Keeler Johnson's picks and plays for Jan. 7

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January 7th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Friday, Jan. 7 at Tampa Bay Downs, Fair Grounds, and Santa Anita, along with a ticket for the $29,835 Pick 5 carryover at Turfway Park.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • 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.
  • Exacta Insurance: Receive refunds on exacta bets (up to $10) if your two selected horses finish in the first three home (but not in the winning order) at Fair Grounds. Offer applies to straight exacta bets only.
  • Rest of the World Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Rosehill (Australia).

Picks and Plays

Tampa Bay Downs: Race 9: $16,000 Claiming (five furlongs on turf, 4:52 p.m. ET)

Speed tends to be an asset in turf sprints, so we’ll take a shot betting #5 T. Waltz (6-1) in this five-furlong grass dash. The lightly-raced four-year-old has only run twice on turf, finishing fourth in a $25,000 maiden claimer before wiring a $16,000 version sprinting five furlongs over the Gulfstream Park lawn.

T. Waltz showed excellent speed in her maiden win, carving out fast fractions of :21.55 and :44.75 over a good course before digging down to beat a pair of next-out winners by half a length. She was rewarded with a 102 Brisnet E2 Pace rating and an 83 Brisnet Speed rating, which appear very competitive against Friday’s field.

Let’s place a large win bet on T. Waltz and hope her 6-1 morning line odds hold up.

  • $25 to win on #5 T. Waltz

Fair Grounds: Race 7: $17,500 Allowance Optional Claiming (one mile and 70 yards, 5:05 p.m. ET)

#2 Misty Veil (7-5) hasn’t missed the trifecta in six starts since being claimed by high-percentage trainer Tom Amoss, a 24% winner at Fair Grounds this meet. Along the way, the daughter of Tonalist has posted a bevy of flashy Brisnet Speed ratings, including a 96 when dominating a $50,000 starter allowance at Saratoga by 7 3/4 lengths.

Misty Veil has lots of tactical speed but is a bit versatile in terms of running style, setting the stage for a winning run while facing easier competition at Fair Grounds.

#5 Saintsation (8-1) and #6 Distorted Verve (7-2) can battle to complete the exacta.

  • $10 Exacta: 2 with 5,6 ($20)

Santa Anita: Race 8: Maiden Special Weight (one mile, 7:05 p.m. ET)

#1 Adare Manor (9-5) has shown excellent tactical speed in her first two starts sprinting for hot trainer Bob Baffert. After employing pacesetting tactics to finish second by a neck in her debut over six furlongs at Santa Anita, the daughter of Uncle Mo tracked the pace on her way to fourth place in a 6 1/2-furlong dash at Del Mar.

These efforts produced solid Brisnet Speed ratings of 89 and 80, and Adare Manor has trained sharply in advance of her route debut. There isn’t much speed in Friday’s small field, so Adare Manor should be able to secure an uncontested lead under hot jockey John Velazquez, who has gone 9-for-13 (69%) teaming up with Baffert over the last two months.

#3 Micro Share (8-5) can round out the exacta in her second start for trainer Richard Mandella.

  • $20 to win on #1 Adare Manor
  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 3
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Turfway Park, Race 1: $29,835 Pick 5 carryover (6:15 p.m. ET)

Turfway Park is always putting together competitive race cards, and Friday’s slate is no exception. The eight-race offering is highlighted by a $29,835 carryover in the 50-cent Pick 5.

Let’s take a race-by-race look at the sequence, then assemble a ticket on a $48 budget:

Race 1: $5,000 Claiming (6 1/2 furlongs)

A deep field kicks off the sequence. #10 Spend Benjamins (5-2) has been putting up sharp Brisnet Speed ratings against tougher company over the Gulfstream Park Tapeta, but he’s drawn wide, and shipping to Turfway is a new obstacle. #2 Dr Parker (9-2), #4 Hart Well (8-1), and #7 Crankshaft (4-1) are possible alternatives.

Race 2: $18,000 Claiming (1 1/16 miles)

#1 Happy Camper (2-1) won a $15,000 claimer at Turfway two starts back before finishing fourth in an allowance over this same track. His Brisnet Speed ratings are strong, and leading jockey Gerardo Corrales is named to ride, stamping Happy Camper as a logical single.

Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (one mile)

#10 My Brother Cam (4-1) ran third in his debut on turf at Aqueduct, earning a strong 82 Brisnet Speed rating. But he subsequently failed to finish a one-mile dirt heat at Aqueduct, making his form hard to analyze. We’ll try to beat My Brother Cam with the experienced Turfway maiden special weight competitors #1 Scattershack (3-1), #4 Succeed (12-1), #9 Lemonadeatthelatch (4-1) and #11 Make Way (9-2).

Race 4: $15,000 Claiming (one mile)

#6 Gray Nay (9-2). #7 Addison (9-2), and #5 Mayapretty (7-2) were separated by less than a length when finishing second, third, and fourth over this track and class level on Dec. 11. The three mares bring contrasting running styles to the table, and one of the three should claim top honors.

Race 5: Maiden Special Weight (one mile)

#10 Gus Gus (4-1) ran strongly in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Turfway last month, leading past the eighth pole before fading late to finish fourth with a 79 Brisnet Speed rating that tops Friday’s field. Gus Gus is surely the runner to beat, though #1 American Hero (3-1)—fourth in a Turfway sprint last time out—could show improvement in his route debut for high-percentage trainer Brad Cox.

  • 50-cent Pick 5: 2,4,7,10 with 1 with 1,4,9,11 with 5,6,7 with 1,10 ($48)

Good luck!