Wednesday’s Best Bets and Quick Picks: Longshots at Churchill, Finger Lakes

June 26th, 2024

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares best bets and quick picks for Wednesday, June 26 at Churchill Downs and Horseshoe Indianapolis, along with price plays in the $894 Pick 6 carryover at Finger Lakes.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Assiniboia Downs 15% Win Bonus: Receive a 15% bonus (up to 25% per day) on winning single-horse win bets at Assiniboia Downs every Monday through Wednesday in June.
  • Horseshoe Indianapolis 15% Win Bonus: Receive a 15% bonus (up to 25% per day) on winning single-horse win bets at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

Best Bets and Quick Picks

Churchill Downs: Race 1: $40,000 Maiden Claiming (4 1/2 furlongs on dirt, 12:45 p.m. ET)

#5 Certain Victor E (15-1) showed some talent when breezing half a mile from the starting gate in a quick :48 on June 17. A daughter of champion and Grade 1-winning juvenile Improbable, Certain Victor E is trained by Cirilo Gorostieta, a solid 14% winner with first-time starters.

In recent years, Gorostieta has debuted seven horses in maiden claimers. One prevailed and another four finished second or third, giving Gorostieta a 14% win rate and a 71% in-the-money rate. These stats are strong enough to suggest Certain Victor E is overpriced at her 15-1 morning line odds, so let’s try a win bet on this live longshot.


  • #5 Certain Victor E (15-1)
  • #5 Lookatmybuckle (9-2)
  • #6 Sweet Mo B (3-1)


  • $20 to win on #5 Certain Victor E

Churchill Downs: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (4 1/2 furlongs on dirt, 2:13 p.m. ET)

#2 Reliable Source (3-1) is a daughter of Grade 1-winning sprinter Volatile out of Repeta, who has foaled three stakes winners. This classy pedigree is one reason to back Reliable Source, but another is her promising work tab. On June 12, the gray filly worked a bullet half-mile from the Keeneland starting gate in :47 1/5.

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has done well debuting juveniles at Churchill Downs this meet, going 6-for-20 (30%), so there’s a lot to like about Reliable Source. Let’s bet her to win, then key her over the fast-working $750,000 auction acquisition #8 And One More Time (9-2) in the exacta.


  • #2 Reliable Source (3-1)
  • #8 And One More Time (9-2)
  • #6 All Star Tout (12-1)


  • $20 to win on #2 Reliable Source
  • $5 Exacta: 2 with 8
    Total: $25

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (five furlongs on dirt, 4:14 p.m. ET)

Since 2022, trainer Aaron West has gone 3-for-12 (25%) debuting juveniles on dirt at Horseshoe Indianapolis. This strong win rate suggests West’s unraced two-year-old filly #9 Foxy Justice (3-1) is worth backing in this spot.

A half-sister to Too Bad Justice, who won the 5 1/2-furlong Sagamore Sired S. at Horseshoe Indianapolis, Foxy Justice breezed half a mile over this track in :48 1/5 on June 7 and traveled the same distance from the starting gate in :48 4/5 on June 15. Throw in the fact jockey Samuel Bermudez has gone 3-for-9 (33%) teaming up with West over the last two months, and what’s not to like? We’ll make Foxy Justice our third win play of the day.


  • #9 Foxy Justice (3-1)
  • #3 Campanita (8-1)
  • #10 The Flint Express (10-1)


  • $30 to win on #9 Foxy Justice

Carryover Watch

Penn National: Race 3: $894 Pick 6 carryover (2:18 p.m. ET)

The Tuesday card at Finger Lakes features a non-jackpot carryover worth $894 in the $1 Pick 6. It’s not a huge prize pool, but the payoff might be respectable if a couple of non-favored runners we have our eyes on visit the winner’s circle.

Let’s check out these appealing price plays:

Race 3: #1 Rose’s Pepino (4-1)

Rose’s Pepino is the third morning line choice among six horses entered in this $8,000 starter optional claimer taking place over 1 1/16 miles on dirt. And that’s a little surprising given that he fits very well against this field from a Brisnet Speed rating standpoint.

Rose’s Pepino has been competing at Mountaineer, where he’s cracked the exacta in each of his last four starts. The stretch-running gelding rallied to dominate a $4,000 starter allowance by 4 3/4 lengths, then finished second in an allowance, first by eight lengths in an $6,500 starter optional claimer, and second by a head in a $17,500 allowance optional claimer.

Those four efforts yielded Speed ratings of 90, 84, 91, and 86—excellent numbers considering none of his Wednesday rivals have recently posted a rating higher than 86. Rose’s Pepino has every chance to shine for the hot jockey/trainer duo of Charle Oliveros and Robert Inman, who have gone 2-for-7 (29%) teaming up together over the last two months.

Race 7: #6 East Coast Girl (8-1)

Speaking of Brisnet Speed ratings, surely East Coast Girl is overpriced as the longest shot among seven horses in this 5 1/2-furlong dirt allowance for horses who have never won three races?

Sure, East Coast Girl is stepping up in class out of a $5,000 claimer for non-winners of two races. But East Coast Girl wired that five-furlong sprint by 12 1/2 easy lengths, earning an 87 Brisnet Speed rating similar to the number of 91, 85, and 87 he threw down during a three-race hot streak on the New York Racing Association circuit last year.

None of East Coast Girl’s Wednesday rivals have recently earned a number higher than 84, so if he can repeat his big Finger Lakes debut, he can outrun those 8-1 morning line odds and vie for victory.

Good luck!