Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of the day for Mar. 9

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March 9th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his weekday picks and plays for Tuesday, Mar. 9 at Mahoning Valley, including a pair of $10 win bets capitalizing on the TwinSpires Winter Midweek Bet Back promotion.

Mahoning Valley: Race 1: $5,000 Claiming (One mile, 12:45 p.m. ET)

There’s hardly any speed entered in the Tuesday opener, a $5,000 claiming event for non-winners of two races lifetime. Thus, #5 Mighty Fast (7-2) figures to enjoy a significant tactical advantage.

Formerly based on the Florida circuit, Mighty Fast ran well in his first start at Mahoning Valley last month. Carving out the pace in a one-mile, $6,500 claiming race, Mighty Fast led for six furlongs before weakening slightly to finish fourth as the favorite, beaten just six lengths with a competitive 72 Brisnet Speed rating.

Mighty Fast will add blinkers for his second local start, which should further sharper his speed and ensure he receives a favorable front-running trip. Trainer Nestor Rivera wins at a lofty 31% rate with runners beaten as the favorite in their previous start, stamping Mighty Fast as the runner to beat while dropping slightly in class.

Taking advantage of the Winter Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Mighty Fast and get our money back if he finishes second. Then we’ll play him over #2 Slate (10-1) and #6 Mike Is Ready (3-1) in the exacta.

$10 to win on #5 Mighty Fast
$4 Exacta: 5 with 2,6 ($8)
Total: $18

Mahoning Valley: Race 2: $4,000 Claiming (Six furlongs, 1:12 p.m. ET)

#6 Rapid Rouge (7-5) towers over this low-level claimer from a Brisnet Speed rating perspective and was last seen winning a Mahoning Valley allowance race via disqualification. But the 10-year-old veteran hasn’t run in over a year, and there’s no guarantee he’ll produce the same level of form while returning from a long layoff.

Instead, let’s take a shot betting #2 Felon (15-1), who ships in after running well against tougher $8,000 claiming company at Tampa Bay Downs. The son of Gone Astray has plenty of tactical speed and appears capable of outrunning expectations in his debut for trainer Jose Bracho, who wins at a 29% rate with horses competing for the first time under his care.

It’s also encouraging to note Felon will remove blinkers, a winning move 40% of the time for Bracho. At 15-1, Felon is worth betting to win and playing in the exotics over #1 Greg Rules Da (4-1), #3 Grecian Prince (3-1), and #4 Empiremeister (8-1).

$15 to win on #2 Felon
$3 Exacta: 2 with 1,3,4 ($9)
$1 Trifecta: 2 with 1,3,4 with 1,3,4 ($6)
Total: $30

Mahoning Valley: Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (One mile, 1:40 p.m. ET)

#2 Ragtime Dolly (7-2) has shown flashes of significant tactical speed while sprinting. In a six-furlong maiden special weight at Mahoning last month, the daughter of Union Rags tracked fast fractions of :22.75 and :45.74 before battling on to finish third, beaten just 2 3/4 lengths.

As a result, Ragtime Dolly figures to secure a favorable forward position while stretching out over one mile for hot trainer Larry Smith, who wins at a 20% rate with horses transitioning from sprints to routes. Ragtime Dolly’s pedigree holds potential for running longer, and she’s already the field’s fastest filly in terms of Brisnet Speed ratings.

We’ll once again pursue the Winter Midweek Bet Back offer and place a $10 win bet on Ragtime Dolly. Then we’ll play her over #3 Pharaonic Princess (5-2), #6 Quick Talker (3-1), #8 Ready Seeker (6-1), and #10 Blazing Miss Jojo (12-1) in the trifecta.

$10 to win on #2 Ragtime Dolly
$1 Trifecta: 2 with 3,6,8,10 with 3,6,8,10 ($12)
Total: $22

Good luck!