Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Jan. 26
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $125 worth of picks and plays for Wednesday, Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs, and Turf Paradise, including a ticket for Gulfstream’s $5,181 Super High 5 carryover.
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 Parx Racing.
- 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 2: $8,000 Claiming (seven furlongs, 12:59 p.m. ET)
#2 Pretty Rachel (6-5) has won eight of her last nine starts in impressive fashion. But the speedy daughter of Dominus was a bit less flashy than usual in a $6,250 claimer at Gulfstream last month, prevailing by only 1 3/4 lengths. Considering she crushed a trio of $12,500 claimers at Gulfstream last summer, it’s fair to wonder if her form is regressing.
Let’s try to beat Pretty Rachel with #3 Chez Paree (8-5). The stretch-running mare has won her last two claiming starts, including an $8,000 claimer sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream last summer. Her best Brisnet Speed ratings are respectable, and hot jockey Irad Ortiz (a 29% winner this meet) picks up the mount.
- $20 to win on #3 Chez Paree
- $5 Exacta: 3 with 2
Tampa Bay Downs: Race 6: $75,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (six furlongs, 2:48 p.m. ET)
#3 Morgan Point (2-1) was an impressive maiden winner sprinting six furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 4. After settling far behind a quick pace, Morgan Point unleashed a sweeping rally to score by 2 3/4 lengths.
Morgan Point subsequently failed to challenge in the seven-furlong Pasco S. at Tampa, finishing sixth, but the 82 Brisnet Speed rating he posted wasn’t far off the 84 he received for his maiden win. Those figures rank as two of the three highest in Wednesday’s field, so if Morgan Point runs his typical race, he can beat Finger Lakes shipper #6 Sue’s Shoes (7-2) and stakes-placed Iowa-bred #1 Kwai Chang (9-2) to the finish line.
- $20 to win on #3 Morgan Point
- $5 Exacta: 3 with 1,6 ($10)
Turf Paradise: Race 6: $3,000 Claiming (6 1/2 furlongs, 5:02 p.m. ET)
#6 Brazilian Summer (3-1) has been competing against tougher company at Zia Park and Sunland Park, cracking the exacta in four straight $5,000 claimers before finishing fifth at the $10,000 level. The six-year-old gelding has an abundance of pacesetting speed and brings a competitive series of Brisnet Speed ratings to the table, so he should be tough to catch while dropping down the class ladder.
Brazilian Summer also has hot connections in his corner. Trainer Martin Valdez-Carbral wins at a 43% rate with shippers and at a 40% rate when teaming up with jockey Alex Cruz. Thus, we’ll bet Brazilian Summers to win and play him over #8 Chef (4-1) and #10 Smokin Encounter (10-1) in the exacta.
- $20 to win on #6 Brazilian Summer
- $5 Exacta: 6 with 8,10 ($10)
Gulfstream Park, Race 1: $5,181 Super High 5 carryover (9:46 p.m. ET)
Some carryovers are tough to take down, with the wagers involved featuring hundreds of thousands of possible outcomes. Other carryovers are decidedly less imposing to pursue, and Wednesday’s $5,181 Super High 5 carryover at Gulfstream Park is an example.
The prize pool is on the table in Race 1, a $16,000 maiden claimer for three-year-old fillies racing one mile and 70 yards on Tapeta. Only eight horses have been entered, equating to 6,720 possible outcomes. We can reduce that number down to just 840 if we’re willing to key logical favorite #4 Stormy Stella (6-5) on top of our tickets.
Although Stormy Stella has yet to run farther than 5 1/2 furlongs, she’s shown strong form against much tougher competition than she’ll encounter on Wednesday. For example, Stormy Stella has placed in her last two starts against $25,000 maiden claiming company over the Gulfstream Tapeta. And three starts back, she ran fifth in a maiden special weight on dirt at Keeneland, beaten only six lengths after dueling for the lead past the furlong marker.
Along the way, Stormy Stella has posted a bevy of sharp Brisnet Speed ratings. She’s cracked the 70 plateau three times, a significant accomplishment since none of her rivals have run faster than 69. Best of all, Stormy Stella will add blinkers on Wednesday, a 42% winning move for trainer Jose D’Angelo. Throw in hot jockey Luis Saez (a 40% winner when teaming up with D’Angelo), and Stormy Stella looks difficult to defeat.
Who should we use underneath? Definitely #5 Cagua (5-2) and #6 Splicer (9-2), two fillies who have placed multiple times running long over this track and class level. On Oct. 14, they ran second and third in a one-mile and 70-yard heat, with Splicer getting the better of Cagua by a neck. Then on Nov. 6, they ran 2-3 again, but Cagua reversed their personal battle by half a length.
The remaining contenders are tough to split, so we’ll hit the “ALL” button for the final two slots of our Super High 5.
- $1 Super High 5: 4 with 5,6 with 5,6 with ALL with ALL ($40)