Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Nov. 14

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November 14th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, Nov. 14 at Mahoning Valley and Horseshoe Indianapolis, along with horses to single in the $13,261 Late Pick 5 carryover at Laurel Park.

Picks and Plays

Mahoning Valley: Race 1: $4,000 Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 12:45 p.m. ET)

#1 Immaculate Heart (5-1) misfired when chasing a hot pace in a $7,500 claimer sprinting six furlongs at Thistledown last month. But two starts back, she set a more relaxed pace and finished second over the same track, distance, and class level.

Dropping down in class and distance for a $4,000 claimer at Mahoning Valley should help Immaculate Heart produce a winning effort under jockey Fernando Salazar Becerra, who has gone 3-for-8 (38%) teaming up with trainer Jose Atala over the last two months.

We’ll use Presque Isle Downs raider #4 Brooklyns Surprise (5-2) for second place in a small exacta.

  • $20 to win on #1 Immaculate Heart
  • $5 Exacta: 1 with 4
    Total: $25

Mahoning Valley: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 2:07 p.m. ET)

Morning line favorite #2 Watchoutforweaver (9-5) has done his best work running long on Tapeta. In contrast, he missed the board in his lone start sprinting on dirt, which happened to come over Monday’s class level at Thistledown.

We’ll try to beat Watchoutforweaver with #6 John Philip (5-1). The Jason DaCosta trainee never factored when trailing throughout in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Mahoning Valley last month, but that race took place against non-state-restricted company, and John Philip is dropping into the Ohio-bred ranks for Monday’s race. Throw in the fact DaCosta wins at a 25% rate with second-time starters, and John Philip is eligible to move forward at a nice price.

A win bet on John Philip will be our first order of business, followed by a small exacta using Watchoutforweaver for second place.

  • $15 to win on #6 John Philip
  • $5 Exacta: 6 with 2
    Total: $20

Horseshoe Indianapolis: Race 5: Allowance (one mile, 4:34 p.m. ET)

After finishing fifth in his sprint debut behind future Keeneland allowance winner Giant Mischief, #8 Tiz a Beast (3-1) relished stretching out over one mile at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Overlooked at odds of 29-1 in a maiden special weight, Tiz a Beast vied for the early lead before drawing off to dominate by four lengths, earning a sharp 75 Brisnet Speed rating.

A similar effort while stepping up into the allowance ranks can carry Tiz a Beast to victory over Kentucky shippers #2 Airtime (4-1) and #4 California Twirl (6-1) plus the Brad Cox trainee #6 Angel of Empire (5-2). Exacta and trifecta tickets are the way we’ll play.

  • $10 Exacta: 8 with 2,6 ($20)
  • $2.50 Trifecta: 8 with 2,6 with 2,4,6 ($10)
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Laurel Park, Race 4: $13,261 Pick 5 carryover (1:40 p.m. ET)

The new racing weeks kicks off with a bang at Laurel Park, where the 50-cent Late Pick 5 features an enticing $13,261 non-jackpot carryover.

Planning to play along? We’ve analyzed the entries and identified a pair of possible singles to build tickets around:

Race 5: $44,000 Maiden Claiming (six furlongs): #4 Thunder Boss (9-5)

Morning line favorite Thunder Boss seems like a good fit for this field of fillies and mares. On Oct. 6, in her first start off a one-year layoff, Thunder Boss carved out the pace in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint over this track and class level before weakening to finish second by two lengths.

Even in defeat, Thunder Boss earned a 73 Brisnet Speed rating, stamping her as the second-fastest runner in Monday’s field. The only filly who has run faster in the past is #3 Ladro Di Fichi (2-1), who finished 1 3/4 lengths behind Thunder Boss when third on Oct. 6.

If Thunder Boss improves at all in her second start off the layoff, she can post a gate-to-wire victory for the hot jockey/trainer duo of Sheldon Russell and Brittany Russell, who have teamed up to win at a 21% rate over the last two months.

Race 8: $10,000 Claiming (seven furlongs): #2 Sommer Velvet (7-5)

Sommer Velvet faltered when facing stakes competition in the Maryland Million Distaff Starter H. at Laurel last month, finishing seventh in a field of 14 after chasing a hot early pace. But Sommer Velvet had previously used her speed to wire a $10,000 claimer at Timonium and to snatch a Charles Town allowance with pace-pressing tactics.

Sommer Velvet has competed well against $10,000 claiming competition at Laurel in the past, placing second on July 16 and second again on Feb. 24. Her Brisnet Speed ratings are a good fit for Monday’s field, and she isn’t facing an abundance of pace rivals, so Sommer Velvet should have every chance to get out in front and lead all the way as a Pick 5 single. Keep in mind, trainer Anthony Farrior wins at a 27% rate in claiming races.

Good luck!