Keeler Johnson's picks and plays Jan. 30

January 30th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares $75 worth of picks and plays for Monday, Jan. 30 at Turf Paradise and Mahoning Valley, including a 6-1 midrange longshot.

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

Turf Paradise: Race 1: $8,500 Claiming (six furlongs, 2:25 p.m. ET)

#4 Betty’s Bar (2-1) performed well against allowance competition at Canterbury Park last summer, placing third a couple of times while earning sharp Brisnet Speed ratings of 71 and 76.

Betty’s Bar has been freshened since misfiring on Sept. 8. Now she’s returning to Turf Paradise, where she trounced a $30,000 maiden optional claimer last fall with a 77 Brisnet Speed rating. Trainer Esteban Martinez has been hot at Turf Paradise, winning at a 23% rate, so let’s key Betty’s Bar over logical favorite #1 Wait a Sec (8-5) in the exacta and trifecta. We’ll also single her to start a double wager.


  • #4 Betty’s Bar (2-1)
  • #1 Wait a Sec (8-5)
  • #2 Truly a Mess (3-1)


  • $15 Exacta: 4 with 1
  • $5 Trifecta: 4 with 1 with 2,5 ($10)
  • $5 Double: 4 with 4
    Total: $30

Turf Paradise: Race 2: $5,000 Claiming (5 1/2 furlongs, 2:55 p.m. ET)

Pacesetters have been dominant sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs over the Turf Paradise dirt, winning at a 55% rate this meet. They were especially sharp during the week on Jan. 22-28, going 5-for-6 (83%).

We’ll see if #4 Bengal Tiger (7-2) can lead all the way in this 5 1/2-furlong dash. She’s set the pace or dueled for the lead in each of her last seven starts, most recently finishing a gallant fifth in a $20,000-$12,500 claimer over this track and distance. Dropping down in class can trigger a winning run for the hot jockey/trainer duo of Leslie Mawing and Jeffrey Metz, who have gone 2-for-4 (50%) together over the last two months.

#3 Shoe Game (3-1) and #5 Coastal Run (4-1) are logical choices to complete the exacta.


  • #4 Bengal Tiger (7-2)
  • #5 Coastal Run (4-1)
  • #3 Shoe Game (3-1)


  • $12 to win on #4 Bengal Tiger
  • $4 Exacta: 4 with 3,5 ($8)
    Total: $20

Mahoning Valley: Race 8: $8,000 Starter Allowance (one mile, 4:01 p.m. ET)

#6 My Redemption (6-1) has been in strong form since switching from synthetic to dirt. His debut over the surface produced a runner-up finish in a $6,250 claimer at Fort Erie, after which My Redemption won four straight races over distances from 6 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles at Mountaineer and Hawthorne.

My Redemption’s Brisnet Speed ratings look a little light against Monday’s field, but the four-year-old gelding overcame a slow pace to win a $10,000 starter optional claimer at Hawthorne last month and has upside to run faster with a better setup. At 6-1, I’m willing to bet My Redemption can deliver a winning run at Mahoning Valley, where his off-the-pace running style is a good fit for the Brisnet track bias profile.

We’ll bet My Redemption to win and key him over #9 Thru the Vine (3-1) in the exacta.


  • #6 My Redemption (6-1)
  • #9 Thru the Vine (3-1)
  • #5 Come See About It (5-1)


  • $20 to win on #6 My Redemption
  • $5 Exacta: 6 with 9
    Total: $25

Good luck!