This report’s primary purpose mirrors that of our book The Punter’s Tale: correctly identifying false favorites. Our goal is to bet into races where favorites win only 20% of the time or less.
With that accomplished, we can achieve a long-term positive ROI by betting against them. We suggest betting 2 horses against these false favorites. In each case split your bet so that most of it lands on your lower-odds choice.
Our research from 33 weeks of using this approach shows that our suggested lower-odds horses win more often and produce a higher ROI. Odds between 8-5 and 7-2 is the range in which we recorded the highest ROI. (See the RTSS subscribers-only “Optimizing IVH” article.)
We have two tracks for Saturday, plus a bonus race:
- Gulfstream Park
- Fair Grounds
- Tampa Bay Derby
GULFSTREAM PARK (Saturday, March 12, 2022)
RACE 8. 1 mile and 3/8ths. Turf. Optional Claimer $35,000N1x. (Bets recommended for turf only.)
False Favorite: #2 Arturo Toscanini (3-1)
Reason: This one’s a tough call. On one hand his maiden win saw him defeating eventual Group 3 winner Earlswood. On the other hand his best races have come on the softest ground he’s encountered. His failure on firm tracks at top European stakes levels mirrors his mediocre effort on the Gulfstream all-weather course last time out. The clincher for me are his repeated troubles at the start of his races. If Arturo wants to spot his competition a 9 or 10 lengths I’ll bet against him, even at this distance.
#6 Megayacht (9-2). With the Ortiz brothers riding elsewhere and Paco Lopez suspended, jockey Tyler Gaffalione must have his choice of quality mounts today. He abandons the mount on #1 Road to Meath and sticks with Megayacht rather than return to #4 Shady McGee, both of which were winning mounts for him in the past. Aside from that, Megayacht figures strongly here, with a win and a placing in two tries at marathon distances.
#7 Malthael (7-2). His 2022 campaign has been awful, but he loved the stretchout to marathon distances last year. His Keeneland and Kentucky Downs efforts last year would beat most in this field. He could pick up the pieces if things get weird in this race.
RACE 10. 5 furlongs. Turf. Captiva Island Stakes. (Bets recommended for turf only.)
False Favorite: #3 Toby’s Heart (2-1).
Reason: All her wins came by running past 3-year-old fillies. She faces older horses for the first time and will likely find them much tougher to pass in the stretch. Her past performances show layoffs after each of her past three races, which might indicate physical issues that would also hinder her in this steep rise in competition.
#4 Miss Aurament (3-1). Her only poor effort recently comes ith the chartmaker’s comment, “Brutal trip.” She seems to own this class level at Gulfstream.
#5 Miss J McKay (5-2). With Miss Aurament wearing a target on her back, the race might set up for a strong closer like Miss J McKay. Again, Tyler Gaffalione remains aboard this one rather than accept other offers.
FAIR GROUNDS (Saturday, March 12, 2022)
RACE 2. 1 mile and 1.16th. Turf. AllowanceN1x. (Bets recommended for turf only.)
False Favorite: #2 Drawn to Race (3-1)
Reason: Her two U.S. efforts have been bad and atrocious, with each one followed by an extended layoff. Given that she faced minor-level competition in Europe and failed to dominate there, bettors shouldn’t expect her to dominate here even if she’s healthy and ready. Maybe trainer Stall has finally straightened things out, but that seems like a shaky proposition to take at any odds.
#4 Forever Dreaming (5-1). She’s one of the few horses in this field with a recent sharp effort. The trainer/jockey combo is above average, and the horse is competitive at this level.
#5 Youens (7-2). The other horse in the field with an impressive efffort last time out. In her past 3 races she shows a win and a near-miss placing. There’s not much else on offer in this field, so we’ll take a shot with her.
BONUS RACE: TAMPA BAY DERBY
We don’t see a false favorite in this Kentucky Derby prep race. In our estimation Classic Causeway (8-5) stands out as the class of the field. In winning the Sam Davis Stakes at this track last time out, Classic Causeway exposed the weaknesses of several highly regarded Derby prospects. A few of those vanquished challengers return for a rematch. Only one runner from the Sam Davis stands a chance of pulling an upset.
Strike Hard (8-1) blew the start in the Sam Davis and rallied decently for fourth. Prior to that he chased the impressive Simplification down the stretch in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream. With sharp works and a rider switch to Luis Saez, he stands a chance here. But we really see his chances limited to another runner-up effort.
Another runner we’ll use in our exotic bets is Major General (9-2). This lightly raced Pletcher colt lures Javier Castellano away from Gulfstream for the day. The Major shows a long layoff, dating back to September. Despite that we see his move from a maiden debut win to a Grade 3 victory last year as too impressive to ignore. We’re with Javier in our positive estimation of his chances.
Classic Causeway is the way to go here. We’ll play him to win and try to cash some exactas and trifectas by combining him with Major General and Strike Hard.