It’s a BIG DAY! Three Kentucky Derby prep races. More false favorites. And this day follows our BIG WINNING DAY!
We nailed 2 winners in 4 races with RTSS yesterday in cheapo races at Tampa. Now we attempt to do something similar with high-priced horses at major tracks:
AQUEDUCT (Saturday, April 9, 2022)
RACE 5. Grade 3 Distaff Hcp. 7 Furlongs. Dirt.
False Favorite: #4 Search Results (1-1).
Reason: This 4-year-old filly isn’t “false,” just overrated at even money. All her races have been against 3-year-olds. She’s facing hard-knocking older horses for the first time, and that’s an often-overlooked big step up in class. Her slim winning margins in 1-turn races against 3-year-old non-maidens suggest she was a tad less than elite among her peers. The long layoff is also a concern.
#3 Zaajel (6-1). She easily handled multiple graded stakes winner Clariere before going bad last year. Rosario reunites with her to try re-creating the magic of their Grade 2 Mother Goose win, which was also a 1-turn extended sprint off a layoff.
#6 Glass Ceiling (8-5). She owns the only stakes win in this field that came against older horses. She’s also riding a 4 for 5 win streak.
RACE 8. Grade 2 Wood Memorial. 9 Furlongs. Dirt.
False Favorite: #5 Morello (8-5).
Reason: He’s 3 for 3 lifetime and has crushed his opponents each time. But a quick look at the race times for #4 Long Term, shows that Morello barely ran faster at a mile than Maiden Special winners. He faces a tough cast here in his first try at a 2-turn stakes race.
#2 Early Voting (5-2). Like the favorite, he’s undefeated and owns a stakes win on this track. His Maiden win as a 2-year-old was significantly faster than Morello’s stakes win as a 3-year-old.
#7 A P’s Secret (20-1). His allowance win at Gulfstream really impressed me, and I thought he’d do well in the Fountain of Youth. He clipped heels in that race while pressing the pace and lost all chance. I’m not sure how Junior Alvarado ended up on the trainer’s other horse in this race, but with 20-1 on offer I won’t ask too many questions.
RACE 11. Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes. 7 Furlongs. Dirt.
False Favorite: #9 Wit (2-1).
Reason: Wit excelled as an early summer 2-year-old at 5.5 furlongs and 6 furlongs. When he returned in the fall in longer sprints, he lost ground (lots of ground) late in each race. Wit’s sire is Practical Joke, who has produced mostly precocious sprinters, as evidenced by the average winning distance of his offspring: 5.1 furlongs. To quote Shakespeare, “Brevity is the soul of Wit.” Too bad for Wit, then, that this race is contested at 7 furlongs. It’s also too bad he lacks early speed and owns a string of just average final times.
#5 Dean’s List (5-2). He’s the speediest of this field that’s loaded with early runners. He held well for 2nd place after setting the pace under constant pressure in the 1-mile Gotham Stakes.
#6 Highly Respected (4-1). He won his debut very professionally, stalking the leader and then drawing away late in fast time.
KEENELAND (Saturday, April 9, 2022)
RACE 9. Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes. 9 Furlongs. Dirt.
False Favorite: #10 Smile Happy (9-5).
Reason: He lacks early speed and shows no explosive “turn of foot late.” With his grinding style, he has posted below-average final times at 3 different tracks, even though he shows 2 wins and a placing. He and the repeatedly slow Zandon shadowed each other in the Risen Star without ever threatening the winner. I see this as a weak field, so Smile Happy might be able to circle and squash them all again. But he’ll lose far more races than he wins over time. I think the losing streak extends to “2” here.
#6 Emmanuel (9-2). His effort last time out, in the Fountain of Youth, was unimpressive on every count. This field lacks speed, though, and Emmanuel might get the soft pace he needs. Jockey Saez excels at rationing speed to last until the finish line.
#9 Rattle N Roll (8-1). He won a Grade 1 race last year, but hasn’t shown good form yet this year. With blinkers added and 2 blazing 5-furlong works recently, we might just have a mix of fitness and class that’ll work here.