Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Jan. 12
Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:
- Midweek Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in select races at Mahoning Valley.
- Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Happy Valley (Hong Kong).
Picks and Plays
Gulfstream Park: Race 3: $35,000 Maiden Claiming (seven furlongs, 1:28 p.m. ET)
#4 Out Work’n has hit the board in his last four starts against maiden claiming competition, including a pair of $30,000 events running long at Churchill Downs. He was particularly sharp in a 1 1/16-mile event on Nov. 26, carving out the pace before weakening in the final furlong to finish just 3 1/4 lengths away from victory.
Out Work’n shouldn’t mind cutting back to seven furlongs at Gulfstream, considering his two best Brisnet Speed ratings have come in sprints. Throw in the fact Out Work’n has been gelded since his last race, and he has plenty of potential for improvement.
Let’s bet Out Work’n to win, then key him over #5 Proud Contender (4-1) and #6 Starlite Walker (2-1) in the exacta.
- $20 to win on #4 Out Work’n
- $5 Exacta: 4 with 5,6 ($10)
Tampa Bay Downs: Race 5: Allowance (one mile on turf, 2:18 p.m. ET)
#3 Hit the Woah (2-1) has been freshened since the summer, when she finished off the board in the one-mile Riskaverse S. on grass at Saratoga. Her previous turf form had been solid, including a close seventh in the Soaring Softly S. (G3) and a third in the Sanibel Island S.
Hit the Woah should receive at least a little pace to chase on Wednesday, and in terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, she’s faster than morning line favorite #2 In Italian (3-2). Let’s place a win bet on Hit the Woah, then key her over the favorite in a cold exacta.
- $20 to win on #3 Hit the Woah
- $10 Exacta: 3 with 2
Mahoning Valley: Race 7: $5,000 Claiming (six furlongs, 3:33 p.m. ET)
#5 This Man Can (10-1) isn’t the most consistent racehorse, often finishing off the board. But once in a while, he steps up with a big effort at double-digit odds. Three starts back, he ran third in a $10,000 claimer at Mahoning Valley, earning a sharp 72 Brisnet Speed rating. He matched that figure during the summer at Thistledown, when he nabbed a $7,500 claimer.
This Man Can has tactical speed and will have every chance to secure the lead in Wednesday’s mostly paceless field. If he shakes loose up front, he can spring one of his double-digit surprises.
Taking advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on This Man Can.
- $10 to win on #5 This Man Can
Gulfstream Park, Race 1: $4,984 Super High 5 carryover (12:30 p.m. ET)
The racing week at Gulfstream Park kicks off on a high note on Wednesday. The opening race of the afternoon features a $4,984 carryover in the $1 Super High 5.
The race in question is a $16,000 maiden claimer for three-year-olds sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta—not necessarily the recipe for a predictable outcome. Throw in the fact the 10-horse field contains 30,240 possible outcomes, and assembling a winning ticket won’t be easy.
Nevertheless, we’ll give it a gallant try. We’ll start by favoring #7 Mr Mac Quhae (3-1), who has already cracked the trifecta in a pair of $16,000 maiden claimers at Gulfstream. He was especially sharp in a 5 1/2-furlong Tapeta dash on Dec. 22, rallying to finish second by 1 3/4 lengths.
In terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, Mr Mac Quhae is easily the fastest horse in Wednesday field. Whereas none of his rivals have posted a figure higher than 70, Mr Mac Quhae has posted four figures in the 72-76 range. If Mr Mac Quhae brings his A-game in his sophomore debut, he can sprint to the winner’s circle at a fair price.
Who else should we include? Certainly #2 Canaan (5-1), who flashed pacesetting speed before fading to finish sixth in his debut against maiden special weight company at Gulfstream. That race was conducted over 7 1/2 furlongs on turf, but Canaan is a son of Uncaptured (a three-time stakes winner sprinting on synthetic), so the conditions of Wednesday’s heat should prove suitable for Canaan.
#3 Takemyshot (6-1) is another logical choice. Most recently fifth in a $25,000 maiden claimer sprinting five furlongs over the Gulfstream Tapeta, Takemyshot figures to produce a competitive effort while dropping in class and adding blinkers.
Morning line favorite #10 Banker’s Hours (2-1) enters off a disappointing effort on turf, but in his debut dashing five furlongs over Gulfstream’s Tapeta track, the chestnut gelding pressed the pace in a maiden special weight before weakening to finish fourth. The $16,000 maiden claiming level should be more suitable for Banker’s Hour, and high-percentage trainer Saffie Joseph wins at a 28% rate in maiden claimers.
Here’s how we’ll bet the Super High 5:
- $1 Super High 5: 7 with 2,3,10 with 2,3,10 with 2,3,10 with 1,6,8,9 ($24)
- $1 Super High 5: 7 with 2,3,10 with 2,3,10 with 1,6,8,9 with 2,3,10 ($24)