Keeler Johnson's picks and plays March 31

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

March 31st, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $80 worth of picks and plays for Thursday, March 31 at Gulfstream Park and Turfway Park, including a trio of exactas.

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 Turfway Park.
  • Thursday Pick 5 Winsurance: Play the early Pick 5 at Woodbine Mohawk and receive a Winsurance refund of 25% (up to $25 total) if your ticket fails to win. Offer applies to your first Pick 5 wager that meets or exceeds $24 in cost.
  • 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 Oaklawn Park. 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 Chelmsford (UK).
  • Scandinavian Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in any race at Gavle (SWE), Aby (SWE), or Orebro (SWE).

Picks and Plays

Gulfstream Park: Race 3: $16,000 Starter Optional Claiming (seven furlongs, 2:05 p.m. ET)

#6 Pretty Rachel (3-1) has been virtually unstoppable at Gulfstream Park over the last 10 months. The daughter of Dominus has won nine of her last 10 starts, the majority by daylight margins and in gate-to-wire fashion.

Pretty Rachel has been facing easier company than she’ll encounter on Thursday, but her impressive 8 1/4-length romp in an $8,000 claimer sprinting seven furlongs last month suggests she’s capable of stepping up against tougher foes. We’ll count on Pretty Rachel’s consistently flashy form to win the day, with #1 Dem a Wonder (5-2) and #4 Race Day Speed (7-2) hunting for a spot in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #6 Pretty Rachel
  • $5 Exacta: 6 with 1,4 ($10)
    Total: $30

Turfway Park: Race 6: $15,000 Claiming (one mile on Tapeta, 8:46 p.m. ET)

There isn’t much speed in this $15,000 claimer for fillies and mares who have never won three races, which should suit #1 Blarney Girl (3-1) just fine. The daughter of Exaggerator led essentially all the way to win a $15,000 claimer for non-winners of two races over this track and distance on Feb. 24, scoring by 2 1/4 lengths with a solid 77 Brisnet Speed rating.

Blarney Girl subsequently faded in a one-mile allowance over the dirt track at Mahoning Valley, but returning to the Turfway Tapeta can trigger a rebound. If Blarney Girl shakes loose on an easy lead, she can spring a gate-to-wire win over logical morning line favorite #2 Miss Adeline (5-2).

Taking advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Blarney Girl. Then we’ll play her on top in the exacta.

  • $10 to win on #1 Blarney Girl
  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 2
    Total: $20

Turfway Park: Race 9: $15,000 Maiden Claiming (six furlongs on Tapeta, 10:14 p.m. ET)

#5 First Royal (9-5) ran second over this track and class level on Jan. 7, beaten only half a length after dueling for command from start to finish. The chestnut filly subsequently ran well against $30,000 maiden claiming company at Turfway, finishing third and fourth in a pair of sprints.

With Brisnet Speed ratings of 72, 72, and 68 under her belt, First Royal is plenty fast enough to vie for victory while dropping back down to the $15,000 maiden claiming level. The fact jockey Rogelio Miranda and trainer Douglas Danner have won at a 30% rate together over the last two months adds to the appeal.

In addition to a win bet on First Royal, we’ll bet her over #6 My Tommy Lee (3-1) in a cold exacta. The latter filly hasn’t missed the trifecta in three starts at Turfway, including a pair of $15,000 maiden claimers sprinting six furlongs.

  • $20 to win on #5 First Royal
  • $10 Exacta: 5 with 6
    Total: $30

Good luck!