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Homeracing

Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for April 4

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

April 4th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $100 worth of picks and plays for Monday, April 4 at Will Rogers Downs and Turf Paradise, including a pair of trifectas.

Picks and Plays

Will Rogers Downs: Race 1: $7,500 Starter Allowance (six furlongs, 2:00 p.m. ET)

#3 Grand Royale (7-5) hasn’t missed the trifecta in three starts at Will Rogers Downs, including a six-furlong allowance here on March 21. Making his first start off an 11-month layoff, Grand Royale settled within striking distance of the leaders before fighting on nicely down the homestretch to finish third, beaten only three-quarters of a length.

This solid comeback run produced an 89 Brisnet Speed rating, equaling Grand Royale’s career-best figure. He’s actually posted three straight 80+ Brisnet Speed ratings (all at Will Rogers Downs) and should be tough to beat if he improves at all in his second run of the season.

#2 Knight Disruptor (2-1) and #4 Afleet Sniper (7-2) can battle for exacta and trifecta honors.

  • $10 Exacta: 3 with 2,4 ($20)
  • $5 Trifecta: 3 with 2,4 with 2,4 ($10)
    Total: $30

Turf Paradise: Race 1: $4,000 Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 4:25 p.m. ET)

#5 Wicked Fortitude (2-1) ran boldly in a $5,000 starter optional claimer over this track and distance last month. Making his first start for hot trainer Justin Evans (a 24% winner at Turf Paradise this meet), Wicked Fortitude tracked a solid pace before rallying to win by three-quarters of a length.

This effort produced a solid 80 Brisnet Speed rating, easily the highest last-out figure posted by any horse in Monday’s field. Evans wins at a 40% rate with horses dropping in class off a victory, and jockey Karlo Lopez (a 27% winner teaming up with Evans over the last two months) is named to ride, so all the stats suggest Wicked Fortitude is sitting on another big run.

The class-dropping #4 Cause and Effect (5-2) can edge the speedy #3 Georgian Road (3-1) for second place. But our biggest play will be a win bet on Wicked Fortitude.

  • $25 to win on #5 Wicked Fortitude
  • $10 Exacta: 5 with 4
  • $5 Trifecta: 5 with 4 with 3
    Total: $40

Will Rogers Downs: Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 4:48 p.m. ET)

#5 Twice the Price (1-1) is the clear morning-line favorite after placing second in four of his last five starts in California, Arkansas, and Texas. Twice the Price most recently finished second in a $50,000 maiden claimer at Sam Houston, earning a respectable 76 Brisnet Speed rating.

But can we trust Twice the Price to visit the winner’s circle at Will Rogers Downs? His 15-0-7-2 lifetime resume suggests he’s more content to settle for second or third place than vie for victory.

Let’s try to beat Twice the Price with the first-time starter #3 Inside Job (2-1). The son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah has been training up a storm at Will Rogers Downs. On March 14, he clocked half a mile in :47 3/5. On March 21, he traveled the same distance from the starting gate in :47 4/5. And last Tuesday, he sped five furlongs in a bullet :59 4/5.

Let’s bet Inside Job to win, then key him over Twice the Price in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #3 Inside Job
  • $10 Exacta: 3 with 5
    Total: $30

Good luck!

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