Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Sept. 11

September 11th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, Sept. 11 at Horseshoe Indianapolis and Presque Isle Downs, along with a horse to single in the $3,586 Pick 6 carryover at Finger Lakes.

Picks and Plays

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 2: $25,000 Maiden Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 3:01 p.m. ET)

#6 Back On Track (5-2) showed some potential in a five-furlong maiden special weight over the Horseshoe Indianapolis turf course last month, chasing a hot pace from third place before finishing fifth by 2 3/4 lengths. That followed a fourth-place finish in her debut against maiden special weight competition over the Ellis Park dirt.

With Brisnet Speed ratings of 59 and 60 under her belt, Back On Track is the fastest filly entered in Monday’s field. Dropping down to the $25,000 maiden claiming level can send Back On Track to the winner’s circle over #1 Baytown Angel (4-1) and #3 Misty Ocean (12-1).


  • #6 Back On Track (5-2)
  • #1 Baytown Angel (4-1)
  • #3 Misty Ocean (12-1)


Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 6: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs on turf, 5:05 p.m. ET)

#3 Lemon Meringue (10-1) debuted in an off-the-turf maiden special weight sprinting five furlongs at Horseshoe Indianapolis and rallied to finish second behind impressive winner Finster. The slow early/fast late race shape was arguably detrimental to Lemon Meringue’s chances.

As a son of Temple City, Lemon Meringue has the potential to improve while switching to grass for his second start. At 10-1, he’s worth betting to win and playing over #7 McVicker (6-1) and #6 Bozaano (10-1) in the exacta.


  • #3 Lemon Meringue (10-1)
  • #7 McVicker (6-1)
  • #6 Bozaano (10-1)


  • $20 to win on #3 Lemon Meringue
  • $6 Exacta: 3 with 7
  • $4 Exacta: 3 with 6
    Total: $30

Presque Isle Downs: Race 8: $5,000 Claiming (one mile on Tapeta, 6:09 p.m. ET)

#5 Patriot Drive (2-1) has run reasonably well in his last two starts against $8,500 claiming competition at Presque Isle Downs, finishing fourth both times while earning Brisnet Speed ratings of 81 and 76. Those numbers are equal to or better than the par winning number (76) for Monday’s conditions, so dropping down to the $5,000 level should place Patriot Drive in the hunt for victory.

Adding to the appeal are Patriot Drive’s human connections. Trainer Eduardo Rojas is a 27% winner at Presque Isle this meet, while hot apprentice jockey Martina Rojas (who rides with a five-pound weight allowance) has won at a 42% rate teaming up with Eduardo Rojas over the last two months.

Let’s bet Patriot Drive to win and key him over #2 Flight to Paradise (5-2) in a cold exacta.


  • #5 Patriot Drive (2-1)
  • #2 Flight to Paradise (5-2)
  • #1 Leave ‘Em Loaded (6-1)


  • $20 to win on #5 Patriot Drive
  • $10 Exacta: 5 with 2
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Finger Lakes: Race 3: $3,586 Pick 6 carryover (2:13 p.m. ET)

The racing week at Finger Lakes is starting on a high note. The Monday card features a $3,586 non-jackpot carryover in the $1 Pick 6.

Mathematically speaking, it isn’t the hardest sequence to decipher. The six races contain only 46 horses, averaging about 7.7 per race. That works out to 181,104 possible outcomes before scratches, a manageable number by Pick 6 standards. And when you consider how two of the horses are coupled in the betting, that cuts the number of possible betting combinations down to 158,466.

Looking for a single to build tickets around? Check out Race 6, a five-furlong maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies. A field of eight has been entered, but unless one of the four first-time starters steps forward with a giant debut, morning line favorite #3 Shezenticing (2-1) should win without much trouble.

Shezenticing has run twice over this track, distance, and class level. In her Aug. 1 debut, she tracked the pace before staying on to finish third with a 60 Brisnet Speed rating that tops Monday’s field. Two weeks later over a sloppy track, she dueled for the lead before weakening to finish fourth with a 42 Brisnet Speed rating, the third-highest number in Monday’s field.

Here’s the thing: speed is remarkably dominant in five-furlong sprints at Finger Lakes. This meet, pacesetters have won at a 52% rate, and horses with the Brisnet “E” (Early) running style (like Shezenticing) have won 71% of races. Shezenticing signaled her readiness for another sharp run by breezing a bullet three furlongs in :35.30 at Finger Lakes on Sept. 1, so the evidence suggests she’ll get out in front and take this field all the way on the front end.

It’s also encouraging to note Shezenticing has strong connections in her corner. Trainer Anthony Ferraro has gone 33-for-125 (26%) at Finger Lakes this meet, and jockey Luis Perez (a 25% winner riding Brisnet “E” types) has won at a 20% rate teaming up with Ferraro over the last two months. For all these reasons, Shezenticing is—well—an “enticing” Pick 6 single.

Good luck!