Monday’s Best Bets and Quick Picks: 7-2 shot in the Blue Ribbon

March 17th, 2024

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares best bets and quick picks for Monday, March 18 at Mahoning Valley, Will Rogers Downs, and Turf Paradise, including a 7-2 shot in the Blue Ribbon S.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Woodbine Mohawk 15% Trifecta Boost: Receive a 15% bonus (up to $25 per day) on winning trifecta wagers at Woodbine Mohawk during the month of March.

Best Bets and Quick Picks

Mahoning Valley: Race 4: Allowance (six furlongs, 2:18 p.m. ET)

#1 Gunner Gabriel (6-5) has compiled a 4-2-1-1 record over this track and distance. He was particularly sharp in the OTBO Sales Graduate Race S. on March 4, dueling for the lead before taking over to dominate by 6 1/4 lengths.

That runaway victory yielded an 86 Brisnet Speed rating that towers over Monday’s allowance field. None of Gunner Gabriel’s rivals have posted a Brisnet Speed rating higher than 77, a number Gunner Gabriel has matched or exceeded in each of his last three starts.

Let’s bet Gunner Gabriel on top of a cold exacta using #3 Who Da Boss (4-1) for second place. The latter has been freshened since winning a six-furlong allowance at Mahoning last year, and the time off shouldn’t be a concern since trainer Robert Gorham wins at a 31% rate with horses returning from layoffs of 90 days or more.


  • #1 Gunner Gabriel (6-5)
  • #3 Who Da Boss (4-1)
  • #4 Leroyisalagniappe (5-2)


  • $20 Exacta: 1 with 3

Will Rogers Downs: Race 7: Blue Ribbon S. (six furlongs, 4:57 p.m. ET)

#5 Kiss and Tell (7-2) showed promise racing against Oklahoma-breds at Remington Park last fall. She was much the best when debuting in a six-furlong maiden special weight, sweeping from a few lengths off the pace to win by 3 1/4 lengths, and she followed up with a pace-tracking third-place finish in the Oklahoma Classics Lassie S.

Kiss and Tell is sticking to the Oklahoma-bred ranks for the Blue Ribbon. She enters off a promising series of workouts at Will Rogers Downs, including a bullet three furlongs in :35 2/5, and should be ready to fire a competitive shot in her 2024 debut.

Let’s place a win bet on Kiss and Tell.


  • #5 Kiss and Tell (7-2)
  • #7 Lady Zephyr (3-1)
  • #2 Red Rose Cafe (12-1)


  • $20 to win on #5 Kiss and Tell

Turf Paradise: Race 5: ATBA Three Year Old Sales Final S. (six furlongs, 5:53 p.m. ET)

#1 Track Robber (8-1) has a chance to surprise on debut. The son of Cat Burglar has put together a sharp work tab at Turf Paradise capped off by a pair of half-mile workouts (one from the starting gate) in :47 4/5.

Trainer Esteban Martinez has been hot at Turf Paradise this meet, going 5-for-20 (25%), and Martinez’s record saddling first-time starters at Turf Paradise since 2019 stands at a respectable 12-2-4-0 (17% wins, 50% in-the-money). At 8-1, Track Robber is worth betting to win and playing in the exacta with #10 Surroundedbyangels (3-1), who is dropping in class out of the Sunland Park Derby (G3) on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.


  • #1 Track Robber (8-1)
  • #10 Surroundedbyangels (3-1)
  • #5 U Can Do U (4-1)


  • $14 to win on #1 Track Robber
  • $12 Exacta: 10 with 1
  • $4 Exacta: 1 with 10
    Total: $30

Good luck!