Wednesday’s Best Bets and Quick Picks: Tampa’s $11,195 Super High 5 carryover

April 3rd, 2024

Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares best bets and quick picks for Wednesday, April 3 at Mahoning Valley and Turf Paradise, along with tickets for the $11,195 Super High 5 carryover at Tampa Bay Downs.

Today’s special offers from TwinSpires include:

  • Hong Kong 15% Win Bonus: Receive a 15% bonus (up to $25 per day) on your winning single-horse win wagers at Happy Valley (HK) and Sha Tin (HK) every race day from March 24-April 28.

Best Bets and Quick Picks

Mahoning Valley: Race 1: $5,000 Claiming (one mile, 12:55 p.m. ET)

Just eight days ago, #3 Charger (3-1) employed pace-tracking tactics to finish second in a six-furlong $5,000 claimer at Mahoning. That sprint sharpener came only eight days after Charger finished third (beaten 1 1/2 lengths) in a one-mile $5,000 claimer at Mahoning.

Charger appears to be thriving on his busy schedule, and getting a solid sprint run under his belt may help his chances while stretching back out over one mile for hot trainer Jay Bernardini, who has gone 15-for-37 (41%) at Mahoning since March 1. We’ll bet Charger to win and play him over #6 Barrelhouse (2-1) in a small exacta.


  • #3 Charger (3-1)
  • #6 Barrelhouse (2-1)
  • #5 Grand Gizmo (7-2)


  • $20 to win on #3 Charger
  • $5 Exacta: 3 with 6
    Total: $25

Mahoning Valley: Race 6: $7,500 Claiming (one mile, 3:14 p.m. ET)

#4 Luvisanaki (5-1) led all the way to win a five-furlong $15,000 maiden claimer at Mahoning last month for trainer Jay Bernardini. She’s frequently shown early speed in sprints and may shake loose on an uncontested lead while stretching out over one mile; as a daughter of 1 1/4-mile Pacific Classic (G1) winner Collected out of a mare by Malibu Moon, the longer distance should be within her wheelhouse.

At 5-1, Luvisanaki is worth betting to win.


  • #4 Luvisanaki (5-1)
  • #2 Cheru (6-5)
  • #6 Back Up Ghost (5-2)


  • $25 to win on #4 Luvisanaki

Turf Paradise: Race 9: $20,000-$15,000 Allowance Optional Claiming (about one mile on turf, 8:10 p.m. ET)

#8 Fireman Dan (5-1) doesn’t run on turf very often, but in April 2023 he closed a lot of ground after a slow start to finish fourth by three lengths in a $32,000 claimer over the Santa Anita lawn. He recently ended a long layoff with a fifth-place finish in a $16,000 claimer sprinting six furlongs on dirt at Santa Anita and should appreciate returning to grass at Turf Paradise, where the competition is easier.

Throw in the fact Fireman Dan will be guided by red-hot jockey Armando Ayuso (a 31% winner at Turf Paradise this meet), and a large win bet is warranted.


  • #8 Fireman Dan (5-1)
  • #6 I Am Freaky Fast (10-1)
  • #9 Luka Grazie (3-1)


  • $30 to win on #8 Fireman Dan

Carryover Watch

Tampa Bay Downs: Race 1: $11,195 Super High 5 carryover (12:20 p.m. ET)

The Wednesday card at Tampa Bay Downs is kicking off on a high note with an $11,195 Super High 5 carryover on the table in Race 1, a $25,000 maiden claimer for older horses racing 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Let’s take a horse-by-horse look at the field and assemble a Super High 5 ticket for $72:

#1 Extra Money (12-1): Finished seventh in each of his first two starts against maiden special weight competition, but carved out a quick early pace when returning from a long layoff on March 20 at Tampa. Dropping in class for his second run of the season may trigger improvement.

#2 Nanga Parbat (8-1): Recent starts on dirt and Tapeta have been unremarkable, but last summer Nanga Parbat finished fourth by 1 1/4 lengths in a $20,000 maiden claimer over the Laurel Park turf course. This son of renowned grass sire Kitten’s Joy may rebound while returning to turf.

#3 Mintenon (8-5): The morning line favorite has finished third in his last two starts over this course, distance, and class level, but he has a tendency to settle for minor awards and is 0-for-14 lifetime. A top-five finish is surely within reach, but victory isn’t a given.

#4 Two Minutes Apart (9-5): Finished ahead of Mintenon in a couple of $16,000 maiden claimers at Tampa during December, but faded to finish sixth (2 1/2 lengths behind Mintenon) over this course, distance, and class level on Feb. 2. With his 0-for-10 record, Two Minutes Apart is another runner best used for the minor awards.

#5 Black Echo (30-1): Has been defeated by wide margins in all three of his starts against $16,000 and $10,000 maiden claiming competition. Unless switching from dirt to turf triggers a form turnaround, Black Echo looks unlikely to factor.

#6 Theregoesmymiracle (5-1): Placed third in a couple of $25,000-$20,000 maiden claimers racing one mile at Tampa, then faltered to finish eighth (behind Mintenon and Two Minutes Apart) on Feb. 2. Theregoesmymiracle is a logical contender for the minor awards, but his 0-for-29 lifetime record suggests he’s unlikely to win.

#7 Noble Hero (15-1): Has finished far back in all five of his starts against $16,000 maiden claiming competition at Tampa, including three on turf. Noble Hero will need a turnaround to finish in the top five.

#8 Napoleon’s War (15-1): Exits a seventh-place finish in a $25,000 maiden claimer on dirt at Tampa, but as a son of War Front he has the potential to shine while switching to turf. Napoleon’s War has some tactical speed and is eligible to outrun his odds.

We’re going to bank on Extra Money, Nanga Parbat, or Napoleon’s War improving enough to snatch first prize, with either Mintenon or Two Minutes Apart finishing second while the other nabs a spot in the top four.

  • $1 Super High 5: 1,2,8 with 3,4 with 3,4 with 1,2,6,8 with 1,2,6,8 ($36)
  • $1 Super High 5: 1,2,8 with 3,4 with 1,2,6,8 with 3,4 with 1,2,6,8 ($36)
    Total: $72

Good luck!