Keeler Johnson's picks and plays March 27

March 27th, 2023

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares picks and plays for Monday, March 27 at Will Rogers Downs and Santa Anita, including a cold double bet.

Picks and Plays

Will Rogers Downs: Race 8: $7,500 Maiden Claiming (six furlongs, 5:35 p.m. ET)

#7 Passion for Sand (9-2) finished third when debuting in a $10,000 maiden claimer for Oklahoma-breds at Remington Park, a race from which the top two finishers returned to win. Then, following a 3 1/2-month break, Passion for Sand ran third in a non-state-restricted $10,000 maiden claimer at Sam Houston, beaten 3 1/2 lengths with a respectable 65 Brisnet Speed rating.

The par winning Brisnet Speed rating for Monday’s conditions is 62, so dropping down in class might be all Passion for Sand needs to visit the winner’s circle. We’ll bet her to win, play her over #1 Cat Tale Breeze (5-1) and #3 The Vegas Bomb (3-1) in an exacta, and single Passion for Sand to start a double wager.


  • #7 Passion for Sand (9-2)
  • #1 Cat Tale Breeze (5-1)
  • #3 The Vegas Bomb (3-1)


  • $15 to win on #7 Passion for Sand
  • $5 Exacta: 7 with 1,3 ($10)
  • $10 Double: 7 with 5
    Total: $35

Will Rogers Downs: Race 9: Miranda Diane S. (six furlongs, 6:05 p.m. ET)

#5 Ragan’s Jet (8-5) won three straight races (including two stakes) to wrap up 2023. All three of those victories produced identical 89 Brisnet Speed ratings, and Ragan’s Jet capped off her campaign by wiring the six-furlong Oklahoma Classics Distaff Sprint S. at Remington Park.

Pacesetters have won 50% of six-furlong sprints at Will Rogers Downs this meet, so Ragan’s Jet should prove difficult to catch. We’ll single her to conclude our double wager, then key her over recent Will Rogers Downs allowance winner #3 Dicey (9-5) in the exacta.


  • #5 Ragan’s Jet (8-5)
  • #3 Dicey (9-5)
  • #4 Sinnin N Grinnin (6-1)


  • $25 Exacta: 5 with 3

Santa Anita: Race 7: $100,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (seven furlongs, 7:11 p.m. ET)

#2 Coffee in Bed (6-5) impressed when debuting in a six-furlong maiden special weight on Jan. 6 at Santa Anita, rallying sharply from off the pace to win by 1 3/4 lengths.

This victory was significant on a couple of levels. Trainer Richard Mandella has won at a modest 11% rate with first-time starters since 2000, so it’s worth sitting up and taking notice when a Mandella trainee wins on debut. And Coffee in Bed is a daughter of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, so she’s bred to improve with distance and maturity.

Throw in the fact Mandella has won at a 25% rate with last-out maiden winners over the past few years, and Coffee in Bed is an appealing choice to beat the fast-working Del Mar maiden winner #1 Getthemoney (9-5) to Monday’s winner’s circle.


  • #2 Coffee in Bed (6-5)
  • #1 Getthemoney (9-5)
  • #4 Lily Poo (7-2)


  • $25 Exacta: 2 with 1

Good luck!