Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of the day for Feb. 10
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his weekday picks and plays for Wednesday, Feb. 10 at Delta Downs and Sam Houston, including the Premier Sprint S. and Premier Matron S.
Delta Downs Race 6:
LA Bred Premier Sprint S. (Five furlongs, 4:22 p.m. ET)
#8 No Parole (3-5) is the obvious choice at a short price. Winner of the Woody Stephens (G1) at Belmont Park last summer, No Parole possesses an abundance of front-running speed and dominated the 2020 LA Bred Premier Prince S. at Delta Downs by 6 1/2 lengths. If No Parole brings anywhere near his best for hot trainer Tom Amoss (a 31% winner at Delta Downs this meet), the rest are running for second place.
But No Parole hasn’t run since October and disappointing in his last two starts, weakening to finish ninth in the H. Allen Jerkens (G1) and sixth in the Phoenix (G2). There’s a lot of speed in the Premier Sprint field, so just in case No Parole falters off the layoff, why not take a shot with #7 Double Barrel Man (8-1)?
Double Barrel Man boasts a 10-3-3-1 record at Delta Downs and was in sharp form here last winter, rallying to victory in the Premier Sprint with a sharp 94 Brisnet Speed rating. Trained at the time by Karl Broberg, Double Barrel Man has been claimed several times in recent months, but has made his way back to Broberg’s barn for a defense of his Premier Sprint title. Broberg has been hot at Delta, striking at a 32% rate, and runaway leading jockey Timothy Thornton picks up the mount.
It’s very possible Double Barrel Man will run well, but settle for second behind No Parole. If he does, that’s okay—thanks to the TwinSpires Winter Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll get our win bet back (up to $10) if Double Barrel Man finishes second. That’s a pretty good offer considering we’ll enjoy an 8-1 win payoff if Double Barrel Man beats No Parole to the finish line.
- $10 to win on #7 Double Barrel Man
Delta Downs Race 8:
$17,500 LA Bred Premier Matron S. (Five furlongs, 5:24 p.m. ET)
Fast dirt, wet dirt, firm turf, yielding turf—it doesn’t matter to #5 Mr. Al’s Gal (7-5), who is equally talented across all surfaces and conditions. The seven-year-old mare has been incredibly productive through a long career, earning $706,130 courtesy of a 35-15-7-4 resume.
Mr. Al’s Gal has been particularly effective at Delta Downs, compiled an 8-5-1-2 record with three stakes wins to her credit. And she’s shown no signs of slowing down over the last year, cracking the exacta in six of her last seven runs. Fresh off an allowance victory sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs over the Fair Grounds turf course, Mr. Al’s Gal is a logical choice to win the Premier Matron while picking up the services of Timothy Thornton.
Taking advantage of the Winter Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Mr. Al’s Gal. Then we’ll play her over #2 Our Lost Love (7-2) and #7 Southern Beauty (5-1) in the exacta.
- $10 to win on #5 Mr. Al’s Gal
- $5 Trifecta: 5 with 2,7 with 2,7 ($10)
- Total: $20
Sam Houston Race 3:
Maiden Special Weight (Seven furlongs, 6:11 p.m. ET)
#6 Feel the Berning (9-2) faced tough company on the Southern California circuit last season. In his two dirt starts, the son of Bernardini finished behind such noted runners as Del Mar Futurity (G1) winner Dr. Schivel and Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) hero Spielberg.
Squaring off against significantly easier competition at Sam Houston might be all Feel the Berning needs to reach the winner’s circle in his first start for high-percentage trainer Todd Fincher, a 5-for-16 (31%) conditioner at Sam Houston this meet. Feel the Berning will also race on Lasix for the first time, setting the stage for an improved performance.
At 9-2, let’s bet Feel the Berning to win and key him on top in the trifecta.
- $18 to win on #6 Feel the Berning
- $2 Trifecta: 6 with 1,2,5 with 1,2,5 ($12)
- Total: $30