Wednesday’s Best Bets and Quick Picks: $19,983 Pick 5 at Fair Grounds

March 6th, 2024

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares best bets and quick picks for Wednesday, March 6 at Gulfstream Park and Turfway Park, along with horses to play in Pick 5 and Pick 6 carryovers at Fair Grounds.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Winning Wednesdays: Receive a 25% bonus (up to $25 per day) on your winning single-horse win wagers at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs every Wednesday in March.

Picks and Plays

Gulfstream Park: Race 1: $12,500 Maiden Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta, 1:10 p.m. ET)

#4 Reassess (3-5) was beaten only a head when runner-up in a $16,000 maiden claimer sprinting five furlongs over the Gulfstream Tapeta track last month. Dropping in class for a $12,500 maiden claimer should make this speedy filly tough to catch, especially since pacesetters have won 51% of 5 1/2-furlong Tapeta sprints at Gulfstream since Dec. 1.

Let’s single Reassess to start a cold double wager.


  • #4 Reassess (3-5)
  • #7 Too Hot to Stop (3-1)
  • #5 My Sweetheart Dani (15-1)


  • $25 Double: 4 with 8

Gulfstream Park: Race 2: $50,000 Maiden Optional Claiming (one mile, 1:39 p.m. ET)

#8 Practically Dark (1-1) debuted with a runner-up finish in a fast six-furlong maiden special weight on Jan. 15 at Fair Grounds. That form was flattered when the victorious Champlin returned to easily win his next start against allowance company at Fair Grounds.

Practically Dark showed speed in his debut and figures to secure a favorable forwardly placed position while stretching out over one mile for trainer Saffie Joseph, who wins at a lofty 25% rate with horses running long for the first time. For all these reasons, we’ll single Practically Dark to conclude our double wager. We’ll also capitalize on the Winning Wednesdays promotion and bet him to win.


  • #8 Practically Dark (1-1)
  • #5 One Sharp Cookie (8-1)
  • #6 The Monopoly Man (4-1)


  • $25 to win on #8 Practically Dark

Turfway Park: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (1 1/16 miles on Tapeta, 7:55 p.m. ET)

Trainer Jonathan Thomas wins at a powerful 41% rate with horses debuting over one mile or farther, and that includes a 2-for-5 (40%) tally with horses debuting in Turfway routes since 2022. These stats bode well for #9 Faith Understood (12-1), an unraced Thomas trainee who has put together a lengthy work tab in preparation for her debut.

As a daughter of Catholic Boy, who won the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Derby (G1) on turf and the 1 1/4-mile Travers (G1) on dirt, Faith Understood has the pedigree to shine while debuting in a route. At 12-1, she’s worth betting to win.


  • #9 Faith Understood (12-1)
  • #5 Sanctify (5-1)
  • #8 Hand It Over (8-1)


  • $25 to win on #9 Faith Understood

Carryover Watch

Fair Grounds: Race 4: $1,085 Pick 6 carryover (3:15 p.m. ET)
Fair Grounds: Race 5: $19,983 Pick 5 carryover (3:45 p.m. ET)

There isn’t just one carryover up for grabs at Fair Grounds this Wednesday—there are two. The 50-cent Late Pick 5 has tossed up a lucrative $19,983 prize pool, while the $1 Pick 6 features a smaller but still value-adding $1,085 carryover.

The two sequences overlap, with the Pick 6 spanning Races 4-9 and the Late Pick 5 covering Races 5-9. Competitive fields abound, and handicapping is made even more challenging by the possibility of the day’s grass events (Race 4, Race 6, and Race 8) being transferred to the main track due to rain.

Take Race 4, a $10,000 starter optional claimer for older horse racing about 1 1/16 miles on turf. If it stays on grass, horses like #11 Optimus Kat (7-2) and #6 Shady McGee (4-1)—who have run well in recent starts over this course and class level—are obvious contenders.

But if the race switches to dirt, the complexion could change sharply, with turf horses scratching and also-eligibles entrants drawing in. Amidst that chaos, we would be inclined to favor #7 Hoodlum (5-1), a tried-and-true dirt campaigner who has won back-to-back races (including one over this class level) with sharp 89 and 85 Brisnet Speed ratings. We might even single Hoodlum if the surface does indeed switch and key rivals scratch.

Race 6 is a maiden special weight for fillies and mares dashing about 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. #1 Fiesta Besta (9-2) looks like the best of the experienced grass runners after finishing a pacesetting second over this class, distance, and class level on Feb. 10. But she finished fourth and fifth in a couple of previous starts under identical conditions, so bettors might want to include #8 Musical Prayer (3-1) as backup, especially if Race 6 is switched to dirt.

Musical Prayer has cracked the trifecta in a couple of six-furlong maiden special weights on dirt at Churchill Downs, so if Wednesday’s contest is rained off the turf, we’ll be tempted to single her. But even if Race 6 stays on grass, Musical Prayer is eligible to factor since she’s a half-sister to a pair of turf winners.

As for Race 8, it’s a maiden special weight for three-year-old sprinting about 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. #8 Linzer (5-2) has run well on dirt, turf, and synthetic and actually crossed the wire first in a 5 1/2-furlong grass maiden special weight at Fair Grounds last time out, only to be disqualified to second place. He’s a logical threat over any surface.

But the same goes for #10 Hero Worship (7-2), the first also-eligible entrant in this large field. He’s recorded top-three finishes in maiden special weights on dirt and turf at Fair Grounds, so if a scratch allows Hero Worship to compete, he’ll have every chance to challenge for the red-hot jockey/trainer duo of Florent Geroux and Brad Cox.

Good luck!