Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Nov. 7

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November 7th, 2022

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, Nov. 7 at Mahoning Valley and Turf Paradise, including horses to single in the $2,225 Pick 5 carryover at Zia Park.

Picks and Plays

Mahoning Valley: Race 4: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 2:09 p.m. ET)

#6 Maize Loved Laffy (8-1) showed pace-tracking speed when finishing second against males in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Mountaineer less than two weeks ago. That effort came two weeks after Maize Loved Laffy’s debut at Mountaineer, where she finished fourth in a maiden special weight for fillies.

Maize Loved Laffy improved off her debut, and returning to the filly ranks can send her to the winner’s circle at Mahoning Valley. At 8-1, she’s worth betting to win and playing over coupled entrymates #1 Jump Into Sanity (5-2) and #1A Gracie Dance (5-2) in the exacta.

  • $25 to win on #6 Maize Loved Laffy
  • $5 Exacta: 6 with 1
    Total: $30

Mahoning Valley: Race 5: Allowance (six furlongs, 2:37 p.m. ET)

Trainer Gary Johnson has been hot to start the Mahoning Valley meet, going 8-for-27 (30%). We’ll bet on Johnson to keep his momentum going with #5 Giv’em the Biz (10-1) in this allowance sprint for horses bred in Ohio.

Giv’em the Biz was much the best in a race over this distance and approximate class level at Thistledown last month. After tracking a quick early pace from second place, Giv’em the Biz took over to beat a next-out winner by 2 1/2 lengths, earning a career-best 81 Brisnet Speed rating.

Giv’em the Biz will be ridden on Monday by Mauro Cedillo, a 24% winner at Mahoning Valley who has won at a 30% rate teaming up with Johnson over the last two months. Let’s count on Giv’em the Biz to spring a double-digit upset, betting the gelding to win and keying him over #1 Empire’s Fire (2-1) and #3 Mutiny (7-2) in the exacta.

  • $16 to win on #5 Giv’em the Biz
  • $7 Exacta: 5 with 1,3 ($14)
    Total: $30

Turf Paradise: Race 1: $30,000 Maiden Optional Claiming (five furlongs, 2:40 p.m. ET)

#7 Reign of Speed (8-5) has hit the board in four of his five starts on the Southern California circuit, most recently coming home third in a $50,000 maiden claimer for California-breds sprinting six furlongs at Santa Anita. The quality of that effort was indicated when the runner-up returned to win his next start.

Reign of Speed has posted four Brisnet Speed ratings in the 69-80 range, whereas none of his Monday rivals have posted a number higher than 60. Shipping to Turf Paradise (and racing on Lasix for the first time) can send Reign of Speed to the winner’s circle over #3 Big Jack (5-1) and #4 Consuming (8-1).

  • $10 Exacta: 7 with 3,4 ($20)
  • $5 Trifecta: 7 with 3,4 with 3,4 ($10)
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Zia Park, Race 5: $2,225 Pick 5 carryover (3:48 p.m. ET)

If you would like to start the post-Breeders’ Cup racing week by chasing a non-jackpot carryover, let us point you toward Zia Park. The New Mexico racetrack has a $2,225 carryover up for grabs in the 50-cent Pick 5.

Looking for horses to build tickets around? We’ve gone through the entries and identified a pair of potential singles:

Race 5: $10,000 Maiden Claiming (five furlongs): #1 I Am the Juan (4-5)

I Am the Juan might be a 0-for-10 maiden, but his first nine starts came against maiden special weight company. When he dropped down into an $8,000 maiden claimer sprinting five furlongs at Zia last month, I Am the Juan rallied boldly to finish second by a nose, earning a career-best 69 Brisnet Speed rating.

That effort came against non-state-restricted company, so tackling a $10,000 maiden claimer restricted to horses bred in New Mexico should suit I Am the Juan just fine. Jockey Joree Scriver and trainer Nancy Summers have been hot over the last two months, teaming up to win at a 22% rate, stamping I Am the Juan as a logical single.

Race 7: $10,000 Maiden Claiming (five furlongs): #4 He’s No Yoke (1-1)

New Mexico-bred maidens aged three, four, and five will sprint five furlongs in this $10,000 maiden claimer. Seven horses will face the starter, and the three-year-old gelding He’s No Yoke looks like a standout favorite.

He’s No Yoke ran strongly in a maiden special weight for New Mexico-breds at Albuquerque two months ago. Making his debut, the son of Marking hopped at the start and trailed the field early on before rallying to finish third, beaten two lengths with a promising 71 Brisnet Speed rating.

None of He’s No Yoke’s Monday rivals have posted a Brisnet Speed rating higher than 67, so he’s already the fastest horse in the field. Throw in the fact trainer Joel Marr wins at a solid 20% rate with second-time starters, and He’s No Yoke looks ready to romp as a short-priced single while dropping down in class.

Good luck!