Lazy Bettor Guides False Favorite Report: Emerald Downs, July 17, 2021

$1.95 False Favorite Report

Emerald Downs

Saturday, July 17, 2021

We launched the “Instant Value Handicapping” channel on YouTube to prove out methods detailed in The Punter’s Tale (A Bettor’s Quest for Racetrack Profits). The Punter’s Tale describes how to identify false favorites and select horses to bet against them. With the public betting an inordinate amount of money on a horse likely to lose, value is instantly created on other contenders.

We expect to see a false-favorite failure rate of 75% or higher. By making two-horse bets (or one Place bet as described in the following steps) against these false favorites, we’re shooting for a win rate of 50% or higher.

Living up to our name, LazyBettorUSA, we’ve kept the wagering strategy simple for the “Instant Value Handicapping” video series (for recordkeeping purposes, we use a hypothetical $100 bankroll for each race):

  1. Examine morning-line favorites at a particular track.
  2. Bet only on races containing a false favorite.
  3. Bet two horses. Dutch the bets in $10 increments to get nearly the same return regardless of which horse wins.
  4. Assuming a long-term 50% win rate, accept odds of 8-5 or higher. If the odds on one horse drop below 8-5, treat that horse as a legitimate favorite and don’t bet against it. Instead, bet only on that horse, using $100 Place as your standard wager to assure a 50% or higher hit rate.
  5. If the morning-line false favorite is scratched and you haven’t selected the new favorite as one of your alternatives, assume that horse is a false favorite and continue with your wager as described in the steps above.
  6. For the “Strongest Favorite of the Day” Place bet strategy, wager $100 to Place on the strongest favorite on the card.
  7. Cancel all bets for turf races if the race is taken off the turf.

RACE 1. $8,000 Maiden Claimer. 5.5 furlongs. Dirt

Favorite: #2 New Every Morning, 7-5

Favorite Type: FALSE (Falling Knife favorite; see The Punter’s Tale)

Falling Knife types will slash your cash to ribbons!

Suggested Bets: #3 Double Perfection (4-1); #4 Linchtown (5-2)

Bet Rationale: New Every Morning remains above the $5,000 level of his claim at Golden Gate. The other good news is that he ran her fastest opening 4-furlong split last time out. Now for the bad news: his two best efforts came on the GG polytrack, he has lost ground in the stretch in all 4 lifetime starts, and his largest loss of ground came in his most recent race. Twice he has surrendered a clear lead, so even the lack of obvious challenging speed in this event might not boost his chances enough.

#3 Double Perfection is actually far from perfect, with two back-of-the-pack finishes in two lifetime starts. That aside, he posted a 1:11.0 workout on May 29 that suggests he has more talent than he’s shown in races. He was clearly overmatched at the MSW and Maiden $25,000 levels, and a drop to $8,000 seems appropriate. Was his trainer protecting him from being claimed until he had Double Perfection fit enough to fire his best shot?

#4 Linchtown debuts off of a series of long and strong works interspersed with a few short blowouts. His most recent work on July 11 clocked in at an impressive :47 flat for 4 furlongs. With excellent gate jockeyJulian Couton assigned the mount, Linchtown might be the horse to catch.

RACE 2. $8,000 N3L Claimer. 6 furlongs. Dirt

Favorite: #2 A Filly Can Dream, 5-2

Favorite Type: FALSE. (Mustachioed Wife; see The Punter’s Tale)

Look twice at the Mustachioed Wife. She has wrecked many a bankroll.

Suggested Bets: #1 I Want One (7-2); #6 Secrets of My Soul (4-1)

Bet Rationale: #2 A Filly Can Dream has now failed in four races below the price at which she was claimed ($7,500). In those four tries she failed to finish within 3 lengths of the winner. She also hasn’t won a race since 2019.

#1 I Want One racked up two straight wins while leading from start to finish. Although she faces two sharp, fast need-to-lead types today, we’ll still back her. Last year at Pleasanton she came from off the pace to win at the $8,000 level. With the uber-talented Juan Gutierrez riding an uber-versatile horse, we expect a top effort.

#6 Secrets of My Soul owns the top 2021 BRIS speed rating among those attempting to upset the favorite here. Her victory in fast time in her most recent start, her trainer’s superb judgment in placing horses at the appropriate level, and her late-running style all rank as significant positive factors in this very contentious field.

RACE 3. $25,000 Maiden Claimer. 6 furlongs. Dirt

Favorite: #5 In the Vault, 2-1

Favorite Type: LEGITIMATE

Bet Rationale: According to the parameters in The Punter’s Tale, there are no serious red flags here. We recommend not betting against this favorite.

RACE 4. $20,000 Maiden Special Weight. 6 furlongs. Dirt

Favorite: #2 Temple Secret, 9-5

Favorite Type: LEGITIMATE

Bet Rationale: This 5-year-old competed in one race a year since 2018. Today he enters his first contest on dirt off of some eye-popping workouts. The local workouts and the class drop from top-level maiden claimers at Delmar and Santa Anita merit respect. We’ll pass this race.

RACE 5. $7,500 Optional Claimer. 1 mile. Dirt

Favorite: #1 Buckley Bay, 7-5

Favorite Type: LEGITIMATE. Strongest Favorite of the Day

Suggested Bets: Place bet on #1 Buckley Bay.

Bet Rationale: Buckley Bay crushed opponents in his last two starts, winning by nearly 10 lengths in a $3,500 claimer and then by 6 lengths at this level. His connections get to return him to the same level without fear of losing him on a claim. James Quinn’s classic work, The Handicapper’s Condition Book, notes that starter allowance races like this are most often won by horses who’ve won one in the recent past, because the condition mostly exclude horses from higher levels and many of the rivals are the same ones defeated earlier.

All of those factors qualify Buckley Bay for our “Strongest Favorite of the Day” Place bet strategy. We expect these types to be one of the top two finishers at least 75% of the time.

RACE 6. $5,000 N3L Claimer. 6 furlongs. Dirt

Favorite: #6 Shelby R, 5-2

Favorite Type: LEGITIMATE.

Bet Rationale: According to the parameters in The Punter’s Tale, there are no serious red flags here. We recommend not betting against this favorite.

RACE 7. $7,500 Optional Claimer. 6 furlongs. Dirt

Favorite: #1 Mike Man’s Gold, 3-1

Favorite Type: LEGITIMATE

Bet Rationale: According to the parameters in The Punter’s Tale, there are no serious red flags here. We recommend not betting against this favorite.

RACE 8. $15,000 Maiden Claimer. 1 mile. Dirt

Favorite: #5 Truth to Power, 8-5

Favorite Type: LEGITIMATE

Bet Rationale: According to the parameters in The Punter’s Tale, there are no serious red flags here. We recommend not betting against this favorite. In looking at his three consecutive 5-furlong works prior to his 2021 debut and a smoking 5-furlong work just after that 6-furlong race, I suspect a 1-mile race has always been the target. Trainer Kay Cooper mixes in a slight class drop for good measure. We’ll respect this favorite also and pass the race.


False Favorites: 8 (This is the fifth Emerald Downs report)

False-Favorite Win %: 12.5 (1 winners in 8 races)

Alternative-Bet Win %: 75 (6 winners in 8 races)

Place Bet of the Day Win %: 50 (1 for 2) (ROI -47.5%: $200 bet, $105 returned)

OVERALL ROI: +34.5% ($1,000 bet and $1,345 returned)