Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of Sept. 8

September 8th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Friday, Sept. 8 at Del Mar and Remington Park, along with a horse to single in the $5,579 Pick 5 carryover at Penn National.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Colonial Downs $2,500 Late Pick 5 Hit It & Split It: Hit the Late Pick 5 at Colonial Downs to earn your share of a $2,500 weekly jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Del Mar: Race 6: I’m Smokin S. (six furlongs, 8:37 p.m. ET)

There isn’t a crazy amount of speed entered in this six-furlong dash for California-bred juveniles, which should suit #2 Lord Prancealot (2-1) just fine. He hasn’t been headed in his first two starts against California-breds at Del Mar, most recently surviving a fast pace to wire the 5 1/2-furlong Graduation S.

If Lord Prancealot shakes loose on an easy lead in the I’m Smokin, he can record another gate-to-wire victory. We’ll bet him over Graduation runner-up #5 Last Call London (5-2) and the stakes-experienced #1 Shady Appeal (8-1) in the exacta.


  • #2 Lord Prancealot (2-1)
  • #5 Last Call London (5-2)
  • #1 Shady Appeal (8-1)


  • $20 Exacta: 2 with 5
  • $10 Exacta: 2 with 1
    Total: $30

Remington Park: Race 6: Oklahoma Stallion Fillies S. (seven furlongs, 10:27 p.m. ET)

#1 Doudoudouwanadance (2-1) has never run a bad race against Oklahoma-breds, even dominating a pair of stakes at Remington Park last year with sharp Brisnet Speed ratings of 86 and 83. She exits a decent fifth against older rivals in a non-state-restricted allowance sprint at Remington and should appreciate squaring off against Oklahoma-bred three-year-old fillies on Friday night.

We’ll bet Doudoudouwanadance to win and single her to start a double wager.


  • #1 Doudoudouwanadance (2-1)
  • #6 Mamashavnahotflash (7-2)
  • #7 Tom’s Girl (6-1)


  • $20 to win on #1 Doudoudouwanadance
  • $10 Double: 1 with 6
    Total: $30

Remington Park: Race 7: Oklahoma Stallion Colts and Geldings H. (seven furlongs, 10:55 p.m. ET)

#4 Dark Afternoon (5-2) is the morning line favorite after wiring a seven-furlong allowance for Oklahoma-breds at Remington Park by 4 3/4 lengths. But his winning time of 1:25.30 was actually 0.02 slower than the time of 1:25.28 posted by #6 Kodaline (6-1) in a similar race on the same day.

Kodaline’s victory came by half a length after rallying into a slow pace. There’s a fair amount of speed in the Oklahoma Stallion Colts and Geldings H. field, so Kodaline has a chance to surprise for the red-hot jockey/trainer duo of Leandro Goncalves and Kari Craddock.

We’ll bet Kodaline to win, single him to conclude our double wager, and bet him over Dark Afternoon in a cold exacta.


  • #6 Kodaline (6-1)
  • #4 Dark Afternoon (5-2)
  • #2 Eakly (4-1)


  • $20 to win on #6 Kodaline
  • $10 Exacta: 6 with 4
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Penn National: Race 6: $5,579 Pick 5 carryover (6:29 p.m. ET)

There’s a $5,579 Pick 5 carryover up for grabs on Friday night at Penn National. Mathematically speaking, it’s far from the trickiest Pick 5 sequence you’ll ever encounter. But once you dig into the races, the true difficulty becomes apparent.

Crunch the numbers, and you’ll see there are only 38 horses entered in the five races, averaging 7.6 per race. It works out to 23,520 possible outcomes, which isn’t bad for a Pick 5.

The problem is, there aren’t any obvious standout favorites in the sequence. Each race is competitive on paper, and finding a single to build tickets around is remarkably difficult. But it’s necessary if you’re playing on a modest budget and want to spread deep in the most challenging legs.

So if you want our best recommendation for a single, check out Race 2, a $16,000 starter optional claimer taking place over one mile and 70 yards on turf. It’s open to fillies and mares who have either started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less or who are entered for a claiming price of $16,000. In either case, the filly or mare in question can’t have won more than one race.

Some of the horses in Friday’s field have recorded many starts without visiting the winner’s circle more than once. A couple have run 15 times… one has started 20 times… and one veteran comes in with 35 starts under her belt.

The filly with the least experience—and, perhaps, the most upside—is morning line favorite #6 A Case of You (5-2), with nine starts to her credit. She romped in a $25,000 maiden claimer over this course and distance last year and has since competed against allowance, $40,000 claiming, and $25,000 claiming company. She hasn’t been especially competitive in any of those contests, though last month at Penn National she managed to finish midpack in a $25,000 claimer for non-winners of two races.

Dropping into a $16,000 starter optional claimer should be more suitable for A Case of You. For good measure, she has favorable human connections in her corner. Trainer Kathleen Demasi has been hot at Penn National this meet, winning at a 28% rate, and jockey Ruben Silvera (a solid 16% winner on turf) is named to ride.

Is A Case of You a lock to win? No. But she brings strong Brisnet Speed ratings to the table and seems very likely to vie for victory, making her as logical a single as any in this competitive Pick 5.

Good luck!