Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Jan. 19

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January 19th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $75 worth of picks and plays for Wednesday, Jan. 19 at Tampa Bay Downs, Parx Racing, and Mahoning Valley, including a pair of cold exactas.

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

Mahoning Valley: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 2:08 p.m. ET)

#6 Brick of Hearts (8-1) hasn’t shown much in her first two starts over this track, distance, and class level, finishing ninth and fifth while earning modest Brisnet Speed ratings.

But there are reasons to believe Brick of Hearts can produce a more competitive effort on Wednesday. For starters, this field doesn’t look overly tough on paper. For another, Brick of Hearts is adding blinkers, which may sharpen her speed. Finally, she’ll be ridden by hot jockey Sonny Leon, a 21% winner at Mahoning.

Thanks to the Midweek Bet Back offer, we can place a $10 win bet on Brick of Hearts and receive a refund if she settles for second place. We’ll also bet her on top of a small exacta using #5 Reys Pina Colada (7-2) for second place.

  • $10 to win on #6 Brick of Hearts
  • $5 Exacta: 6 with 5
    Total: $15

Parx Racing: Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (one mile and 70 yards, 2:13 p.m. ET)

#7 Brindisi (4-1) largely struggled in his first three starts sprinting on dirt and running long on turf. But running long on dirt proved to be the right combination, as Brindisi ran second in a one-mile and 70-yard maiden special weight on Nov. 22 at Parx, earning a career-best 70 Brisnet Speed rating.

On that occasion, Brindisi wore blinkers for the first time and showed improved tactical speed. He also displayed some fight to edge next-out maiden winner Noneedtoworry by half a length for second place.

Brindisi will add Lasix for Wednesday’s test, a 30% winning move for hot trainer John Servis. Throw in the services of high-percentage jockey Frankie Pennington (a 31% winner when teaming up with Servis), and Brindisi is worth betting to win.

#1 Empire Ridge (2-1), exiting a trio of turf races on the New York circuit, can complete the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #7 Brindisi
  • $10 Exacta: 7 with 1
    Total: $30

Tampa Bay Downs: Race 6: $32,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (seven furlongs, 2:48 p.m. ET)

#2 Clay’s Moon Stone (2-1) has been in strong form since being claimed by trainer Susan Arnett. On Sept. 12, she rallied boldly to win a $16,000 allowance optional claimer racing one mile at Prairie Meadows. And on Dec. 1, she employed pressing tactics to finish second over Wednesday’s class level and distance at Tampa Bay Downs, beaten only 2 1/4 lengths.

Clay’s Moon Stone brings competitive Brisnet Speed ratings to the table, and Arnett wins at a 27% rate with horses running back off 46 to 90 days of rest. All the signs suggest Clay’s Moon Stone is a logical choice to take down #3 Bahamian Moon (9-2) and #5 Gramercy (7-2).

  • $20 to win on #2 Clay’s Moon Stone
  • $5 Exacta: 2 with 3,5 ($10)
    Total: $30

Good luck!