Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Jan. 6

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January 6th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $60 worth of picks and plays for Thursday, Jan. 6 at Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, and Gulfstream Park, including a win bet on a 15-1 longshot.

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 Aqueduct.
  • Sam Houston Opening Weekend $3,000 Late Pick 4 Hit It and Split It: Hit the Late Pick 4 at Sam Houston on any day from Thursday-Saturday (Jan. 6-8) to win your share of a $1,000 daily jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Gulfstream Park: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (one mile and 70 yards on Tapeta, 1:57 p.m. ET)

#1 Miss You Ella (8-5) has been throwing down sharp Brisnet Speed ratings on the New York circuit. Her first two starts racing one mile on turf at Belmont Park saw Miss You Ella rally to finish fifth and fourth with Brisnet Speed ratings of 74 and 84.

Considering none of Miss You Ella’s rivals have posted a Brisnet Speed rating higher than 70, the daughter of Declaration of War looks tough to beat. The switch from turf to Tapeta shouldn’t be an issue since Miss You Ella’s half-brother Newstome won multiple stakes on Tapeta. Throw in jockey Irad Ortiz and trainer Chad Brown (a 28% winning team over the last two months) and Miss You Ella looms as a deserving favorite.

We’ll bet Miss You Ella to win, then play an exacta using the first-time starters #4 Culdee (9-2) and #5 Star of India (5-2) for second place.

  • $20 to win on #1 Miss You Ella
  • $5 Exacta: 1 with 4,5 ($10)

Total: $30

Fair Grounds: Race 5: $5,000 Claiming (six furlongs, 4:05 p.m. ET)

#10 Enough Heart (6-1) has cracked the trifecta in her last three starts over this class level, including a pair of recent efforts sprinting six furlongs at Fair Grounds. The five-year-old mare is versatile in terms of running style and brings competitive Brisnet Speed ratings to the mix, making her 6-1 morning line odds enticing.

Colby Hernandez (a solid 18% winner at Fair Grounds this meet) is named to ride Enough Heart, so let’s take a small chance betting her to win and playing her over recent maiden winners #4 Kasen’s Sister (7-2) and #9 Cheyann Glitters (4-1) in the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #10 Enough Heart
  • $5 Exacta: 10 with 4,9 ($10)
    Total: $20

Aqueduct: Race 8: Maiden Special Weight (one mile, 4:20 p.m. ET)

There’s barely any speed at all in this maiden route for New York-bred three-year-old fillies, so we’ll take a chance with longshot #2 Big Bean Christine (15-1). She displayed a bit of tactical speed when finishing fifth in her debut sprinting six furlongs over this track and class level on Nov. 12, then vied for the early lead in a Dec. 3 turf sprint before getting bumped and checked out of contention.

Big Bean Christine brings sharp Brisnet E1 and E2 Pace ratings to the mix, and she’ll be guided by apprentice jockey Omar Hernandez Moreno, which means she’ll receive a seven-pound weight break. If Big Bean Christine shakes loose on an uncontested lead, she may prove impossible to catch at a big price.

Taking advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Big Bean Christine and call it a day.

  • $10 to win on #2 Big Bean Christine

Good luck!