Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of the day for Nov. 16
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $75 worth of picks and plays for Tuesday, Nov. 16 at Mahoning Valley, Parx Racing, and Remington Park, along with suggested singles for a $3,042 Pick 5 carryover at Zia Park.
Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:
- Midweek Bet Back: Receive refunds on win bets (up to $10) if your horse finishes second in select races at Parx Racing.
Picks and Plays
Mahoning Valley: Race 1: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 12:45 p.m. ET)
Among the experienced runners in this maiden sprint for juveniles, #1A Powerful Phil (5-2) is a standout. He beat all the others decisively when finishing second over this track and class level on Oct. 30, an occasion when Powerful Phil dueled for command through quick fractions before staying on down the homestretch to finish six lengths behind an impressive winner.
This effort produced a solid 69 Brisnet Speed rating, and if Powerful Phil repeats the performance on Tuesday, he can deliver a short-priced victory.
The first-time starters #5 Catman Jack (8-1) and #8 Ol’ Ned (10-1) can battle for a spot in the exacta.
$20 to win on #1A Powerful Phil
$5 Exacta: 1 with 5,8 ($10)
Parx Racing: Race 7: $40,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (one mile, 2:52 p.m. ET)
In terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, #2 Morning Matcha (2-1) is easily the fastest entrant in this two-turn route for juvenile fillies. Conditioned by hot trainer Robert Reid (a 27% winner this meet), Morning Matcha hasn’t missed the trifecta in five starts, including a runner-up effort in the Finest City S. over the Tapeta track at Presque Isle Downs.
Morning Matcha enters off a runaway maiden win sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Parx, where she dominated by 3 1/2 lengths with an 88 Brisnet Speed rating. Her lack of tactical speed is a potential pitfall while stretching out over one mile, where the pace figures to be slower. But Morning Matcha’s dam placed in a stakes running 1 1/16 miles, and it’s possible Morning Matcha’s Brisnet Speed rating advantage (none of her rivals have cracked the 80 plateau) will be sufficient to win the day.
Taking advantage of the Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Morning Matcha. #1 Landslid (9-2) or #8 Princess Sophie (7-2) can round out the exacta.
$10 to win on #2 Morning Matcha
$5 Exacta: 2 with 1,8 ($10)
Remington Park: Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (5 1/2 furlongs, 4:25 p.m. ET)
#11 Charming Oakie (5-2) might be a maiden, but he’s certainly held his own against quality competition. Never out of the trifecta in three starts, Charming Oakie’s last two defeats have come at the hands of two-time stakes winner Rowdy Rascal. In fact, Charming Oakie failed by just a head to hold off Rowdy Rascal in the Oklahoma Classics Juvenile sprinting six furlongs at Remington last month.
Dropping down in class and distance should make Charming Oakie very tough to beat on Tuesday, even while starting from an outside post. #8 J. Cat West (9-2) appears to have the best chance at completing the exacta.
$20 to win on #11 Charming Oakie
$5 Exacta: 11 with 8
Zia Park, Race 6: $3,042 Pick 5 carryover (4:15 p.m. ET)
Looking for a non-jackpot carryover to play on Tuesday? Then you’re advised to check out the 10-race card on tap at Zia Park, which features a $3,042 carryover in the 50-cent Pick 5.
On paper, the Pick 5 looks challenging, but not impossible to play. The sequence contains 44 entries (8.8 per race) and 49,896 possible outcomes before scratches. If you can find a single or two along the way, the Pick 5 should be winnable on a modest budget.
With this in mind, we’ve identified a pair of possible singles to consider. If you’re willing to back them both, you can reduce the number of potential outcomes from 49,896 down to 891. Now that definitely sounds manageable!
These are the horses we suggest singling in the Pick 5:
Race 6: Allowance: #7 Unique Babe (5-2)
Unique Babe might not be the morning line favorite in this 5 1/2-furlong dirt dash for fillies and mares, but she still has the appearance of a viable single. After employing pace-tracking tactics to break her maiden over five furlongs at Ruidoso, Unique Babe stretched out over six furlongs for a $12,500 allowance optional claimer at Zia, where she set a solid pace before weakening to finish second.
The latter effort produced an 82 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest figure in Tuesday’s field. Unique Babe may appreciate cutting back to 5 1/2 furlongs, and it’s worth noting her key rival—#2 Our Southern Girl (9-5)—has never run on dirt. For all these reasons, we’ll view Unique Babe as a standout in the opening leg of the Pick 5.
Race 9: Allowance: #8 Winnies Own (9-5)
Winnies Own is 2-for-2 since being claimed by trainer Alberto Amparan toward the end of summer, and he was particularly impressive in a $15,000 claimer sprinting six furlongs at Zia last month. After dueling for the lead through intense fractions of :21.94 and :43.83, Winnies Own kicked away to win by 5 3/4 lengths.
Winnies Own stopped the clock in a snappy 1:08.32, in the process earning a career-best 92 Brisnet Speed rating. None of his rivals have ever cracked the 90 plateau, so if Winnies Own repeats this performance on Tuesday—and there’s no reason to think he won’t—he can deliver as a short-priced single in the Pick 5.