Wednesday’s Best Bets and Quick Picks: A pair of 8-1 shots

May 22nd, 2024

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares best bets and quick picks for Wednesday, May 22 at Horseshoe Indianapolis, along with a horse to play in the $557 Super High 5 carryover at Louisiana Downs.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Horseshoe Indianapolis 15% Win Bonus: Receive a 15% bonus (up to $25 per day) on winning single-horse win wagers at Horseshoe Indianapolis each Wednesday in May, starting May 8.

Best Bets and Quick Picks

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 2: Maiden Special Weight (4 1/2 furlongs, 2:41 p.m. ET)

Trainer Aaron West has done well debuting juveniles in dirt sprints at Horseshoe Indianapolis, going 3-for-15 (20%) since 2021. Therefore, we’ll back West’s first-time starter #6 Elegant Justice (8-5) in this maiden sprint for two-year-old fillies.

A daughter of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Hightail, Elegant Justice showed speed when breezing half a mile from the Horseshoe Indianapolis starting gate in :47 4/5 on May 11. She looks ready to shine on debut, so we’ll keep our strategy simple with a $30 win bet.


  • #6 Elegant Justice (8-5)
  • #4 Small Town Accent (4-1)
  • #2 Calcolery (3-1)


  • $30 to win on #6 Elegant Justice

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 3:12 p.m. ET)

#8 Holiday Lights (9-2) finished behind #4 When’s Forever (7-2) and #12 Charming Casita (5-1) when finishing fourth over this track, distance, and class level on May 4. But on that occasion, Holiday Lights dueled with an eventual runaway winner before understandably faltering in the final furlong.

Holiday Lights ran second in her debut sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs over this track and class level, beaten only by next-out Horseshoe Indianapolis allowance winner Eye Shadow. If Holiday Lights can avoid getting burned up in a hot pace, she can make her third start a winning one at 9-2 odds.


  • #8 Holiday Lights (9-2)
  • #4 When’s Forever (7-2)
  • #7 Positively (8-1)


  • $20 to win on #8 Holiday Lights

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 9: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs on turf, 6:18 p.m. ET)

Since 2021, trainer John Ortiz has compiled a stellar 7-for-14 (50%) record debuting juveniles in sprints at Horseshoe Indianapolis, which includes a 4-for-5 (80%) tally with such runners between January and July.

All of those horses raced on dirt, but perhaps Ortiz can pick up a turf win courtesy of #6 Reining Flowers (8-1). Sire Midnight Storm was a Grade 1 winner on turf, and dam Mi Fiori previously foaled Untapable S. winner Crown Imperial, an accomplished grass filly trained by Ortiz who proved versatile enough to win her debut over the Horseshoe Indianapolis dirt in May 2023.

Reining Flowers has the pedigree to handle turf and has posted a couple of sharp half-mile workouts at Keeneland, so let’s play Reining Flowers in the exacta with the Wesley Ward trainees #8 Larrupin (7-2) and #9 Dangherecomesshang (5-2). Or, if this race gets rained off the turf, we’ll simplify with a large win bet on Reining Flowers.


  • #6 Reining Flowers (8-1)
  • #8 Larrupin (7-2)
  • #9 Dangherecomesshang (5-2)


On turf:

  • $7 Exacta: 6 with 8,9 ($14)
  • $8 Exacta: 8,9 with 6 ($16)
    Total: $30

On dirt:

  • $30 to win on #6 Reigning Flowers

Carryover Watch

Louisiana Downs: Race 7: $557 Super High 5 carryover (7:35 p.m. ET)

For a time on Tuesday afternoon, it appeared there wouldn’t be any non-jackpot carryovers for bettors to pursue on Wednesday. But then Louisiana Downs came through. No one hit the track’s 50-cent Super High 5, triggering a modest but nevertheless value-adding $557 carryover into Wednesday’s card.

The prize pool is up for grabs in Race 7, a $20,000 claimer for fillies and mares who have never won two races. A 10-horse field has turned out for the 7 1/2-furlong contest, leaving us with 30,240 possible Super High 5 outcomes to analyze.

That’s a fair number of possibilities, and handicapping is made even trickier by the fact seven of the entrants have never won a turf race, and three of them haven’t even raced on turf. For example, what do we do with morning line favorite #2 Run Dreaming (3-1)? Unlike many of the entrants, she boasts strong recent form, having won a $10,000 maiden claimer and a $12,500 claimer against Louisiana-breds at Fair Grounds before finishing second by a neck in a $20,000 claimer for non-winners of two races at Louisiana Downs. But Run Dreaming has raced exclusively on dirt, and there’s no way of knowing for certain if she’ll handle the switch to turf.

That’s why we want to highlight #1 Salomeinthehoop (8-1) as a live longshot worth playing, even on top. She’s shown little to nothing in her last two starts on dirt, finishing fifth and ninth by wide margins. But in two starts over the Louisiana Downs turf last summer, Salomeinthehoop showed considerably more talent. She debuted with a seventh-place finish (beaten only five lengths) in a maiden special weight sprinting about five furlongs. Then she stretched out over 7 1/2 furlongs for a $50,000 maiden claimer and led all the way to win by two lengths.

Returning to the course and distance of her maiden victory while tackling a $20,000 claimer for non-winners of two races should be just about perfect for Salomeinthehoop. Plus, she has positive trainer and jockey stats in her corner—trainer Joe Duhon has gone 5-for-18 (28%) at Louisiana Downs this meet, while jockey Joel Dominguez has won at a 36% rate on turf this season.

In short, there’s a lot to like about Salomeinthehoop, including her 8-1 morning line odds. Why don’t we throw in a win bet for good measure?

  • Louisiana Downs, Race 7: $20 to win on #1 Salomeinthehoop

Good luck!