Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays for March 30

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March 30th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his weekday picks and plays for Tuesday, March 30 at Mahoning Valley and Parx, including three $10 win bets taking advantage of the TwinSpires Winter Midweek Bet Back promotion.

Mahoning Valley, Race 3: Maiden special weight (six furlongs, 1:40 p.m. ET)

There isn’t a ton of speed entered in this maiden sprint for sophomore fillies, which should give #7 Blue Abbi Road (8-5) a tactical advantage in her first local start.

A daughter of high-class sprinter Air Force Blue, Blue Abbi Road has flashed significant speed in her two starts. In a $15,000 maiden claiming race at Turfway Park 11 days ago, Blue Abbi Road carved out quick fractions of :22.33 and :45.46 and finished third, beaten just a neck by a pair of late runners.

This effort produced a 65 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest figure in Tuesday’s field. Trainer Aaron West has five wins from nine starts (56%) at Mahoning since the start of the year, and hot jockey Eric Barbaran (a 57% winner when he rides for West) has retained the mount. Any way you slice it, Blue Abbi Road looks formidable.

In addition to our $10 win bet, we’ll play Blue Abbi Road on top of a trifecta ticket, with #2 Caltha (5-1), #3 Blazing Miss Jojo (6-1), and #5 She’s Apples (2-1) underneath.

$10 to win on #7 Blue Abbi Road
$2.50 trifecta: 7 with 2,3,5 with 2,3,5 ($15)
Total: $25

Mahoning Valley, Race 5: Allowance (six furlongs, 2:36 p.m. ET)

The stakes-experienced sophomore #2 Ahimelech (3-1) will step up against older horses, but his race record is encouraging.

On March 5, at Tampa Bay Downs, the son of Flat Out flashed excellent early speed in a $25,000 claiming race, when he pressed the pace and seized command to win the six-furlong sprint by two lengths, over next-out winner Yes Sir Robert.

Brisnet E1 and E2 Pace ratings suggest Ahimelech will have every chance to secure the early lead Tuesday, an advantage since speed is performing well at Mahoning. Trainer Timothy Hamm has saddled 22% winners this meet, and Barbaran has three wins from eight starts (38%) when he teams with Hamm over the last 60 days, so all signs suggest Ahimelech is sitting on a big effort.

#5 Romped (7-2) and #9 Latin Spice (5-2) can battle to round out the exacta.

$10 to win on #2 Ahimelech
$5 exacta: 2 with 5,9 ($10)
Total: $20

Parx, Race 8: Allowance (1 1/2 miles, 4:04 p.m. ET)

#1 Flat Out Flashy (7-2) has never run 1 1/2 miles, but he enters in hot form for high-percentage trainer Jamie Ness and has an opportunity to secure an easy lead in this rare dirt marathon.

A son of two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Flat Out, out of a mare by Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) victor Saint Liam, Flat Out Flashy has the pedigree to handle long distances.

He also brings strong recent Brisnet Speed ratings to the mix. He posted an 87 when he dominated a $7,500 claiming race by a dozen lengths and a 106 when he came in second in an $8,000 starter allowance.

#2 O’Kram (9-5) likewise has tactical speed and competitive Brisnet Speed ratings, but he could only finish fourth in a 1 1/2-mile starter allowance at Parx last fall, so Flat Out Flashy might have more upside in his first run at the distance. The fact that hot jockey Frankie Pennington has retained the mount is also a positive.

A $10 win bet will be our first order of business, but we’ll also play Flat Out Flashy in a cold exacta over O’Kram.

$10 to win on #1 Flat Out Flashy
$5 exacta: 1 with 2
Total: $15

Good luck!