Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of the day for March 23

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March 23rd, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his weekday picks and plays for Tuesday, March 23 at Mahoning Valley and Will Rogers Downs, including a pair of $10 win bets capitalizing on the TwinSpires Winter Midweek Bet Back promotion.

Mahoning Valley: Race 4: Allowance (one mile, 2:08 p.m. ET)

There isn’t much speed in this one-mile heat, which should give #5 Ragtime Dolly (7-2) a significant tactical advantage. After running well without winning in her first three starts sprinting, the daughter of Union Rags relished the chance to stretch out over one mile at Mahoning Valley, wiring a maiden special weight by 5 1/2 lengths.

This effort earned Ragtime Dolly an 80 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest last-out figure in Tuesday’s field. Trained by Larry Smith (a 24% winner this meet), Ragtime Dolly figures to enjoy a cozy trip setting or stalking a modest pace, opening the door for another big effort.

#1 Itzafriendshipshot (3-1), #4 Lucky to Have Me (8-1), and #7 Morning Light (8-5) can battle for the exotics.

  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 1,4,7 ($15)
  • $2.50 Trifecta: 5 with 1,4,7 with 1,4,7 ($15)
  • Total: $30

Will Rogers Downs: Race 6: $7,500 Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 4:20 p.m. ET)

#6 Rebel Rumble (4-1) has misfired in his last two starts against $10,000 and $15,000 claiming company, but the four-year-old gelding should relish facing easier competition on Tuesday. Not only is he dropping down to the $7,500 level, he’s squaring off against a field of fellow Oklahoma-breds after facing open company in his last two runs.

The last time Rebel Rumble competed under Tuesday’s conditions, he finished second by less than a length sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Remington Park. Rebel Rumble’s Brisnet Speed ratings are competitive, and he has enough tactical speed to secure a favorable trip. For good measure, Rebel Rumble has already run twice this year, whereas many of his rivals are returning from layoffs.

A $10 win bet will be our first order of business, but we’ll also play Rebel Rumble on top of #3 Crossing Dixie (3-1) and #8 Kipper (5-2) in the exacta and trifecta.

  • $10 to win on #6 Rebel Rumble
  • $5 Exacta: 6 with 3,8 ($10)
  • $2.50 Trifecta: 6 with 3,8 with 3,8 ($5)
  • Total: $25

Will Rogers Downs: Race 9: $7,500 Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 5:44 p.m. ET)

#7 Catch This Star (3-1) looks like an easy choice in this low-level claiming dash. The three-year-old gelding has shown steady improvement while descending the class ladder and enters off a gate-to-wire win in an open $10,000 maiden claiming sprint at Delta Downs.

The 70 Brisnet Speed rating Catch This Star received is the highest last-out figure in Tuesday’s field, and he should be able to repeat (or even improve on) that figure while squaring off against Oklahoma-breds. Throw in the fact trainer Tim Dixon wins at a 24% rate with last-out maiden winners, and Catch This Star appears thoroughly deserving of our $10 win bet.

We’ll also place an exacta wager playing Catch This Star over #1 Dens D Oro (6-1) and #2 Okie Native (7-2).

  • $10 to win on #7 Catch This Star
  • $5 Exacta: 7 with 1,2 ($10)
  • Total: $20

Good luck!