Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his weekday picks and plays for Wednesday, Jan. 13 at Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs, and Turf Paradise, including a trio of exacta bets.
Gulfstream Park: Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (7 1/2 furlongs on turf, 3:40 p.m. ET)
#2 Spill the Tea (4-1) showed promise in her debut dashing 5 furlongs over the Gulfstream Park turf course last month. After rating off the pace in seventh place, Spill the Tea unleashed a game rally on the far outside to reach contention in the homestretch. Despite have to check and shift wider when a rival ducked outward, Spill the Tea kept coming to finish third, beaten two lengths for victory. She was later upgraded to second place via disqualification of the runner-up.
A daughter of Ironicus out of a More Than Ready mare, Spill the Tea has the pedigree to handle 7 1/2 furlongs just fine. It’s possible she’ll show more speed while stretching out in distance, particularly if she gets off to a clean start. At 4-1, she’s worth betting to win and playing in the exacta with #1 Broken Table (2-1) and #4 Gabby Squared (5-2).
- $20 to win on #2 Spill the Tea
- $5 exacta: 2 with 1,4 ($10)
Tampa Bay Downs: Race 6: $10,000 Maiden Claiming (7 furlongs, 3:20 p.m. ET)
#11 Secret Magician (5-1) has spent much of his career running long on turf, but he took a big step forward in his first dirt sprint at Tampa Bay Downs last month. Disregarded at 13-1 in a 6 1/2-furlong, $10,000 maiden claiming race, Secret Magician tracked the pace and seized a daylight lead in the homestretch before settling for second place by a neck.
This effort produced a 77 Brisnet Speed rating, higher than par for Wednesday’s class level and distance. Outside posts tend to fare well in sprints at Tampa Bay Downs, so drawing post 11 shouldn’t be a big concern. If Secret Magician times his rally a bit better while stretching out over 7 furlongs, he can continue his forward momentum and secure his first career victory.
Let’s take advantage of the Winter Midweek Bet Back promotion from TwinSpires and bet $10 to win on Secret Magician. Then we’ll play him on top of an exacta using #1 Himelstein (4-1) and #9 Imperial Palace (6-1) underneath.
- $10 to win on #11 Secret Magician
- $5 exacta: 11 with 1,9 ($10)
Turf Paradise: Race 6: $3,500 Claiming (6 1/2 furlongs, 5:05 p.m. ET)
#6 Shinny (4-1) used to be a capable low-level sprinter in California, winning a maiden special weight at Golden Gate Fields and finishing second in a $12,500 claiming race at Los Alamitos. But the son of Square Eddie has been even more effective facing $7,500 company at Zia Park, finishing second in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint before stretching out to nab a 1-mile and 70-yard event on Nov. 4.
Wednesday’s 6 1/2-furlong trip should suit Shinny just fine, and dropping down to the $3,500 level will make him dangerous for the ultra-hot jockey/trainer duo of Luis Negron and Justin Evans. They’ve gone 10-for-27 (37%) together over the last two months, and Evans boasts a 50% strike rate with horses dropping down in class off a victory.
In short, Shinny looks like a great play at 4-1. Taking advantage of the Winter Midweek Bet Back offer, we’ll place a $10 win bet on Shinny. We’ll also complete our trio of exacta plays by betting Shinny over #2 Mo Gee (9-5) and #7 Bea’s Boy (6-1).
- $10 to win on #6 Shinny
- $5 exacta: 6 with 2,7 ($10)