Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of June 9

June 9th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Friday, June 9 at Gulfstream Park and Prairie Meadows, including tickets for Gulfstream’s $6,882 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).
  • Woodbine Mohawk Let 8 Ride: Place $10 win bets at Woodbine Mohawk over three days of racing for a chance to win a share of a $5,000 jackpot.
  • Belmont Stakes $10 Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in any eligible race on Friday and Saturday at Belmont Park.

Picks and Plays

Gulfstream Park: Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (4 1/2 furlongs, 1:36 p.m. ET)

In 2022, trainer Edward Plesa Jr. compiled a solid 2-for-10 (20%) record debuting juveniles on dirt at Gulfstream Park. This bodes well for Plesa’s unraced two-year-old filly #5 Epona’s Hope (4-1), who arrives for her Friday debut off a sharp series of workouts at Gulfstream.

Epona’s Hope hails from a productive family; her half-siblings include a pair of stakes winners plus a couple runners who placed at the graded stakes level. At 4-1, she’s worth betting to win and keying over fellow first-time starters #4 Ale’s Gift (7-2) and #3 Let Them Watch (9-2) in the exacta.


  • #5 Epona’s Hope (4-1)
  • #4 Ale’s Gift (7-2)
  • #3 Let Them Watch (9-2)


  • $20 to win on #5 Epona’s Hope
  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 3,4 ($10)
    Total: $30

Prairie Meadows: Race 6: Jack Bishop S. (1 1/16 miles, 9:15 p.m. ET)

#1 Butterbean (9-5) faltered when finishing fifth against a quality field in the Allaire DuPont Distaff at Pimlico last month, but she figures to find the competition easier at Prairie Meadows. The Kenny McPeek trainee went 2-for-2 over this track last year, trouncing the Panthers S. by 5 3/4 lengths before rallying to a three-length score in the Iowa Oaks (G3).

Let’s single Butterbean to start a cold double wager.


  • #1 Butterbean (9-5)
  • #2 Clay’s Moon Stone (8-1)
  • #6 Missyintomischief (5-1)


  • $25 Double: 1 with 10

Prairie Meadows: Race 7: Ed Skinner S. (six furlongs, 9:42 p.m. ET)

#10 Tape to Tape (9-5) has won five of his last six starts, setting the pace or dueling for command each time. He recently wired a six-furlong allowance at Oaklawn Park by three lengths, earning a career-best 96 Brisnet Speed rating.

Tape to Tape looks ready to ascend into the stakes ranks for high-percentage trainer Larry Rivelli, who wins at a 36% rate in ungraded stakes. We’ll single Tape to Tape to conclude our double wager, then bet him over #1 Chipofftheoldblock (8-1) and #9 Kneedeepinsnow (3-1) in the exacta.


  • #10 Tape to Tape (9-5)
  • #1 Chipofftheoldblock (8-1)
  • #9 Kneedeepinsnow (3-1)


  • $10 Exacta: 10 with 1,9 ($20)

Carryover Watch

Gulfstream Park: Race 1: $6,882 Super High 5 carryover (1:05 p.m. ET)

No one managed to solve the $1 Super High 5 in Sunday’s final race at Gulfstream Park, which means there’s a non-jackpot carryover worth $6,882 up for grabs in the opening race on Friday.

Race 1 is a $16,000 maiden claimer taking place over 1 1/16 miles on Tapeta. Eight three-year-olds and two four-year-olds have combined to create a 10-horse field with 30,240 possible Super High 5 outcomes.

At first glance, it looks like a tricky race to decipher. But if we key #5 Media Sensation (7-5) on top, we can simplify the process of constructing tickets. The four-year-old gelding might be 0-for-16 lifetime, but he’s never competed at a class level this low before. In a pair of recent $40,000 maiden optional claimers at Gulfstream, Media Sensation finished third (beaten half a length) in a one-mile and 70-yard Tapeta contest and fourth in a one-mile turf test.

Media Sensation throws down Brisnet Speed ratings in the 71-79 range with remarkable regularity, stamping him as the fastest horse in Friday’s $16,000 maiden claimer. He looks tough to beat while descending the class ladder.

Underneath, #1 Sir Goosa (2-1) is an obvious contender to emphasize. Two starts back, the three-year-old son of champion Will Take Charge showed pacesetting speed to finish second in a $16,000 maiden claimer against older rivals over this track and distance. Then he tackled a $16,000 maiden claimer for three-year-olds racing 1 1/16 miles on Tapeta and finished second by a nose. With a trio of 70+ Brisnet Speed ratings under his belt, Sir Goosa looks ready to record a top-two finish.

If we count on Sir Goosa to occupy the runner-up spot behind Media Sensation, then we can spread deeper for the final three slots. #3 Chacharero (8-1) is one contender we’ll emphasize; he’s dropping in class out of a $25,000 maiden claimer and racing for the first time since being gelded. #4 Make ‘Em Tap (6-1) is another worth supporting; two starts back he was beaten only 2 1/2 lengths in a one-mile and 70-yard contest over this track and class level.

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

  • $1 Super High 5: 5 with 1 with 3,4 with 3,4,9,10 with 3,4,9,10 ($12)
  • $1 Super High 5: 5 with 1 with 3,4,9,10 with 3,4 with 3,4,9,10 ($12)
    Total: $24

Good luck!