25

Prairie Meadows: Race 9: Saylorville S. (six furlongs, 10:38 p.m. ET)

The form of #10 Yuugiri (6-1) has been muddied by last-place finishes in her two most recent starts, but there were extenuating circumstances. One of those misfires came in Yuugiri’s turf debut, and the other came after she dueled for the lead against an elite field in the Madison (G1).

Yuugiri had previously won back-to-back dirt sprints against easier competition at Oaklawn Park, including the six-furlong Carousel S. Those efforts produced back-to-back 96 Brisnet Speed ratings, stamping Yuugiri as a win threat while tackling an ungraded dirt stakes.

At 6-1, Yuugiri is worth betting to win and singling to conclude our Pick 3 and double wagers.


  • #10 Yuugiri (6-1)
  • #2 Adaline Julia (7-2)
  • #3 Fire On Time (3-1)


  • $20 to win on #10 Yuugiri

Carryover Watch

Belmont Park: Race 5: $138,216 Pick 6 carryover (3:09 p.m. ET)

No one hit the $1 Pick 6 on Independence Day at Belmont Park, which means there’s a $138,216 non-jackpot Pick 6 carryover up for grabs when racing resumes at Belmont on Friday.

Assembling a winning ticket won’t be easy. The sequence contains 57 horses (averaging 9.5 per race) before scratches, which works out to 691,200 possible outcomes. Every race contains at least eight horses, and finding viable singles isn’t easy.

Perfectly illustrating the complexity of this Pick 6 is Race 9, the Manila (G3) for three-year-olds racing one mile on turf. Morning line favorite #5 Major Dude (9-5) looks formidable after rallying to victory in the Penn Mile (G2), which marked his third graded score on turf. But #4 Nagirroc (5-2) finished ahead of Major Dude when coming home a strong third in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), and he recently returned to peak form with a 3 1/4-length romp in the James W. Murphy S.

Nor can was overlook #2 Talk of the Nation (5-2), who chased a hot pace when finishing second in the Jersey Derby last month. He’d previously posted a strong score in the Columbia S., in which he beat next-out Transylvania (G3) winner Mo Stash by 2 1/2 lengths. Ultimately, bettors who want to feel like they’ve thoroughly covered the Manila have to use three short-priced runners in an eight-horse field, which isn’t the friendliest strategy for cutting ticket costs.

Fortunately, Race 10 offers a possibility for bettors in search of a single. The event in question is a $75,000 maiden claimer for fillies and mares racing 1 1/16 miles over the inner turf course, and morning line favorite #6 Financial Advice (2-1) looks tough to beat for high-percentage trainer Chad Brown.

Financial Advice has run twice against maiden special weight company on turf. In a 1 1/16-mile contest at Tampa Bay Downs, she closed ground from a couple lengths behind a slow pace to finish third, beaten one length by a gate-to-wire winner. Then she tackled an about 1 1/8-mile event over Belmont’s inner turf course, where she ran fifth behind a couple of next-out winners. In fact, the victorious Prerequisite came right back to win the Wonder Again (G2) at Belmont.

Brown wins at a 27% rate with horses descending from maiden special weight to maiden claiming competition, so the class drop might be all Financial Advice needs to break through with a winning run under new jockey Flavien Prat, a 22% winner teaming up with Brown over the last two months.

Good luck!