Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of June 2

June 2nd, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Friday, June 2 at Churchill Downs and Belterra Park, including tickets for Churchill’s $3,298 Super High 5 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Rest of the World $10 Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any eligible race at Eagle Farm (AUS).

Picks and Plays

Churchill Downs: Race 7: Allowance (one mile on turf, 3:50 p.m. ET)

A couple of fillies appear formidable in this large field. Former British campaigner #10 Eidikos (5-2) is a logical morning line favorite after finishing third and second in her first two U.S. starts, both of them turf allowances on the Kentucky circuit.

#8 Xigera (7-2) is the other logical choice. She dominated a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Saratoga last summer and later came home fourth (upgraded to third via disqualification) in Keeneland’s Alcibiades (G1) on dirt. She hasn’t run since finishing last in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) last November, but she’s trained nicely for her return and may improve while adding Lasix.

Let’s use Eidikos and Xigera to start a double wager, then box them in a small exacta.


  • #10 Eidikos (5-2)
  • #8 Xigera (7-2)
  • #12 Howboutdemapples (12-1)


  • $15 Double: 8,10 with 5 ($30)
  • $5 Exacta: box 8,10 ($10)
    Total: $40

Churchill Downs: Race 8: $100,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (one mile, 4:22 p.m. ET)

#5 Scylla (9-5) looked like a future star when debuting in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Keeneland last month. She wasn’t in any hurry early on, but rallied strongly down the homestretch, dashing her final two furlongs in approximately :11.81 and :11.95 to draw off and win by 2 12 lengths.

This victory produced a flashy 97 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest number in Friday’s field by five points. As a daughter of Tapit out of champion Close Hatches, Scylla is bred to thrive while stretching out over one mile, so we’ll single her to conclude our double wager and bet her over #8 She’s Lookin Lucky (5-1) in the exacta.


  • #5 Scylla (9-5)
  • #8 She’s Lookin Lucky (5-1)
  • #4 Bru Na Boinne (8-1)


  • $10 Exacta: 5 with 8

Belterra Park: Race 8: Best of Ohio Diana S. (six furlongs, 4:30 p.m. ET)

The speedy sprinter #6 Amadevil (2-1) has won 10 of her 12 starts, including 10 of 11 in Ohio. She wrapped up 2022 with three consecutive blowout victories (including a pair of stakes scores) and should be tough to beat while kicking off her five-year-old season at Belterra Park. Last year, she dominated the Best of Ohio Diana by 5 3/4 lengths.

#11 Midnight in Ohio (7-2), undefeated in three starts against Ohio-bred competition, can battle with Amadevil’s longtime rival #4 Tivis (5-1) to complete the exacta.


  • #6 Amadevil (2-1)
  • #11 Midnight in Ohio (7-2)
  • #4 Tivis (5-1)


  • $15 Exacta: 6 with 4,11 ($30)

Carryover Watch

Churchill Downs: Race 2: $3,298 Super High 5 carryover (1:14 p.m. ET)

If you want to win a share of Friday’s $3,298 Super High 5 carryover at Churchill Downs, you’ll have to decipher a competitive maiden special weight for fillies and mares sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on turf.

The prize pool for the $1 wager is available to chase in Race 2, which has drawn a staggering 16 entries. Four of those are on the also-eligible list, leaving a maximum of 12 horses to start, but even a 12-horse field equates to 95,040 possible Super High 5 outcomes.

The morning line favorite is #9 Anna’s Arabesque (9-5), and her credentials are formidable. The daughter of Munnings rallied strongly to finish second in her debut sprinting at Fair Grounds, then tackled the Mamzelle S. sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs over the Churchill lawn and again rallied nicely to finish third. Anna’s Arabesque was beaten only 2 1/2 lengths by Herecomesthebride (G3) winner Danse Macabre and a neck by Matron (G3) winner American Apple.

Since Anna’s Arabesque has already run well against a pair of proven graded stakes winners, dropping in class for a maiden special weight should make her tough to beat under hot jockey Florent Geroux, a 23% winner at Churchill Downs this meet. We recommend keying her on top in the Super High 5.

Underneath, we have to emphasize #7 L J’s Emma (4-1) and #11 All I Want Is You (5-1), who were separated by three-quarters of a length when finishing third and fourth over this distance and class level at Keeneland last month. L J’s Emma was trying turf for the first time, and All I Want Is You was making her debut, so they both have upside for improvement at Churchill. The fact they earned sharp Brisnet Speed ratings while finishing behind next-out Churchill allowance winner Secret Money adds to the appeal.

If we count on both L J’s Emma and All I Want Is You to finish in the top four, with one snatching runner-up honors, we can play solid Super High 5 tickets on a reasonable budget:

  • $1 Super High 5: 9 with 7,11 with 7,11 with 3,4,13 with 1,3,4,6,13 ($24)
  • $1 Super High 5: 9 with 7,11 with 3,4,13 with 7, 11 with 1,3,4,6,13 ($24)
    Total: $48

Good luck!