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Homeracing

Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for April 18

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

April 16th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $100 worth of picks and plays for Monday, April 18 at Turf Paradise and Mountaineer, including a pair of cold exactas.

Picks and Plays

Turf Paradise: Race 5: $50,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (six furlongs, 6:25 p.m. ET)

#1 Missczech (5-2) couldn’t quite handle stakes competition in the one-mile Arizona Oaks two starts back, finishing fourth. But the daughter of Cairo Prince bounced back sharply in a $75,000 allowance optional claimer sprinting six furlongs at Turf Paradise last month, leading almost all the way to dominate by three lengths.

The 83 Brisnet Speed rating Missczech posted is the highest figure in Monday’s field by a clear margin, so sticking to the same track and distance should make Missczech tough to beat under hot jockey Harry Hernandez. #3 Roses for Suzzett (9-2) and #5 Addydidit (6-1) can battle to complete the exacta and trifecta.

  • $25 to win on #1 Missczech
  • $5 Exacta: 1 with 3,5 ($10)
  • $2.50 Trifecta: 1 with 3,5 with 3,5 ($5)
    Total: $40

Mountaineer: Race 2: $4,000 Claiming (4 1/2 furlongs, 7:25 p.m. ET)

#1 Kiki Do U Love Me (15-1) might be 0-for-9, but she’s never sprinted as short as 4 1/2 furlongs, and this abbreviated trip might make all the difference. Kiki Do U Love Me boasts tactical speed and has twice led past the eighth pole in five-furlong $4,000 maiden claimers at Mountaineer, only to falter late.

There isn’t a crazy amount of speed in Monday’s field, and the class-dropping favorite #7 After the Wire (7-5) is a deep closer whose lone trifecta finish came in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint on synthetic. If Kiki Do U Love Me shakes loose up front, she can spring a gate-to-wire surprise.

  • $20 to win on #1 Kiki Do U Love Me
  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 7
  • Total: $30

Mountaineer: Race 5: $10,000 Claiming (six furlongs, 8:40 p.m. ET)

#1 Kingston Time (3-1) was last seen finishing seventh in a $15,000 claimer on Jan. 31 at Mahoning Valley. It wasn’t his best effort, but dropping in class and returning to Mountaineer can trigger a rebound. Kingston Time hasn’t missed the trifecta in a dozen starts over this track, including a nine-length romp against $10,000 claiming company on Nov. 28.

Kingston Time consistently puts up 80+ Brisnet Speed ratings when on his game, a plateau his Monday rivals have been struggling to reach. Throw in the fact trainer Michael Baird wins at a solid 18% rate with horses returning from layoffs of 90 days or more, and Kingston Time looms as a formidable win threat.

#3 Arcelor (2-1), second in his last two starts against $10,000 claiming company, can complete a cold exacta.

  • $20 to win on #1 Kingston Time
  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 3
    Total: $30

Good luck!

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