Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of the day for Feb. 22
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his weekday picks and plays for Monday, Feb. 22 at Mahoning Valley and Turf Paradise, including trios of exacta and trifecta tickets.
Mahoning Valley: Race 2: Allowance (One mile, 1:12 p.m. ET)
#4 Most Sandisfactory (7-2) disappointed over this track, distance, and class level on Feb. 6, pressing the pace before weakening to finish a distant sixth. But the capable four-year-old had previously cracked the trifecta in five straight starts, posting sharp Brisnet Speed ratings in the 82-89 range.
Most Sandisfactory was particularly impressive in a one-mile maiden special weight at Mahoning two starts back, romping by 24 1/4 lengths. If he bounces back to this level of form, he can vie for victory against #6 Grandgran (2-1) and #3 Rakeez (3-1), who finished second and third in the Feb. 6 allowance race.
Let’s take a chance betting Most Sandisfactory on top in the exact and trifecta.
- $5 Exacta: 4 with 3,6 ($10)
- $5 Trifecta: 4 with 3,6 with 3,6 ($10)
- Total: $20
Turf Paradise: Race 1: $5,000 Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 2:55 p.m. ET)
High-percentage trainer Robertino Diodoro has been hot at Turf Paradise this meet, going 6-for-21 (29%) with 62% of his starters finishing in the money. This bodes well for the chances of #4 Cool Edge (5-2) in the Monday opener.
Cool Edge disappointed when fading to finish seventh in an $8,000-$6,250 waiver claiming race at Turf Paradise two weeks ago. But the speedy son of Hopeful (G1) winner Competitive Edge had previously rattled off back-to-back wins against $3,500 and $3,000 claiming company at Turf Paradise, posting competitive Brisnet Speed ratings in the 80-82 range.
Dropping down for a $5,000 tag should suit Cool Edge just fine. Front-runners win 41% of 5 1/2-furlong sprints at Turf Paradise, so Cool Edge’s tactical speed is an asset. With hot jockey Scott Stevens in the saddle, Cool Edge can beat #1 Proof It (2-1) and #3 Fair Challenge (4-1) in the race to the finish line.
- $5 Exacta: 4 with 1,3 ($10)
- $5 Trifecta: 4 with 1,3 with 1,3 ($10)
- Total: $20
Turf Paradise: Race 2: $30,000 Maiden Optional Claiming (Six furlongs, 3:22 p.m. ET)
#2 Gold Arrow (5-2) is the morning line favorite while shipping in from California, but the delicate six-year-old has only run six times and hasn’t faced the starter since June 21. She looks vulnerable off the layoff, especially when you consider how the last two Brisnet Speed ratings she earned on dirt (68 and 60) aren’t standout figures in Monday’s field.
Indeed, #5 Thatgirl’sonfire (5-1) threw down a 72 when finishing third over this track, distance, and class level on Jan. 28. After dueling for the lead through quick fractions of :22.05 and :44.91, Thatgirl’sonfire weakened only slightly to finish two lengths behind the winner. Runner-up Domestication came right back to crush a $20,000 maiden claiming race by 7 1/4 lengths.
There isn’t a crazy amount of speed in Monday’s field, so Thatgirl’sonfire figures to receive a favorable trip under ultra-hot jockey Luis Negron. Let’s bet her to win, then play her over #1 Dancinstardustlady (6-1) and #6 M Fast (7-2) in the exotics.
- $15 to win on #5 Thatgirl’sonfire
- $5 Exacta: 5 with 1,6 ($10)
- $2.50 Trifecta: 5 with 1,6 with 1,6 ($5)
- Total: $30