Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of the day for Mar. 1
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his weekday picks and plays for Monday, Mar. 1 at Mahoning Valley and Turf Paradise, led by a bevy of exacta and trifecta tickets.
Mahoning Valley: Race 1: Allowance (One mile, 12:45 p.m. ET)
Speed performed very well at Mahoning Valley on Saturday—out of eight races, pacesetters won four while pressers and stalkers won two apiece. If the same trend holds true on Monday, then #3 Lucky Double D’s (5-2) can win the opener.
Conditioned by hot trainer Larry Smith (18-for-66, 27% so far this meet), Lucky Double D’s hasn’t shown positional speed in her last two starts against allowance sprint company. But three starts back, she nabbed a six-furlong maiden special weight after dueling for the early lead.
Lucky Double D’s brings competitive Brisnet Speed ratings to the equation, and stretching out over one mile should see her secure a forward position. There’s hardly any pace in Monday’s field, so let’s bet Lucky Double D’s to win and play her over #2 Milwaukee Cat (7-2) and #5 I’m Da Boss (6-1) in the exotics.
$15 to win on #3 Lucky Double D’s
$5 Exacta: 3 with 2,5 ($10)
$2.50 Trifecta: 3 with 2,5 with 2,5 ($5)
Turf Paradise: Race 1: $7,500 Maiden Claiming (One mile, 2:55 p.m. ET)
#3 Autism Siblings (5-2) ran a big race over this track, distance, and class level on Feb. 4, surging from off the pace to finish second by less than a length. A competitive 66 Brisnet Speed rating was the result, so Autism Siblings is an obvious choice to prevail in her third local start for the ultra-hot jockey/trainer duo of Luis Negron and Jonathan Wong (7 for 13, 54% over the last two months).
Autism Siblings’ fiercest competition could come from #5 Who’s Laughin Now (3-1), who posted back-to-back 68 Brisnet Speed ratings in a pair of sprints over this class level at Turf Paradise. But the son of Laugh Track is bred for speed and has never run farther than six furlongs, so even though he looms as the lone speed in this field, stretching out over one mile is a question mark.
If Who’s Laughin Now falters over this longer trip, the class-dropping #4 Bad News (4-1) is the other logical candidate to round out the exotics.
$15 to win on #3 Autism Siblings
$5 Exacta: 3 with 4,5 ($10)
$2.50 Trifecta: 3 with 4,5 with 4,5 ($5)
Turf Paradise: Race 3: Allowance (One mile, 3:50 p.m. ET)
The pure front-runners #2 Mr Navigator (6-1) and #5 Eddy Forever (5-1) should ensure a contested pace in this one-mile heat, setting the stage for victory by #7 Dopo Lavoro (6-1).
A pace-tracking son of Harlan’s Holiday, Dopo Lavoro hails from the barn of hot trainer Justin Evans, who has compiled an excellent 37-for-109 (35) resume at Turf Paradise this meet. Dopo Lavoro has already fired off a couple of sharp efforts over this track and distance, finishing first and third against $20,000/$15,000 allowance optional claiming company.
Hot jockey Luis Negron retains the mount, so let’s key Dopo Lavoro in the exacta with logical favorite #3 Clavichord (5-2) and the capable sprinter #6 Big League Bunny (7-2).
$5 Exacta: 7 with 3,6 ($10)
$5 Exacta: 3,6 with 7 ($10)