RTSS False-Favorite Report, Friday, May 10, 2024

This weekend we’ll attempt to recover from a subpar Kentucky Derby weekend. We’ll also change the format of the report.

For the past few years we’ve struggled to find a betting strategy in races containing false favorites. While the accuracy of identifying false favorites has been consistently high, the ROI for recommended bets remains negative.

Scratches and odds changes can’t be predicted ahead of time. Scratches often leave a false favorite to face a weakened field, or they eliminate one of our selections or create a pace scenario unfavorable for our pick. Huge variations in odds compared to the morning line at times destroy anticipated value.

To avoid these pitfalls, we’ll only present a list of the top two or three contenders and leave the betting decisions to you. If we see an exceptionally strong bet, we’ll point that out at the end of the report.

Let’s roll with the new wheels and see how it goes.


RACE 7. Maiden Special Weights. 1 Mile. Dirt.

False Favorite: #7 Military Road (2-1).

Reason: After three tries at a mile or longer (all unsuccessful), we can conclude that Christophe Clement noticed this runner’s lack of explosiveness early on. Military Road was more forwardly placed in his only two-turn race last time, but expect him to be further back as he again tries a one-turn mile. His speed figures are high compared to his rivals today, but his raw final times have been slow. The slow times seem to be more reflective of his running style and inability to break through at this level.

Top Contenders

  • #2 Direct Channel (12-1), speed N/A
  • #5 Foxhole (6-1), speed N/A
  • #9 Unmatched (7-2), speed N/A

RACE 9. State-Bred Maiden Claimer $40,000. 1 Mile and 1/16th. Turf (Analysis for turf only).

False Favorite: #5 Jhirsch (8-5).

Reason: Although this expensively bred son of Not This Time faces claimers for the first time, the class drop is minimal. Previously he faced a field of five at Tampa Bay Downs for a $53,000 purse and finished a distant, non-threatening third. The purse here is $45,000, and the field is larger and possibly tougher. Adding Lasix failed to produce a win. Then adding blinkers failed. We think the miniscule class drop will also fail.

Top Contenders

  • #3 Wo Hop (8-1), speed N/A
  • #7 Frozen Four (7-2), speed N/A
  • #10 Vin Santo (4-1), speed N/A


RACE 1. Claiming $8,000 N3L or 3yo. 6 Furlongs. Dirt.

False Favorite: #6 Norfie (6-5).

Reason: It took this guy 14 tries to break his maiden, with many of those races occurring at Gulfstream’s bottom maiden level. He broke through the N2L condition in try number 5 with an unspectacular clocking. Other than in his two wins, both at 6 furlongs, he has failed to gain ground in the stretch in every race showing. With regular rider Miguel Vasquez opting for Major King, we’re thinking win number 3 doesn’t happen this fast.

Top Contenders

  • #2 Major King (8-5), 76
  • #3 Flatter Me (5-2), 76

RACE 8. Maiden Special Weights. 1 Mile and 70 yards. All Weather.

False Favorite: #6 Dunes of Gold (2-1).

Reason: This three-year-old gelding out of a sprint sire now has three losses with rather dramatic stretch fades at three different distances.

Top Contenders

  • #1 Guaio (12-1), 76
  • #8 Annointed (5-2), 76
  • #7 Foxtrot Harry (3-1), 74

Best Bet of the Day

Gulfstream, Race 1. #3 Flatter Me (5-2).

Reason: As the likely third choice in a 6-horse field, he faces two horses who are easy tossouts and two favorites whose repeated stretch fades (even in shorter races) suggest their not suited to the distance. He posted two very fast works before just missing at this level on April 20. He’s a fit horse with the fewest failures at this level, and he starts first off the claim for a trainer who hits at 20% with that move.