Keeler Johnson's picks and plays of the day for Nov. 8

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November 8th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, Nov. 8 at Mahoning Valley and Indiana Grand, including a ticket for Mahoning’s $2,069 Pick 5 carryover.

Picks and Plays

Indiana Grand: Race 1: $25,000 claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 2:25 p.m. ET)

There’s a fair amount of speed in this field, which is notable since pacesetters win just 29% of 5 1/2-furlong dirt dashes at Indiana Grand. If the speed horses tire each other out on Monday, #2 Sag Harbor (3-1) can take advantage.

Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen (a 23% winner at Indiana Grand this meet), Sag Harbor has finished first and second in two starts against $25,000 claiming company over this track. He was especially sharp in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint on Oct. 19, rallying boldly from behind a solid pace to win by two lengths.

#1 Baytown Bear (6-1), #3 Smokin Richie (9-5), and #6 Benny (2-1) can battle for spots in the trifecta. But our primary play will be a win bet on Sag Harbor.

$18 to win on #2 Sag Harbor
$2 Trifecta: 2 with 1,3,6 with 1,3,6 ($12)
Total: $30

Indiana Grand: Race 6: Maiden Special Weight (one mile and 70 yards, 4:29 p.m. ET)

This maiden heat for fillies and mares didn’t draw the toughest field, leaving #8 Lil Kings Princess (4-5) as a heavy favorite. The daughter of Street Boss employed pacesetting tactics to finish fourth in a maiden route at Indiana Grand last month, earning a 77 Brisnet Speed rating equal to the par winning figure for Monday’s conditions.

If Lils Kings Princess repeats this effort, she’ll be tough to catch under leading jockey Marcelino Pedroza. For second place, we’ll try the longshot #2 Bayou Wind (15-1), who has shown some speed sprinting. Her pedigree offers some potential for stretching out in distance, and it’s possible she can chase Lil Kings Princess through modest fractions before hanging on for a respectable finish at enticing odds.

$20 to win on #6 Ain’t Straight
$10 Exacta: 6 with 5
Total: $30

Indiana Grand: Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (one mile, 5:31 p.m. ET)

#3 Just Phil (3-1) has already shown strong form over this track, distance, and class level. On Aug. 31, he employed pace-tracking tactics to run third with a 54 Brisnet Speed rating. Three weeks later, he improved with a pacesetting trip to finish second, beaten just 2 1/4 lengths with a 62 Brisnet Speed rating.

If you draw a line through Just Phil’s subsequent eighth-place finish in a 5 1/2-furlong dash, his form looks solid. He’s the fastest horse on paper in Monday’s sprint and figures to enjoy a favorable forwardly placed trip, setting the stage for victory.

#6 Bella’s Prayer (2-1) and #4 Captain Harvey (7-2) can battle to complete the exacta and trifecta.

$15 to win on #3 Just Phil
$5 Exacta: 3 with 4,6 ($10)
$2.50 Trifecta: 3 with 4,6 with 4,6 ($5)
Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Mahoning Valley, Race 1: $2,069 Pick 5 carryover (12:45 p.m. ET)

The post-Breeders’ Cup racing week kicks off with a $2,069 carryover in the 50-cent Pick 5 at Mahoning Valley.

The Pick 5 is enticing on multiple fronts. The takeout rate is just 15%, and in the event no one selects a winning ticket, 50% of the daily pool will be paid out as consolation to bettors who select the highest number of winners.

Let’s take a race-by-race look at the Pick 5 sequence, then assemble a ticket on a $36 budget:

Race 1: $4,000 Claiming (one mile)

#5 Nod to Persia (2-1) is a narrow favorite after finishing third by a neck against $4,000 claiming company two starts back, but the class-dropping #2 Star Hawk (6-1) and the consistent turf performer #3 Cappy Hour (5-2) also have the form lines and Brisnet Speed ratings to challenge.

Race 2: $7,500 Claiming (one mile)

Speed has been dominant racing one mile at Mahoning Valley, with pacesetters winning six of the 10 one-mile races held so far this meet. As a result, we’ll use the two logical pacesetters #6 Valeroso (3-1) and #7 Scorsese (7-2), who have posted competitive Brisnet Speed ratings against tougher company on the Ohio circuit.

Race 3: Allowance (one mile)

#7 Not a Wild Brat (8-5) hasn’t missed the trifecta in her first three starts for hot trainer Jeffrey Radosevich, including a couple of allowance sprints. But last time out, she finished behind #9 Songstopshelf (9-5), who has already won over one mile. One or the other should prevail on Monday.

Race 4: $4,000 Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs)

#2 Mac’s Revolution (9-5) brings a sharp series of Brisnet Speed ratings to the mix and should be tough to beat while exiting a series of placed efforts against $5,000 company at Monmouth Park. But he doesn’t have much tactical speed, so for good measure we’ll throw in #3 Empty Talk (3-1), third with a fast Brisnet Speed rating over this track and class level on Oct. 22.

Race 5: $5,000 Claiming (six furlongs)

#2 Changaree (2-1) has finished on the board in eight straight starts, including a $5,000 claimer over this track and distance on Oct. 23. Hot jockey Sonny Leon retains the mount, stamping Changaree as a logical choice. But the speedy #6 Jazz Brunch (6-1) is capable of firing big efforts on his best day, and the coupled entrymates #1 Union Song (3-1) and #1A Black Butte (3-1) can’t be dismissed either.

50-cent Pick 5: 2,3,5 with 6,7 with 7,9 with 2,3 with 1,2,6 ($36)

Good luck!