Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Jan. 23

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

January 23rd, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, Jan. 23 at Mahoning Valley and Turf Paradise, including a 12-1 longshot with enticing credentials.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Monday Harness Exacta Win Bonus: Receive a 50% bonus (up to $50 per day) on winning exacta bets at selected harness tracks. Offer applies to your first straight exacta bet in a race featuring seven or more starters.

Picks and Plays

Mahoning Valley: Race 6: Allowance (one mile and 70 yards, 3:05 p.m. ET)

#4 Last Cookie (6-1) struggled in his first two starts against maiden special weight competition, but thrived when dropping to the $15,000 maiden claiming level for a one-mile contest at Turfway Park. Making his first start as a gelding, Last Cookie rallied boldly from off the pace to dominate by 5 1/4 lengths.

Last Cookie was claimed out of his maiden win by trainer Johanna Urieta, a 21% winner with new claiming acquisitions. The allowance level at Mahoning Valley should be a good fit for Last Cookie, who still has upside while starting for the second time as a gelding.

We’ll bet Last Cookie to win and key him over #3 Star Entertainer (2-1) and #5 Gullane (5-2) in the exacta.


  • #4 Last Cookie (6-1)
  • #5 Gullane (5-2)
  • #3 Star Entertainer (2-1)


  • $20 to win on #4 Last Cookie
  • $5 Exacta: 4 with 3,5 ($10)
    Total: $30

Turf Paradise: Race 5: City of Phoenix S. (one mile, 4:20 p.m. ET)

#4 Tiz a Macho Girl (5-1) has taken first prize in all three of her dirt route races, including the 1 1/16-mile Washington Oaks and the one-mile Bell Of The Ball S. The latter victory came at Turf Paradise, and Tiz a Macho Girl showed tenacity to edge #6 Miss Hard Knocks (5-1) by a nose with the rest finishing five lengths behind.

Since Tiz a Macho Girl clearly enjoys running long on dirt, we’ll count on her to win right back at a nice price. Miss Hard Knocks and #1 Dance Shoes (4-1) can battle for places in the exacta and trifecta.


  • #4 Tiz a Macho Girl (5-1)
  • #6 Miss Hard Knocks (5-1)
  • #1 Dance Shoes (4-1)


  • $15 to win on #4 Tiz a Macho Girl
  • $5 Exacta: 4 with 1,6 ($10)
  • $2.50 Trifecta: 4 with 1,6 with 1,6 ($5)
    Total: $30

Turf Paradise: Race 8: Luke Kruytbosch (one mile, 5:47 p.m. ET)

#7 Ax Man (12-1) has tackled many different race conditions through the years. He’s sprinted, he’s run long, he’s tackled dirt and turf. But you know what? Ax Man is a dirt miler at heart. He boasts a 3-for-3 record racing one mile on dirt, and all three of his stakes wins have come racing one mile to 1 1/16 miles on dirt.

That includes a dominant victory in the Jim Rasmussen S. at Prairie Meadows last June, in which Ax Man trounced next-out winner Calibrate by four lengths with a sharp 93 Brisnet Speed rating. Ax Man has faltered in two subsequent turf tries, but returning to dirt for the Luke Kruytbosch can trigger a competitive showing at longshot odds.

#9 Tartini (5-1) and #10 Convention (4-1) are the two we’ll add for an exacta.


  • #7 Ax Man (12-1)
  • #10 Convention (4-1)
  • #9 Tartini (5-1)


  • $20 to win on #7 Ax Man
  • $5 Exacta: 7 with 9,10 ($10)
    Total: $30

Good luck!