Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of the day for Jan. 11
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his weekday picks and plays for Monday, Jan. 11 at Delta Downs and Mahoning Valley, including a cold exacta in the $75,000 Louisiana Legacy S.
Delta Downs: Race 2: Louisiana Legacy S. (7 1/2 furlongs, 2:22 p.m. ET)
#6 Chu Chu’s Legacy (7-5) is already a two-time stakes winner against Louisiana-breds, using his speed to post daylight victories in the D. S. Shine Young Futurity and Louisiana Cup Juvenile S. These efforts produced solid Brisnet Speed ratings of 85 and 83, among the highest in the Louisiana Legacy field.
Chu Chu’s Legacy was subsequently beaten to fifth place in the Dec. 12 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile S. at Fair Grounds, but we’ll draw a line through this effort since he was facing a couple of tough out-of-state shippers and got burned up setting fast fractions of :21.92 and :45.70 over a muddy track.
Monday’s field looks like an easier spot, so we’ll anticipate a rebound for Chu Chu’s Legacy and bet him in a cold exacta over Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile S. runner-up #5 Standing Perfect (5-2).
$25 exacta: 6 with 5
Delta Downs: Race 4: $5,000 Claiming (5 furlongs, 3:16 p.m. ET)
#1 Bigjim’s Silvergal (5-1) has never faced winners, but the 4-year-old daughter of Lewis Michael certainly ran well in a $10,000 maiden claiming race on Nov. 24 at Delta Downs. After pressing the early pace, Bigjim’s Silvergal seized command and powered clear to win the 5-furlong sprint by 4 3/4 lengths.
This eye-catching effort produced a 73 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest dirt figure posted by any horse in Monday’s field. Jockey Jansen Melancon and trainer Kearney Segura have gone 2-for-3 (67%) together over the last 60 days, so Bigjim's Silvergal definitely warrants respect from a connections perspective.
Since two of the most formidable entrants are on the also-eligible list—namely, #11 Viking Voyage (9-2) and #12 Guilty Confession (3-1)—Bigjim’s Silvergal appears well spotted to vie for victory. We’ll bet her to win and play her in the exacta with the also-eligibles if they draw in.
$20 to win on #1 Bigjim’s Silvergal
$5 exacta: 1 with 11,12 ($10)
Mahoning Valley: Race 1: Allowance (6 furlongs, 12:45 p.m. ET)
Like most of the 3-year-olds entered in this allowance sprint for Ohio-breds, #5 Henry Mac (2-1) broke his maiden against fellow state-breds. The difference is, Henry Mac absolutely trounced his opposition, dominating by 6 1/2 lengths with a sharp 86 Brisnet Speed rating. And he came right back to prove his worth against tougher company, finishing second with an 88 Brisnet Speed rating in an open allowance race.
Both of these efforts came at Mahoning Valley, so it’s safe to say Henry Mac has shown an affinity for the local surface. Even better, he towers over his rivals from a Brisnet Speed rating standpoint—to date, none of them have posted a figure higher than 79.
In short, Henry Mac is an easy choice to prevail while returning to state-bred company on Monday. We’ll key him on top of a trifecta using #4 Hakman (5-1), #6 Sweet Lemon Drop (3-1), and #7 Run Bubba Run (4-1) underneath.
$7.50 trifecta: 5 with 4 with 6,7 ($15)
$7.50 trifecta: 5 with 6,7 with 4 ($15)