Keeler Johnson’s picks and plays of the day for March 29

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March 29th, 2021

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his picks and plays for Monday, March 29, at Mahoning Valley and Turf Paradise, including trios of win bets and exacta plays.

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

#2 Grand Deal (7-2) is the fastest of the experienced runners in this one-mile maiden special weight, and he looms as a logical contender after finishing third in three straight races over this class level and distance. But the three-year-old gelding is 0-for-12 lifetime, and his late-running style suggests he’s more of a “pick up the pieces” type than a reliable win contender.

I’m more intrigued by #1 Kulp (9-2), a sprinter with just four starts under his belt. A well-bred son of Munnings out of a graded stakes-placed Tapit mare, Kulp didn’t run badly in his Mahoning debut three weeks ago, rallying strongly to finish third by 1 3/4 lengths in a six-furlong maiden special weight.

Kulp may show improved tactical speed while stretching out over one mile, which would be beneficial since Monday’s field contains very little speed on paper. At 9-2, Kulp strikes me as a live contender at a fair price.

  • $20 to win on #1 Kulp
  • $5 Exacta: 1 with 2
    Total: $25

Bet Mahoning Valley LIVE Racing Here

Mahoning Valley: Race 7: Allowance (six furlongs, 3:33 p.m. ET)

#8 Cacki (6-1) fired off a career-best effort in her first start for high-percentage trainer James McDonald last month. Showcasing improved tactical speed in a six-furlong allowance sprint at Mahoning, Cacki led all the way to trounce her rivals by 8 1/2 lengths.

This effort produced a solid 81 Brisnet Speed rating, and I’m optimistic Cacki can keep her momentum going on Monday. McDonald has gone 5-for-16 (31%) this meet and strikes at a 37% rate with last-out winners, so there’s no reason to think Cacki will regress in her second start under McDonald’s care. Furthermore, she figures to enjoy a perfect trip pressing the stakes-placed #2 Penny Shots (5-2), who is cutting back in distance for her first run since last August.

We’ll bet Cacki to win and play her over Penny Shots and #4 Fricka (3-1) in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #8 Cacki
  • $5 Exacta: 8 with 2,4 ($10)
    Total: $30

Bet Mahoning Valley LIVE Racing Here

Turf Paradise: Race 9: $7,500 Maiden Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 7:40 p.m. ET)

#6 Bingos System (3-1) is easily the fastest entrant in terms of Brisnet Speed ratings. The daughter of Curlin to Mischief has posted five figures in the 60-73 range, while her 10 rivals have combined to exceed the 60 plateau only once.

Formerly based in Southern California, Bingos System enters off a decent fifth-place effort in a $20,000 maiden claiming sprint at Santa Anita. She looks tough to beat in her first start for hot trainer Justin Evans, a 32% winner at this meet and a 37% winner when dropping horses down two or more class levels. For good measure, leading jockey Luis Negron (a 28% winner at Turf Paradise) is named to ride.

We’ll bet Bingos System to win and play her over the improving #3 Ez Queen (4-1) and the first-time starter #4 Our Time to Shine (8-1) in the exacta.

  • $20 to win on #6 Bingos System
  • $5 Exacta: 6 with 3,4 ($10)
    Total: $30

Bet Turf Paradise LIVE Racing Here

Good luck!