Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Feb. 6

February 6th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, Feb. 6 at Turf Paradise and Mahoning Valley, including midrange longshots to support in Turf Paradise’s $5,562 Pick 5 carryover.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Monday Harness Exacta Win Bonus: Receive a 50% bonus (up to $50 per day) on winning exacta bets at selected harness tracks. Offer applies to your first straight exacta bet in a race featuring seven or more starters.

Picks and Plays

Mahoning Valley: Race 1: Allowance (one mile, 12:45 p.m. ET)

#4 Somuchsugar (2-1) is the morning line favorite after winning two straight allowances at Mahoning Valley, but those were six-furlong sprints restricted to horses bred in Ohio. Stepping up to one mile for a non-state-restricted allowance figures to be a tougher task.

We’ll try to beat Somuchsugar with #1 Polished Gem (7-2). Two starts back, Polished Gem finished second over this track, distance, and class level, earning a 75 Brisnet Speed rating. She subsequently posted a 78 when finishing second by a neck in a six-furlong dash over this track and class level. Stretching back out over one mile can send this speedy mare to the winner’s circle.

#5 Starship Macys (3-1) can battle with Somuchsugar to complete the exacta and trifecta.


  • #1 Polished Gem (7-2)
  • #4 Somuchsugar (2-1)
  • #5 Starship Macys (3-1)


  • $10 Exacta: 1 with 4,5 ($20)
  • $5 Trifecta: 1 with 4,5 with 4,5 ($10)
    Total: $30

Mahoning Valley: Race 3: Maiden Special Weight (six furlongs, 1:41 p.m. ET)

Coupled entrymates #1A Roaring Ginger (1-1) and #1 Weekending (1-1) ran second and third over this track, distance, and class level on Dec. 27. Roaring Ginger earned a 60 Brisnet Speed rating while finishing four lengths clear of Weekending, who posted a 54.

None of the other experienced runners in Monday’s field has earned a Brisnet Speed rating higher than 43, so it seems logical to conclude either Roaring Ginger or Weekending will visit the winner’s circle.

For the minor awards, we’ll use the first-time starters #5 Creme de Mais (5-1) and #4 Punchcorn (6-1).


  • #1A Roaring Ginger (1-1)
  • #1 Weekending (1-1)
  • #5 Creme de Mais (5-1)


  • $15 Exacta: 1 with 5
  • $5 Trifecta: 1 with 5 with 4
    Total: $20

Turf Paradise: Race 4: $10,000-$8,500 Claiming (one mile on turf, 3:55 p.m. ET)

None of the seven horses in this field has won on turf, so we’ll throw our support behind #3 Mr Love Muffin (3-1) and #4 Solander (7-2), who have at least shown respectable form over the Turf Paradise lawn.

Mr Love Muffin has started twice on turf, finishing seventh and fourth in a pair of $20,000-$15,000 claimers. Solander has competed three times over this course, distance, and class level, finishing third, fifth, and fourth.

Let’s box Mr Love Muffin and Solander in the exacta.


  • #3 Mr Love Muffin (3-1)
  • #4 Solander (7-2)
  • #1 Corn Pop (9-2)


  • $10 Exacta box: 3,4 ($20)

Carryover Watch

Turf Paradise, Race 4: $5,562 Pick 5 carryover (3:55 p.m. ET)

Turf Paradise is starting the new racing week with a bang. There’s a $5,562 non-jackpot carryover up for grabs in the 50-cent Pick 5.

We’ve analyzed the entries and identified a pair of midrange longshots worth supporting. If both prevail, we’ll be well on our way to cashing a nice Pick 5 payoff.

Race 5: $4,500 Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs): #6 Bandon Bridge (5-1)

Seven fillies and mares who have yet to win three races are slated to square off in this 5 1/2-furlong dirt sprint. Which one do you suppose owns the highest recent Brisnet Speed rating? That would be #6 Bandon Bridge (5-1), who threw down a 79 two starts back when dominating a $4,500 claimer for non-winners of two races at Turf Paradise.

Bandon Bridge employed pace-tracking tactics to dominate that 6 1/2-furlong contest by five lengths. She subsequently faltered when tackling a $10,000-$8,500 claimer for non-winners of three races, finishing seventh, but we’ll forgive this defeat since Bandon Bridge was squaring off against tougher competition.

Returning to the $4,500 level should suit Bandon Bridge just fine, and it’s encouraging to note hot jockey Daniel Vergara (a 21% winner at Turf Paradise) is staying aboard. Bandon Bridge breezed a sharp half-mile at Turf Paradise on Jan. 28 and will add value to the Pick 5 if she delivers as a 5-1 midrange longshot.

Race 7: $30,000 Maiden Optional Claiming (six furlongs): #9 Trumped (6-1)

Hot trainer Vann Belvoir is saddling a couple of promising contenders in this six-furlong dirt dash. #8 Twice Fooled (4-1), runner-up twice over this track and class level, is the shorter price while adding blinkers. But stablemate #9 Trumped (6-1) might be the more likely winner.

No horse in Monday’s field has run faster than Trumped, who posted an 86 Brisnet Speed rating when debuting in a $30,000 maiden optional claimer at Emerald Downs last summer. Despite breaking slowly and running into traffic trouble, Trumped rallied to finish second by 2 1/2 lengths against Brady Boy, who came right back to win an allowance.

Trumped has cranked out several fast workouts at Turf Paradise in preparation for his return, including a bullet half-mile in :46 1/5 last Wednesday. Throw in jockey Luis Contreras (who has ridden two winners and one runner-up from three mounts at Turf Paradise this meet), and Trumped looks ready to outrun his 6-1 morning line odds.

Good luck!