Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of Sept. 7

September 7th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, Sept. 7 at Horseshoe Indianapolis, along with singles for the $5,148 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.

Picks and Plays

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 2:10 p.m. ET)

#5 Unbridled Miss (8-1) is eligible to outrun expectations on debut. As a daughter of Unbridled Express out of Miss Carmelite, Unbridled Miss is a full sibling to six horses who broke their maidens as juveniles at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Not only that, she’s a full sibling to four stakes winners.

Trainer George Leonard III wins at a respectable 12% rate with horses debuting in maiden special weights, and Unbridled Miss clocked a bullet three furlongs from the Horseshoe Indianapolis starting gate a while back, so there are plenty of reasons to like her chances. We’ll bet Unbridled Miss to win, key her over #1 Classic Kitten (9-2) and #7 Front Cover (7-2) in an exacta, and single her to start a double wager.


  • #5 Unbridled Miss (8-1)
  • #7 Front Cover (7-2)
  • #1 Classic Kitten (9-2)


  • $16 to win on #5 Unbridled Miss
  • $4 Exacta: 5 with 1,7 ($8)
  • $6 Double: 5 with 6
    Total: $30

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 2: $12,500 Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 2:41 p.m. ET)

#6 Breaking News (3-1) owns the best recent Brisnet Speed ratings posted by any horse in this $12,500 claimer. He’s finished second in each of his last two starts for $20,000 claiming tags, earning Brisnet Speed ratings of 82 and 85.

Dropping down in class for his third run of the season should make Breaking News tough to beat. A win bet is in order, but for good measure we’ll bet Breaking News over #4 Bruster Justice (9-5) in a cold exacta and single him to conclude our double wager.


  • #6 Breaking News (3-1)
  • #4 Bruster Justice (9-5)
  • #8 Tale of Fame (9-2)


  • $25 to win on #6 Breaking News
  • $10 Exacta: 6 with 4
    Total: $35

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 5:16 p.m. ET)

Trainer Michael Lauer rarely wins with first-time starters, but earlier this year he sent out the two-year-old filly Poised to win her debut in a five-furlong maiden special weight at Horseshoe Indianapolis. She prevailed even though her work tab was modest.

Lauer’s unraced filly #2 Where’s Your Momma (7-2) brings a flashier work tab to her debut. On Aug. 11, she clocked a bullet half-mile from the Churchill Downs training track starting gate in :47 2/5. Let’s try betting Where’s Your Momma to win and keying her over logical favorite #5 One Finale (5-2) in the exacta.


  • #2 Where’s Your Momma (7-2)
  • #5 One Finale (5-2)
  • #4 When’s Forever (8-1)


  • $20 to win on #2 Where’s Your Momma
  • $10 Exacta: 2 with 5
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Colonial Downs: Race 4: $5,148 Pick 6 carryover (2:57 p.m. ET)

The Thursday card at Colonial Downs brings a non-jackpot carryover worth $5,148 in the $1 Pick 6.

We’ve analyzed the entries to identify a pair of singles worth building tickets around:

Race 5: #7 Independenceavenue (6-5)

The fifth race is a maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs over the outer turf course. The par winning Brisnet Speed rating for this type of race is 75, a number Independenceavenue exceeded when she debuted over this course, distance, and class level on Aug. 17.

On that occasion, Independenceavenue carved out decent fractions of :22.49 and :45.99 before succumbing in the final furlong to finish second by 1 1/4 lengths, earning a 77 Brisnet Speed rating. The daughter of Mr Speaker has since posted a bullet half-mile workout for hot trainer Arnaud Delacour (a 24% winner with second-time starters), so all signs suggest Independenceavenue is eligible to run even better in her second try.

Throw in the fact Independenceavenue will be ridden by jockey Victor Carrasco, who has gone 6-for-16 (38%) teaming up with Delacour over the last two months, and the morning line favorite is a compelling Pick 6 single.

Race 8: #9 Grael (7-5)

It’s been a while since Grael last recorded a top-three finish, but the stakes-placed gelding turned in a decent effort two starts back, rallying to finish fourth by 2 1/2 lengths in a one-mile grass allowance at Colonial Downs.

Grael also did some running in a $25,000 allowance optional claimer racing 1 1/8 miles over the Colonial grass last time out, leading for six furlongs before retreating to finish last by 8 1/4 lengths with a decent 80 Brisnet Speed rating.

Now Grael is dropping down the class ladder for a $12,500 claimer for horses who have never won two races, where he figures to be much more competitive. Trainer Michael Stidham wins at a 20% rate with horses running for the first time in a claiming race, and jockey Antonio Gallardo (a 23% winner at Colonial this meet) has gone 3-for-9 (33%) teaming up with Stidham over the last two months, so there are many reasons to believe Grael will win this one-mile contest over the inner turf course.

Good luck!