Thursday’s Best Bets and Quick Picks: Aqueduct’s $43,297 Pick 6 carryover

June 20th, 2024

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares best bets and quick picks for Thursday, June 20 at Royal Ascot and Aqueduct, including a single for Aqueduct’s $43,297 Pick 6 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Churchill Downs $2,500 Thursday Leaderboard: Place $10+ win wagers at Churchill Downs on Thursday to accumulate points and compete for your share of $2,500 in prizes.
  • 10x Points on Harness Racing: Receive 10x reward points on all harness racing wagers (excluding show bets) on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
  • Hoosier Park $1,000 Late Pick 4 Hit It & Split It: Hit the Late Pick 4 at Hoosier Park on any Thursday in June to win your share of a $1,000 daily prize pool.
  • Royal Ascot $10 Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in select races at Ascot (UK) from Tuesday through Saturday.

Best Bets and Quick Picks

Royal Ascot (UK): Race 4: Gold Cup (G1, 2 1/2 miles on turf, 11:25 a.m. ET)

#3 Kyprios (4-5) won this 2 1/2-mile marathon back in 2022, the first of four straight Group 1 wins he recorded during a stellar 6-for-6 campaign. Unfortunately, he was away from the races for nearly a year after that Group 1 streak and went 0-for-2 during an abbreviated 2023 campaign, finishing second in both his starts.

The good news is, Kyprios has stepped up his game in 2024, opening the year with back-to-back wins over 1 3/4 miles. He appears well-positioned to reclaim his Gold Cup title, so we’ll bet Kyprios to win and then key him over last year’s British Champions Long Distance Cup (G2) winner #6 Trawlerman (10-1) in the exacta.


  • #3 Kyprios (4-5)
  • #6 Trawlerman (10-1)
  • #9 Gregory (6-1)


  • $25 to win on #3 Kyprios
  • $5 Exacta: 3 with 6
    Total: $30

Aqueduct: Race 1: Beverly R. Steinman Hurdle H. (G1, 2 3/8 miles on turf, 1:05 p.m. ET)

#7 Awakened (7-2) exits a fourth-place finish behind a couple of his Thursday rivals in the Commonwealth Cup (G1) at Great Meadow last month. But Awakened has done his best work over courses that also host flat racing; at Saratoga last summer, he won the 2 3/8-mile Jonathan Sheppard H. (G1).

Aqueduct should be a good fit for Awakened, and he has hot trainer Jack Fisher in his corner, so a win bet is in order.


  • #7 Awakened (7-2)
  • #6 Freddy Flintshire (5-1)
  • #5 Rampoldi Plan (3-1)


  • $25 to win on #7 Awakened

Aqueduct: Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 1:34 p.m. ET)

#5 Chasing Colton (4-1) has compiled an encouraging work tab capped off by half a mile in :48 3/5 at Monmouth Park. High-percentage trainer Carlos David has gone 2-for-7 (29%) during the current Aqueduct meet and wins at a 22% rate with horses debuting in maiden special weights, so there are plenty of positives in Chasing Colton’s corner.

At 4-1, Chasing Colton is worthy of a win bet.


  • #5 Chasing Colton (4-1)
  • #3 Out On Bail (3-1)
  • #7 Mo Plex (2-1)


  • $20 to win on #5 Chasing Colton

Carryover Watch

Aqueduct: Race 4: $43,297 Pick 6 carryover (2:35 p.m. ET)

A tricky Pick 6 sequence is on the agenda for Thursday at Aqueduct. But if you can assemble a winning ticket for the $1 wager, you’ll be rewarded with a share of a $43,297 carryover.

Four of the six races contain 11 or more horses before scratches, and while some of those are main-track-only entrants who are expected to scratch, there will still be a large number of possible Pick 6 outcomes to analyze. Finding a single to build tickets around will be important for bettors hoping to play on a modest budget.

Fortunately, Race 5—the second leg of the Pick 6—offers a good chance to seek a single. It’s a one-mile allowance for New York-bred fillies and mares, and only seven horses have entered. Of the seven, morning line favorite #1 Smokin’ Hot Kitty (8-5) looks tough to beat.

Although Smokin’ Hot Kitty is a daughter of renowned turf sire Kitten’s Joy, her record on dirt is superior to her turf tally. Five starts over the Aqueduct main track have yielded two wins, a second, and two thirds—that’s a 100% in-the-money rate, far exceeding her 33% in-the-money rate from 15 turf starts.

Smokin’ Hot Kitty’s three dirt defeats came in sprints. When she stretched out over one mile for a March 16 $25,000 claimer for non-winners of three races, she led all the way to dominate by 9 1/4 lengths, earning a career-best 88 Brisnet Speed rating. She then stepped up in class for a one-mile $50,000 starter allowance on April 11, in which she pressed the pace before taking over to win by two lengths with an 85 Brisnet Speed rating.

It’s important to note those victories came against non-state-restricted competition. And while Smokin’ Hot Kitty subsequently finished eighth when switching to turf for a New York-bred allowance on May 25 at Aqueduct, she didn’t run badly, carving out the pace and remaining in contention until the eighth pole of the 1 1/16-mile contest.

Facing New York-breds while returning to the Aqueduct dirt should make Smokin’ Hot Kitty formidable. Look at the recent Brisnet Speed ratings posted by her rivals—they’ve been struggling for the most part to reach the low 80s. #2 Foxy Cara (5-1) managed an 86 three starts back, but that was in a six-furlong sprint, and she earned a 79 when finishing third over Thursday’s track, distance, and class level on May 24.

In short, the stage is set for Smokin’ Hot Kitty to get out in front from post 1 and never look back. Pick 6 bettors can feel confident singling this capable dirt miler.

Good luck!