Lazy Bettor Guides False-Favorite Report, Saturday, May 20, 2023

We covered 3 races on Friday, and all 3 false favorites lost. We’re now on a 10 for 11 streak of correctly identifying false favorites. And we had one winner at 13-1!

On to Saturday and the Preakness!


RACE 2. Paradise Creek Stakes. 7 Furlongs.  Turf (Analysis for turf only).

False Favorite: #1 Charging (5-2).

Reason: He showed tremendous early speed breaking from post 10 for an easy maiden score last time out. He faces tough stakes runners and will encounter much more pressure over a longer distance.


#4 Eye Witness (7-2). This $650,000 son of City of Light rang up impressive wins at two different all-weather distances after debuting impressively on turf. With a stakes win already to his credit, another one looks well within reach.

#2 Golden Nugget (12-1). It was a toss-up between him and Vacation Dance as our second pick. This $350,000 son of Mendelssohn turned in impressive back-to-back stalking efforts when switched to turf at Gulfstream. His dismal try in stakes company can be attributed to being bumped at the start. A little class relief and a cleaner start could add up to a nice payday for his connections and his backers.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • #4 Eye Witness (7-2), 91
  • #8 Joey Freshwater (6-1), 91
  • #2 Golden Nugget (12-1), 89
  • #3 Inflation Nation (4-1), 88
  • #7 Vacation Dance (8-1), 88

RACE 3. Claiming $32,000. 1 Mile and 1/16th. Turf (Analysis for turf only)

False Favorite: #5 Eyes on Target (5-2).

Reason: The class drop off of two uncompetitive allowance efforts seems severe for a horse who earned $166,000 last year. With stretch losses in his past two races, this late runner shows no sign of fitness.


#1 High Tide (3-1). He returns from a long layoff with a series of sharp works. The small class drop makes sense, and he catches what might be a weak field for this level.

#9 Healing (8-1). As one of the few horses in this field to have run a competitive race in the past month, the 8-1 morning line looks like a generous offering.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • #1 High Tide (3-1), 91
  • #9 Healing (8-1), 87
  • #7 Be Here (5-1), 85


RACE 1. Allowance N1x. 5 Furlongs. Turf (Analysis for turf only).

False Favorite: #3 Rock the Boat (5-2).

Reason: This 5-year-old gelding was off the track for a year before coming back for a 3-race campaign that yielded no wins at this approximate level. Now he returns from a layoff of more than 4 months, and we suspect he hasn’t magically improved.


#7 Swifty Devil (12-1). As one of only two early speedsters in the race, the shortening of distance seems like it’ll suit him in his first turf attempt. He has been competitive against high-level 3-year-olds in New York, so this race might provide class relief too.

#10 American Speed (7-2). This Brad Cox trainee has put up a series of strong works as he prepares to go from route to sprint and from stakes to allowance company. Luis Saez takes the mount on this well-bred son of More Than Ready who is trying turf for the first time. He should find an excellent stalking position.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • #7 Swifty Devil (12-1), 86
  • #10 American Speed (7-2), 85
  • #9 Bourbon and Ice (8-1), 84

RACE 8. Grade 3 Dinner Party Stakes. 1 Mile and 1/8th. Turf (Analysis for turf only).

False Favorite: #1 Atone (9-5).

Reason: We think age is catching up to this 6-year-old gelding. After going 0 for 7 in 2022, mostly in allowance and low-level stakes races, he finally defeated a soft allowance field in start number 8. After a brief layoff he ran a race too good to be believed when winning a Grade 1 stakes at Gulfstream.  That was followed by another layoff, a last-place finish in a Grade 2 race and another layoff. Irad Ortiz, who was aboard for the Grade 1 win, opts to ride #7 Emmanuel. Lots of red flags here, so we’ll bet against him.


#4 Hurricane Dream (7-2). This former Group 2 competitor in Europe found his best stride last time out in his second US start. He drew away powerfully from 10 allowance foes and has the back class to step up and compete well in this short and not all that stellar field.

#7 Emmanuel (7-2). As noted, Irad Ortiz elects to ride this one for Todd Pletcher. Emmanuel enters off a poor effort in a Grade 2 stakes, but he has won 3 of his past 5 starts, including his first two tries against older horses. We think his recent clunker can be ignored, and that it’s reasonable to expect further improvement from this relatively lightly raced horse.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • #2 Speaking Scout (6-1), 100
  • #4 Hurricane Dream (7-2), 100
  • #7 Emmanuel (7-2), 96

RACE 13. GRADE 1 PREAKNESS STAKES. 1 Mile and 3/16ths. Dirt.


Reason: Mage towers over his rivals in terms of money earned, quality of competition, raw times and speed figures. We were getting ready to recommend accepting 7-5 odds or higher when we read that First Mission, the likely second choice in the race was scratched. Now Mage will likely go off at less than even money.

The one possible path to an upset belongs to Bob Baffert’s starter, National Treasure. As the horse with the top early speed, National Treasure seems certain to “rush” to the lead from the inside post. The absence of any early-speed types might leave him in a comfortable spot on the front end. With Mage continuing to have gate issues, that early advantage could prove insurmountable.

Judging from the long, sizzling works since returning to Baffert’s care, National Treasure enters the fray fit as can be. Given the likely dead pace, a top-2 placing looks like a good bet.


  • Mage to win if 7-5 or higher.
  • Mage exacta over National Treasure
  • National Treasure exacta over Mage (for half as much as the exacta with Mage on top)