Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of Sept. 5

September 5th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Tuesday, Sept. 5 at Presque Isle Downs, along with horses to use in Pick 5 carryovers at Presque Isle and Horseshoe Indianapolis.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Trifecta Tuesday: Receive a 15% bonus on trifecta winnings excluding stake amount; up to $25 per day.

Picks and Plays

Presque Isle Downs: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs on Tapeta, 3:00 p.m. ET)

#6 Red Wren (9-5) debuted against males in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Presque Isle and ran strongly to finish second by 1 1/2 lengths. Squaring off against fellow fillies on Tuesday might be all Red Wren needs to visit the winner’s circle for trainer Kevin Rice, a solid 17% winner with second-time starters.

#1 Kenwick (3-1), third when debuting in a maiden special weight over the Hawthorne turf course last month, can complete the exacta under hot hockey Antonio Gallardo.


  • #6 Red Wren (9-5)
  • #1 Kenwick (3-1)
  • #5 Twisted Empress (6-1)


  • $20 Exacta: 6 with 1

Carryover Watch

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 1: $1,170 Pick 5 carryover (2:30 p.m. ET)

There are two enticing reasons to play the 50-cent Early Pick 5 at Horseshoe Indianapolis. The first is the takeout rate—it’s an ultra-low 11.99%. The second is the $1,170 non-jackpot carryover up for grabs.

We’ve analyzed the entries to identify a single and a live longshot worth building tickets around:

Best single: Race 3: #6 Rapunzels Song (8-5)

Race 3 is an allowance for Indiana-bred fillies and mare sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt. The morning line favorite is Rapunzels Song, and her form looks rock-solid. Speed excels over this track and distance, and Rapunzels Song has set or tracked the pace in all five of her starts.

Rapunzels Song ran particularly well in a six-furlong allowance for Indiana-bred fillies and mares on Aug. 15. After dueling for the lead, she fought on down the homestretch to finish second by a neck, earning a career-best 79 Brisnet Speed rating seven points higher than the par winning number for Tuesday’s conditions.

Rapunzels Song has already defeated five of her six Tuesday rivals, so a typical performance from the speedy daughter of Kantharos should be more than sufficient to claim first prize.

Live longshot: Race 1: #6 Pondered (6-1)

Pacesetters win 38% of six-furlong dirt sprints at Horseshoe Indianapolis, but there isn’t much speed entered in Race 1, a $12,500 maiden claimer for fillies and mares dashing six furlongs on dirt.

That’s why we’re intrigued by longshot Pondered. The three-year-old filly has only run once, chasing a quick pace from a wide draw in a 5 1/2-furlong turf maiden special weight at Colonial Downs before fading to finish last. That effort produced a 91 Brisnet E1 Pace rating, one of the highest numbers in Tuesday’s field.

Pondered has the pedigree to handle dirt, so switching surfaces and dropping in class at Horseshoe Indianapolis can potentially trigger a big move forward. In short, there are plenty of reasons to believe Pondered can deliver victory as the fifth choice on the morning line..

Presque Isle Downs: Race 4: $712 Pick 5 carryover (4:21 p.m. ET)

There’s also a non-jackpot Pick 5 carryover on the table at Presque Isle Downs. The prize pool for the 50-cent Late Pick 5 stands at $712.

Looking for a single to build tickets around? Try #3 Hector (2-1) in Race 4, a maiden special weight for two-year-olds sprinting six furlongs on Tapeta. Only six horses have entered, and Hector—third and second in his first two starts over this track—owns by far the best Brisnet Speed ratings in the field.

There are a couple of first-time starters in the entries, but they’re conditioned by trainers who win with less than 10% of their debuting runners. Hector has tactical speed and seems likely to secure an uncontested lead on Tuesday, so any way you slice it he looks like a viable Pick 5 single.

Good luck!