Keeler Johnson's picks and plays March 22
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $100 worth of picks and plays for Wednesday, March 22 at Tampa Bay Downs, along with tickets for the $76,381 Super High 5 carryover at Gulfstream Park.
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Picks and Plays
Tampa Bay Downs: Race 1: $16,000 Maiden Claiming (seven furlongs, 12:50 p.m. ET)
#5 Awesome Prince (4-5) debuted with a third-place finish in a $25,000 maiden claimer at Tampa Bay Downs, then dropped in class to finish second in a $16,000 claimer over the same track. In the latter race, Awesome Prince was beaten only half a length while earning a career-best 72 Brisnet Speed rating.
None of Awesome Prince’s Wednesday rivals have earned a Brisnet Speed rating higher than 67, so he’ll be tough to beat while adding blinkers for trainer Juan Arriagada, who wins at a lofty 24% rate with horses wearing blinkers for the first time.
We’ll take advantage of the Winning Wednesdays promotion and place a $20 win bet on Awesome Prince. Then we’ll single him to start double and Pick 3 wagers.
- #5 Awesome Prince (4-5)
- #2 Fast Fixer (8-1)
- #3 Altair (6-1)
- $20 to win on #5 Awesome Prince
- $20 Double: 5 with 6
- $10 Pick 3: 5 with 6 with 3
Tampa Bay Downs: Race 2: $16,000 Claiming (seven furlongs, 1:20 p.m. ET)
#6 Belmar Summer (4-5) obliterated a $16,000 claimer sprinting six furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs earlier this month, tracking the pace before pulling clear to win by 6 1/2 lengths. She also won at the $16,000 level three starts back, employing identical tactics to win a 6 1/2-furlong dash by three-quarters of a length.
Belmar Summer was claimed out of her latest victory by John Rigattieri, who wins at a terrific 28% rate with horses running back for the first time following a claim. Throw in jockey Pablo Morales (a 45% winner teaming up with Rigattieri over the last two months), and Belmar Summer is an obvious choice to win Wednesday’s contest.
While horses are the most important factor in handicapping any race, many bettors look toward jockey statistics to strengthen their opinions and separate top contenders.@J_Keelerman helps you understand rider stats 👇 https://t.co/asGyQ1e0YO— TwinSpires Racing 🏇 (@TwinSpires) October 20, 2021
Following along with the Winning Wednesdays promotion, we’ll place a $20 win bet on Belmar Summer. Then we’ll single her to end and begin double wagers.
- #6 Belmar Summer (4-5)
- #2 Da Journeygirl (6-1)
- #1 Happy Union (12-1)
- $20 to win on #6 Belmar Summer
- $10 Double: 6 with 3
Tampa Bay Downs: Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (1 3/8 miles on turf, 1:50 p.m. ET)
As a son of Kitten’s Joy out of a mare by Giant’s Causeway, #3 Typhoon Lagoon (8-5) is bred top and bottom to thrive running long on turf. And indeed, he performed well in a 1 1/2-mile maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park last month, tracking the early pace and taking command with a quarter-mile remaining before flattening out to finish third by 2 1/2 lengths.
Typhoon Lagoon may find the competition a bit easier at Tampa Bay Downs, and adding blinkers offers potential for improvement. We’ll place a $20 win bet on Typhoon Lagoon (taking advantage of the Winning Wednesdays promotion), then single him to conclude our double and Pick 3 wagers.
- #3 Typhoon Lagoon (8-5)
- #2 Bosque Redondo (3-1)
- #5 Bassanio (2-1)
- $20 to win on #3 Typhoon Lagoon
Gulfstream Park, Race 1: $76,381 Super High 5 carryover (12:40 p.m. ET)
Many non-jackpot Super High 5 carryovers range in size from a few hundred dollars to the low five figures. That’s why it’s noteworthy to see a $76,381 non-jackpot Super High 5 carryover up for grabs on Wednesday at Gulfstream Park—the prize pool is much larger than we typically see.
The $1 wager is available to play right off the bat in Race 1, a $20,000 maiden claimer for fillies and mares traveling 1 1/16 miles on turf. With 10 entries in the mix, there are 30,240 possible Super High 5 outcomes.
The morning line favorite is #9 Rita Marga (5-2), who finished third in a 7 1/2-furlong race over this course and class level on Feb. 18. That effort marked Rita Marga’s first start in something other than a maiden special weight, and she carved out the pace for 6 1/2 furlongs before weakening late to finish 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner.
Here’s the problem: Rita Marga has lost ground from the eighth pole to the finish line in six of her seven starts. Tackling 1 1/16 miles may stretch the stamina of this four-year-old filly and prevent her from visiting the winner’s circle, though a top-five finish is certainly within reach.
#10 Ramadhaan (3-1) also has speed and ran third in a one-mile contest over this course and class level on March 3. But like Rita Marga, Ramadhaan tends to lose ground down the homestretch, and her 12-0-0-5 lifetime resume suggests she’s more likely to snatch a minor award than vie for victory.
So who should we play on top? Let’s think outside the box with longshot #5 Martini’s Amica (15-1). She started in the $20,000 maiden claimer on Feb. 18 and ran deceptively well. She hit the gate at the break, got shuffled back between rivals early on, and lacked racing room around the final turn. But once Martini’s Amica found an opening inside of rivals, she gained a lot of ground late to finish fourth, only 1 1/2 lengths behind Rita Marga.
With a clean trip in her second start at the $20,000 maiden claiming level, Martini’s Amica can spring a surprise. We’ll key her on top of our tickets while counting on Rita Marga and Ramadhaan to finish in the top five.
- $1 Super High 5: 5 with 9,10 with 9,10 with 2,3,6,7 with 2,3,6,7 ($24)
- $1 Super High 5: 5 with 9,10 with 2,3 with 9,10 with 2,3,6,7 ($12)
- $1 Super High 5: 5 with 9,10 with 2,3 with 2,3,6,7 with 9,10 ($12)