Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for April 13

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April 13th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his picks and plays for Tuesday, April 13 at Mahoning Valley and Parx, including thoughts on an $8,271 Pick 6 carryover.

Picks and plays

Mahoning Valley, Race 3: Maiden special weight (one mile and 70 yards, 1:40 p.m. ET)

#3 To Kalon (7-5) is the morning-line favorite, after he finished second in a pair of maiden claiming events racing one mile at Turfway Park. He has tactical speed and will add blinkers Tuesday, a winning move 38% of the time for trainer Larry Smith.

But the switch to dirt is a question mark, since To Kalon’s dam was a turf specialist, and #4 Grand Deal (8-5) is actually the faster horse from a Brisnet Speed rating standpoint.

Thanks to the TwinSpires Midweek Bet Back offer, we can place a $10 win bet on Grand Deal and get our money back if he finishes second.

In addition to our win bet, we’ll bet Grand Deal over To Kalon in a small exacta.

$10 to win on #4 Grand Deal
$5 exacta: 4 with 3
Total: $15

Mahoning Valley, Race 6: Allowance/optional claiming (six furlongs, 3:04 p.m. ET)

#4 Nick Can Fix (4-5) has compiled a 10-4-5 record from 23 starts, highlighted by 10 consecutive top-three finishes (including seven victories) between July 2020 and February 2021.

But Nick Can Fiz misfired in a six-furlong allowance at Mahoning last month, when he broke slowly and rallied mildly to finish fifth, 4 3/4 lengths behind the winner. If the eight-year-old gelding is starting to regress, he’ll be vulnerable at a short price Tuesday.

#2 Private Drive (5-1) and #3 Even Keeled (5-2) are logical alternatives, but I’m more intrigued by #6 Da Dude (15-1). With just 12 starts under his belt, the four-year-old gelding might still have upside, compared to his significantly older and more experienced rivals. Back in October, Da Dude put up a good fight against No Can Fix in a race over Tuesday’s distance and class level at Mahoning, where he led past the eighth pole and finished second by just 1 1/2 lengths.

Da Dude faltered in his two most recent efforts, but he has been freshened since the beginning of February and enters off a pair of bullet workouts for trainer Larry Smith. Smith strikes at a 29% rate with horses returning from layoffs of 46-90 days, and leading jockey Sonny Leon has been named to ride, which stamps Da Dude as a live longshot.

Following along with the Midweek Bet Back promotion, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Da Dude, then key him in the exacta, with Private Drive and Even Keeled.

$10 to win on #6 Da Dude
$2 exacta: 6 with 2,3 ($4)
$3 exacta: 2,3 with 6 ($6)
Total: $20

Parx, Race 4: $25,000 maiden claiming (6 1/2 furlongs, 2:16 p.m. ET)

The coupled entrymates #1 Holiday Raid (9-5) and #1A Confirmed Genius (9-5) are logical favorites, after they finished fourth and second over this track and class level March 22. But since jockey Frankie Pennington is named to ride them both, it appears only one might start, so the entry could be less formidable.

An alternative to the favorite(s) is #7 Pretty Pants (7-2), a first-time starter from the barn of trainer John Servis. Since 2017, Servis has compiled a 6-for-28 (21%) record with debuting three-year-olds at Parx, which suggests Pretty Pants can fire a big shot right out of the gate. She has put together a solid string of workouts in preparation for her debut, and her sire, Violence, gets 17% winners from first-time starters.

Taking advantage of the Winter Midweek Bet Back promotion, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Pretty Pants, then box her in the exacta, with Holiday Raid and/or Confirmed Genius.

$10 to win on #7 Pretty Pants
$5 exacta: 1,7 ($10)
Total: $20

Carryover watch

Mahoning Valley, Race 3: $8,271 Buckeye Pick 6 Jackpot

The Buckeye Pick 6 at Mahoning Valley produced unexpected results Monday. A victory by 35-1 longshot Wild Cowgirl in the afternoon’s fifth race ensured no winning tickets were sold, so the jackpot carryover stands at $8,271 for Tuesday’s card.

Tuesday’s Pick 6 looks straightforward. Just 47 horses (45 betting interests) have been entered, so the sequence should be winnable on a modest budget. This may be especially true if you’re willing to single #4 Grand Deal (8-5) in the kickoff leg.

#5 Dream Prizes (1-1) in Race 4 looms as a possible single, after he led all the way to dominate a $15,000 maiden claiming race at Mahoning by 10 lengths. But Dream Prizes also managed to secure an uncontested lead through fractions of :24.31 and :49.17, remarkably slow for a six-furlong sprint. Dream Prizes is bound to face a tougher task in his second start against winners, which opens the door for a horse like #1 The Man Can (7-2) or #3 Hillbilly Rich (5-1) to steal the show.

Race 5 should go to #1 Miss Surprise (6-5), an exacta finisher in her last four starts for trainer Elliot Sullivan. The daughter of Midshipman owns the best recent Brisnet Speed rating and brings tactical speed to the equation.

Race 6 is a bit tougher. We’ll spread deep with #2 Private Drive (5-1), #3 Even Keeled (5-2), #4 Nick Can Fix (4-5), and #6 Da Dude (15-1).

Race 7 isn’t an easy spot either, though #6 Valley of Mo’ara (5-2) has won three straight at Mahoning Valley and has the Brisnet Speed ratings to put up a good fight against #4 Kay Bee Gee (9-2) and #5 Pulpit’s Purrfect (3-1).

Race 8 looks like a logical spot for #1 Carmen Ohio (7-2), who has gone 2-for-2 this season for trainer Jeffrey Radosevich. If she brings her "A" game, #8 A Smile a Day (9-2) may be the only rival she has to fear.

20-cent Buckeye Pick 6: 4 with 1,3,5 with 1 with 2,3,4,6 with 4,5,6 with 1,8 ($14.40)

Good luck!