Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Jan. 5

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January 5th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $50 worth of picks and plays for Wednesday, Jan. 5 at Parx Racing and Mahoning Valley, including a trio of exacta bets.

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 1: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 12:45 p.m. ET)

The par winning Brisnet Speed rating for this track, distance, and class level is 70, but none of the experienced runners have posted a figure higher than 56. This suggests the first-time firster #1 Lil Rickys Jewel (10-1) can challenge at a price on debut.

Trained by Robert Cline (a 26% winner at Mahoning this meet), Lil Rickys Jewel has put together a lengthy work tab, including half a dozen workouts at Mahoning Valley. Cline has compiled a respectable 3-for-18 (17%) record debuting two-year-olds and three-year-olds at Mahoning since 2017, so we’ll place a win bet on Lil Rickys Jewel and then key him over #4 Billy Beacoup (2-1) in the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #1 Lil Rickys Jewel
  • $5 Exacta: 1 with 4
    Total: $15

Parx Racing: Race 7: $25,000 Claiming (one mile and 70 yards, 2:52 p.m. ET)

#2 Causeididitmyway (5-1) was in sharp form at Del Mar during the summer, employing pace-tracking tactics to finish second in a $16,000 claimer before rallying gamely to win a $20,000 claimer.

These efforts produced sharp Brisnet Speed ratings of 96 and 88, and I’m optimistic Causeididitmyway will find the competition a bit easier at Parx, even while technically ascending the class ladder. Trainer Jorge Guerrero has been hot when teaming up with jockey Luis Rivera, going 2-for-4 (50%) over the last two months, so we’ll take advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer and place a $10 win bet on Causeididitmyway.

#3 You Must Chill (3-1) and #7 Koan (8-1) can battle for a spot in the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #2 Causeididitmyway
  • $5 Exacta: 2 with 3,7 ($10)
    Total: $20

Tampa Bay Downs: Race 9: $16,000 Maiden Claiming (1 1/16 miles on turf, 4:18 p.m. ET)

#1 Bam Bam Warrior (8-1) seems like a good bet at a fair price in this two-turn turf claimer for three-year-olds. The son of grass champion Flintshire is conditioned by trainer Victor Carrasco, who strikes at a 23% rate with horses debuting in maiden claimers.

Bam Bam Warrior’s dam has already foaled McKenzie Honey, winner of the Scottsdale H. running one mile on turf, so Bam Bam Warrior is bred top and bottom to enjoy the conditions of Wednesday’s heat. We’ll take a shot betting him to win and keying him over logical favorite #4 Had Right (5-2) in the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #1 Bam Bam Warrior
  • $5 Exacta: 1 with 4
    Total: $15

Good luck!