Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of the day for Feb. 2
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his weekday picks and plays for Tuesday, Feb. 2, at Mahoning Valley and Turf Paradise, including a trio of plays capitalizing on the TwinSpires Winter Midweek Bet Back promotion.
Mahoning Valley: Race 7: $4,000 Claiming (Six furlongs, 3:33 p.m. ET)
#4 Jagger Baby (4-1) brings competitive Brisnet Speed ratings to the fold for trainer Eddie Clouston and jockey Luis Rivera, who have teamed up to strike at a 38% rate over the last two months.
Jagger Baby ran particularly well over this track and distance on Dec. 6, dueling for the lead before settling for second place by just half a length. The fact Jagger Baby defeated her pace rival and only succumbed to a late runner is a testament to how well she performed.
If Jagger Baby enjoys a more relaxed trip on Tuesday, she can take a step forward and vie for victory. Last time out, her hand was forced by drawing the rail, but this time around she’ll broke from post 4 and may wind up tracking #6 Jilly From Jersey (2-1) and #7 Springdetti (8-1). This sounds like a recipe for success.
Acknowledging that Jagger Baby does tend to finish second more often than first, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Jagger Baby and get our money back (through the Winter Midweek Bet Back offer) if she settles for second. Then we’ll play her over Jilly From Jersey in a cold exacta.
- $10 to win on #4 Jagger Baby
- $10 Exacta: 4 with 6
- Total: $20
Turf Paradise: Race 5: $6,250 Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 4:22 p.m. ET)
#2 Rocky Boy Indian (4-1) looks formidable while dropping in class for hot trainer Robertino Diodoro, who has gone 5-for-13 (38%) at Turf Paradise this winter. The son of Graeme Hall won a $10,000/$8,500 claiming race at Turf Paradise last winter and recently returned from a long layoff to finish third for an $8,000 tag over this track.
Diodoro strikes at a 25% rate with horses running for the second time off layoffs, so don’t be surprised if Rocky Boy Indian takes a step forward off his 2021 debut. With jockey Heribert Martinez (a 20% winner at Turf Paradise) in the saddle, Rocky Boy Indian can spring a mild surprise.
We’ll kick off our wagering strategy by placing a $10 win bet on Rocky Boy Indian, capitalizing on the Winter Midweek Bet Back offer. We’ll also box him in the exacta with #3 Creative Art (3-1), who brings a staggering 97-21-22-15 lifetime record to the table. True, he’s 11 years old, but Creative Art remains in hot form, hitting the board in 12 of his last 13 starts.
- $10 to win on #2 Rocky Boy Indian
- $5 Exacta box: 2,3 ($10)
- Total: $20
Turf Paradise: Race 6: $3,500 Claiming (One mile, 4:50 p.m. ET)
Assuming Rocky Boy Indian prevails in the fifth race, Robertino Diodoro will have a chance to score a double with #10 Mo Gee (5-1). The son of Uncle Mo appears poised to outrun expectations at a solid price.
Mo Gee has spent the majority of his career competing over turf and synthetic courses, primarily against much tougher company than he’ll face on Tuesday. But on Jan. 13, the seven-year-old gelding switched to dirt for a $3,500 claiming sprint at Turf Paradise. After vying for the early lead, Mo Gee weakened in the final furlong to finish fourth.
This wasn’t a bad effort, considering Mo Gee is accustomed to running a mile or farther. Stretching back out in distance can make Mo Gee dangerous in his second start of the season, especially while sticking to the $3,500 class level. For good measure, hot jockey Joree Schriver (a 23% winner this meet) has been assigned the mount.
We’ll continue to ride the Winter Midweek Bet Back bandwagon with a $10 win bet on Mo Gee. But we’ll also key him in the exacta with logical favorites #2 Brickbat (8-5) and #4 Go Now Go (7-2).
- $10 to win on #10 Mo Gee
- $4 Exacta: 10 with 2,4 ($8)
- $6 Exacta: 2,4 with 10 ($12)
- Total: $30