Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Feb. 7

February 7th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Tuesday, Feb. 7 at Turf Paradise, along with horses to single in Pick 5 carryovers at Mahoning Valley and Sunland Park.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Trifecta Tuesday: Receive a 15% bonus on trifecta winnings excluding stake amount; up to $25 per day.

Picks and Plays

Turf Paradise: Race 2: $15,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (six furlongs, 2:55 p.m. ET)

Former Southern California competitor #5 Wild Arch (5-2) has run well in two starts since arriving at Turf Paradise. First she finished third in a $12,500 allowance optional claimer, earning a 74 Brisnet Speed rating. Then she improved to run second in a $35,000 allowance optional claimer, beaten only half a length with an 84 Brisnet Speed rating.

Wild Charm looks ready to vie for victory while dropping in class for her third start under the care of high-percentage trainer Jose Silva Jr.

#6 Chesterette (2-1), unraced since finishing second in the Arizona Oaks last March, has been training strongly for her comeback and looms as a logical choice to edge #2 In the Vault (5-1) for third place. We’ll bet exacta and trifecta tickets, designing the latter play to capitalize on the Trifecta Tuesday promotion.


  • #5 Wild Arch (5-2)
  • #6 Chesterette (2-1)
  • #2 In the Vault (5-1)


  • $20 Exacta: 5 with 6
  • $5 Trifecta: 5 with 6 with 2
    Total: $25

Turf Paradise: Race 4: $20,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (six furlongs, 3:55 p.m. ET)

In her first start since being claimed by high-percentage trainer Robertino Diodoro, #6 Discernment (2-1) fired off a huge performance in a $12,500 allowance optional claimer dashing 5 1/2 furlongs at Turf Paradise, pressing the pace before powering clear to dominate by 9 1/4 lengths.

This effort produced a career-best 89 Brisnet Speed rating, stamping Discernment as a logical choice to take down #5 Spun Line (12-1), #1 Ms Parkside (3-1), and #2 Go Go Sadie (7-2) in Tuesday’s contest. We’ll play exacta and trifecta tickets, continuing our pursuit of the Trifecta Tuesday promotion.


  • #6 Discernment (2-1)
  • #5 Spun Line (12-1)
  • #1 Ms Parkside (3-1)


  • $15 Exacta: 6 with 5
  • $5 Trifecta: 6 with 5 with 1,2 ($10)
  • Total: $25

Turf Paradise: Race 7: $40,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (one mile, 5:25 p.m. ET)

#4 Myopic (7-2) has won his last two dirt starts in gate-to-wire fashion. On Sept. 13, he won the Gold Cup S. at Assiniboia Downs with an 85 Brisnet Speed rating. Then—following a couple of defeats on turf—Myopic returned to dirt for a $25,000 allowance optional claimer on Jan. 23 at Turf Paradise, in which he edged clear late to prevail with a career-best 91 Brisnet Speed rating.

Myopic’s strong recent form establishes the five-year-old gelding as a logical win threat on Tuesday. We’ll count on him to run down the speedy Richard Hazelton S. winner #7 The Black Strat (4-1) and hold off two-time stakes winner #8 Race Home (5-1) to prevail on Tuesday.


  • #4 Myopic (7-2)
  • #7 The Black Strat (4-1)
  • #8 Race Home (5-1)


  • $10 Exacta: 4 with 7,8 ($20)

Carryover Watch

Mahoning Valley, Race 1: $13,173 Pick 5 carryover (12:45 p.m. ET)

Tuesday racing kicks off with a bang at Mahoning Valley. The 50-cent Pick 5 features a $13,173 carryover.

A tough sequence is on tap, but perhaps we can catch a single right off the top with #7 Bugle of War (3-1) in Race 1, a $6,500 claimer taking place over one mile on dirt. Bugle of War has been facing much tougher competition then he’ll encounter on Tuesday; three starts back he ran second in a $16,000 starter optional claimer traveling 1 1/16 miles at Penn National.

Bugle of War hasn’t run since May, but red-hot trainer Norman Cash has gone 10-for-23 (43%) at Mahoning this meet, and jockey Yan Aviles has gone 5-for-13 (38%) teaming up with Cash over the last two months. If Bugle of War brings his A-game off the layoff, the class drop should be sufficient to send him to the winner’s circle.

Sunland Park, Race 5: $188 Pick 5 carryover (4:09 p.m. ET)

No one managed to pick all five winners in Sunday’s 50-cent Pick 5 sequence at Sunland Park. In fact, no one managed to select four winners; three out of five was all that was necessary to catch a $13.40 consolation payoff. That means there’s a $188 Pick 5 carryover on the table for Tuesday’s card at Sunland.

If you want to win a share of the carryover, brace yourself for a challenging sequence. The Pick 5 contains 44 horses (averaging 8.8 per race) before scratches, which equates to 51,840 possible outcomes. And every race contains a minimum of eight horses, so there aren’t any obvious places to search for singles.

That said, if you’re willing to play a bit boldly, Race 9 looks like a viable spot to take a stand with a single. The closing leg of the Pick 5 is an $8,000 claimer taking place over 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt, and among the 10 entries morning line favorite #5 Boom Boom Daddy (7-2) appears to rank a cut above.

Boom Boom Daddy has been running respectably against competition similar to what he’ll face on Tuesday. His first three starts against $8,000 maiden claiming company at Zia Park saw him finish third, fifth, and fifth. Then Boom Boom Daddy shipped to Sunland Park and ran third in a $6,500 maiden claimer, earning a career-best 57 Brisnet Speed rating.

Boom Boom Daddy faces a formidable rival in the form of #1 Somethin’ Fancy (4-1), whose first two starts have produced fifth-place finishes in a Zia Park maiden special weight and a Sunland Park $12,500 maiden claimer. But Boom Boom Daddy has strong human connections in his corner; jockey Luis Fuentes has gone 16-for-54 (30%) at Sunland this meet, while trainer Casey Lambert wins at an 18% rate in maiden claimers.

Basically, there are two key contenders in Race 9, and we give the edge to Boom Boom Daddy. If you’re willing to single the three-year-old gelding, you’ll reduce the number of Pick 5 outcomes to consider from 51,840 to 5,184, and that alone might make the strategy worthwhile. Certainly it will cut down on the cost of playing the Pick 5.

Good luck!