Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of Aug. 9

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Wednesday, Aug. 9 at Horseshoe Indianapolis, Saratoga, and Assiniboia Downs, along with thoughts on a pair of Pick 5 carryovers at Delaware Park.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Hoosier Park $10 Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any eligible race at Hoosier Park.
  • Assiniboia Downs $1,000 Pick 4 Hit It & Split It: Hit the Pick 4 at Assiniboia Downs on any of three days (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday) to earn your share of a $1,000 daily jackpot. Hit the Pick 4 all three days to split an additional $2,000 jackpot.
  • Saratoga $10 Money Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second or third in select races Wednesday through Sunday at Saratoga.

Picks and Plays

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 2:30 p.m. ET)

#3 Quarrymen (8-5) has put together a sharp work tab in Kentucky for red-hot trainer Brad Cox, a 37% winner at Horseshoe Indianapolis this meet. On July 28, Quarrymen clocked a bullet five furlongs in 1:01 at Ellis Park, and he followed up with a half-mile from the Ellis starting gate in :48 2/5 last Friday.

A Godolphin homebred slated to be ridden by Emmanuel Esquivel (a 40% winner teaming up with Cox over the last two months), Quarrymen is a compelling choice to take home top honors on debut. Let’s bet him to win and key him over #1 Mr Discount (6-1) and #2 Epic Battle (6-1) in the exacta.


  • #3 Quarrymen (8-5)
  • #1 Mr Discount (6-1)
  • #2 Epic Battle (6-1)


  • $16 to win on #3 Quarrymen
  • $7 Exacta: 3 with 1,2 ($14)
    Total: $30

Saratoga: Race 9: Johnstone Mile H. (one mile, 5:44 p.m. ET)

#2 Sunset Louise (5-2) has wired all three of her starts this year, including a $62,500 allowance optional claimer racing one mile at Saratoga last month. On that occasion, Sunset Louise dominated by 5 3/4 lengths while eased up at the finish.

A typical performance from Sunset Louise should make her tough to beat while tackling a stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares. #4 Bustin Bay (6-1) and #5 Betsy Blue (3-1) can battle for a place in the exacta.


  • #2 Sunset Louise (5-2)
  • #4 Bustin Bay (6-1)
  • #5 Betsy Blue (3-1)


  • $20 to win on #2 Sunset Louise
  • $5 Exacta: 2 with 4,5 ($10)
    Total: $30

Assiniboia Downs: Race 4: Graduation S. (five furlongs, 9:50 p.m. ET)

#4 Dancinginthecreek (15-1) was no match for #2 Canyouhearmerunnin (2-1) when they debuted in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Assiniboia Downs last month, finishing fourth by 8 1/4 lengths while Canyouhearmerunnin romped to victory.

But Dancinginthecreek is adding Lasix for his second start, and hot trainer Michael Nault (a 25% winner at Assiniboia this meet) wins at a 33% rate with second-time starters. Throw in high-percentage jockey Chavion Chow (a 24% winner teaming up with Nault over the last two months), and there are many reasons to believe Dancinginthecreek can move forward in his second start.

Let’s try betting Dancininthecreek over Canyouhearmerunnin and #3 Silver Jaguar (5-2) in the exacta.


  • #4 Dancinginthecreek (15-1)
  • #2 Canyouhearmerunnin (2-1)
  • #3 Silver Jaguar (5-2)


  • $10 Exacta: 4 with 2,3 ($20)

Carryover Watch

Delaware Park: Race 1: $8,384 Pick 5 carryover (12:30 p.m. ET)
Delaware Park: Race 4: $5,255 Pick 5 carryover (2:00 p.m. ET)

Did you know there are two Pick 5 carryovers up for grabs on Wednesday at Delaware Park? The 50-cent Early Pick 5 features an $8,384 prize pool, while the 50-cent Late Pick 5 boasts a carryover worth $5,255. Both wagers feature modest 15% takeout rates, so there’s a lot of value on the table here.

Bettors planning to chase both Pick 5 carryovers are advised to take extra care handicapping Race 4 and Race 5, which are involved in both Pick 5 sequences. If you fail to find the winners, you won’t cash either Pick 5.

We’ll focus our attention on Race 4, a $20,000 claimer for fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs on dirt, because it offers a possible single in the form of #5 Winkiwinki (2-1). She hasn’t been headed in two starts at Gulfstream Park, winning a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight for Florida-breds before nabbing a non-state-restricted $75,000 allowance optional claimer dashing 6 1/2 furlongs.

These victories produced sharp Brisnet Speed ratings of 80 and 85, easily fast enough to win Wednesday’s $20,000 claimer. But here’s the problem: Winkiwinki hasn’t run since May 2022, and dropping in class off a long layoff isn’t the best sign. Can we trust her to bring her A-game under these circumstances?

On the bright side, there are several positives in Winkiwinki’s favor. Trainer Jorge Delgado has gone 3-for-6 (50%) at Delaware Park this meet and strikes at an excellent 22% rate with horses returning from layoffs of 90 days or more. Furthermore, Winkiwinki will be guided by apprentice jockey Madison Olver, who rides with a seven-pound weight allowance.

Singling Winkiwinki in both Pick 5 wagers is probably a viable strategy, but bettors playing on bigger budgets might want to include #6 You’re the One (3-1) as backup. The three-year-old filly is 2-for-2 at Delaware Park this year, using her early speed to dominate a $12,500 maiden claimer by six lengths and a $16,000 claimer by 3 1/4 lengths, earning back-to-back 79 Brisnet Speed ratings. If Winkiwinki falters off the layoff, You’re the One is the logical alternative.

Good luck!