Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Feb. 2

February 2nd, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Thursday, Feb. 2 at Fair Grounds and Turfway Park, including horses to single (or not) in the $4,958 Pick 6 carryover at Fair Grounds.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Turfway Park $2,500 Thursday Leaderboard Contest: Place $10+ win wagers at Turfway Park on Thursdays from Jan. 5 through March 30 to earn points and play for your share of a $2,500 weekly jackpot.

Picks and Plays

Fair Grounds: Race 7: Maiden Special Weight (about one mile on turf, 5:15 p.m. ET)

Although this race is slated to take place on turf, only two of the eight entrants in the main body of the field have experience on turf. And of the two, only one has recorded a top-three finish over the surface, that being #5 Mo Saturdays (5-1).

Mo Saturdays debuted in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on grass at Saratoga last summer, rallying gamely after a slow start to finish second with an 87 Brisnet Speed rating that tops Thursday’s field. He hasn’t been as sharp in two subsequent dirt starts, but returning to turf (and adding Lasix) can send Mo Saturdays to the winner’s circle under hot jockey Corey Lanerie.

#2 City of God (8-1), a half-brother to the multiple graded stakes-winning turf sprinter Arrest Me Red, can battle with #1 Sir (6-1) to complete the exacta.


  • #5 Mo Saturdays (5-1)
  • #2 City of God (8-1)
  • #1 Sir (6-1)


  • $20 to win: #5 Mo Saturdays
  • $5 Exacta: 5 with 1, 2 ($10)
    Total: $30

Turfway Park: Race 4: $15,000 Maiden Claiming (6 1/2 furlongs on Tapeta, 7:25 p.m. ET)

#5 San Marco City (8-1) is worth playing at a price in this maiden claiming sprint. He debuted over this track, distance, and class level on Dec. 22 and ran gamely in defeat, rallying to lead in midstretch before settling for third place by 1 1/2 lengths.

San Marco City subsequently finished midpack in a $30,000 maiden claimer racing one mile at Turfway, but dropping back down in class and distance can trigger a rebound. The addition of blinkers further opens for the door for improvement.

We’ll play San Marco City for first and second place in exacta wagers. #8 In Lieu (4-1) and #10 Blanton (3-1) are the others we’ll use.


  • #5 San Marco City (8-1)
  • #10 Blanton (3-1)
  • #8 In Lieu (4-1)


  • $10 Exacta: 5 with 8, 10 ($20)
  • $10 Exacta: 10 with 5
    Total: $30

Turfway Park: Race 5: $30,000 Maiden Claiming (one mile on Tapeta, 7:55 p.m. ET)

Three contenders have strong exacta chances in this competitive field:

#5 Navy Fleet (9-2) ran second over this track, distance, and class level on Jan. 1, earning a solid 71 Brisnet Speed rating.

#9 Oh Pollyanna (7-2) has run well in a couple of maiden special weights on turf and is eligible to factor while switching surfaces, adding blinkers, and dropping in class.

#12 Gray Frost (9-2) ran sixth in a maiden special weight over this track and distance last month and may improve while dropping in class and adding Lasix.

We’ll play these three in exacta tickets and call it a day.


  • #5 Navy Fleet (9-2)
  • #9 Oh Pollyanna (7-2)
  • #12 Gray Frost (9-2)


  • $8 Exacta: 5 with 9, 12 ($16)
  • $7 Exacta: 9, 12 with 5 ($14)
    Total: $30

Carryover Watch

Fair Grounds, Race 3: $4,958 Pick 6 carryover (3:15 p.m. ET)

The racing week at Fair Grounds gets underway on Thursday with a $4,958 carryover available to chase in the $1 Pick 6.

Planning to build a ticket, but not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered with a logical favorite worth singling and a vulnerable favorite who shouldn’t be trusted too heavily:

Best single: Race 5: #2 Swot Analysis (6-5)

This six-furlong allowance for Louisiana-breds looks ripe for conquest by Swot Analysis. After spending much of 2022 competing over the Tapeta track at Woodbine, Swot Analysis kicked off 2023 with a sharp performance on dirt at Fair Grounds, finishing second by a neck in the Gary P. Palmisano Memorial S.

Swot Analysis has a lot of early speed, and his last eight starts over dirt and synthetic tracks have produced sharp Brisnet Speed ratings in the 81-96 range. He threw down a 92 in the Palmisano Memorial and has cracked the exacta in five of his six tries over the Fair Grounds dirt, so any way you slice it Swot Analysis looms as a logical Pick 6 single. It helps that he has hot jockey Reylu Gutierrez (a 22% winner at Fair Grounds this meet) and hot trainer Mark Casse (a 29% winner this meet) in his corner.

Vulnerable favorite: Race 3: #1 Allnight Moonlight (9-5)

There are plenty of reasons to like Allnight Moonlight in this maiden special weight for Louisiana-bred three-year-olds. He’s finished second twice over this track and class level, earning flashy Brisnet Speed ratings of 79 and 85. Considering none of his Thursday rivals have earned a Brisnet Speed rating higher than 74, Allnight Moonlight is easily the fastest horse in the field.

But those races were six-furlong sprints, and Allnight Moonlight faltered when stretching out over one mile in his most recent start, tiring to finish sixth. It’s possible Allnight Moonlight is more effective as a sprinter than a router, in which case it’s hard to trust him as a Pick 6 single. #3 Anders Smile (7-2) and #4 Suit of Wands (2-1) are logical alternatives.

Good luck!