RTSS False-Favorite Report, Saturday, April 13, 2024

Friday’s report landed 1 winner in 3 races, with 2 of 3 false favorites losing. As mentioned in that report, we picked 3 winners in the past 5 Kentucky Derby prep races. For the third straight year, stakes races for 3-year-olds proved to be our strength.

The Lexington Stakes wraps up the spring preps. Our in-depth analysis of that race appears below.

AQUEDUCT

RACE 9. State-Bred Maiden Special Weights. 1 Mile. Dirt.

False Favorite: #9 He Has It All (5-2).

Reason: This 3-year-old gelding returns to the state-bred ranks after a flash-and-fade effort against open MSW company. However, two stretch fades in two career starts convince us that another class drop is necessary.

BETS

#3 Berning Beauty (6-1). This expensively bred runner found trouble at the start in both career races. Trainer Christophe Clement wins an amazing 32% of races with horses he removes blinkers from. And he’s clicking at a 60% rate when he names Dylan Davis to ride.

#8 Sir Magic (4-1). The son of Good Magic debuts for Chad Brown, who hits with 24% of his runners when they debut at a mile or longer. The March 16 workout of :47.1 from the gate suggests quality early speed is part of the package.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • Not applicable because of multiple lightly raced horses.

KEENELAND

RACE 3. Maiden Claimer $40,000. About 7 Furlongs. Dirt.

False Favorite: #12 Summonyourcourage (7-2).

Reason: This 0-for-11 runner drops into maiden claiming company for the first time, but he does so following one of his worst races. The last two times he raced in sprints, he settled near the back of the pack early and had no kick late. So he’ll trail this group early and might lack enough of a late kick to get up in time.

BETS

#1 Modern Day Warrior (9-2). This Wesley Ward trainee debuts as a 4-year-old. His workouts are strong, and Ward wins with over 30% of his debut horses.

#4 Eirik Ridge (4-1). Unlike the morning-line favorite, Eirik comes in from MSW company off a decent race. Trainer Albert Stall wins at an impressive 21% rate with horses dropping into maiden claiming company for the first time.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • Not applicable because of multiple debut and lightly raced horses.

RACE 10. Grade 3 Lexington Stakes. 1 Mile and 1/16th. Dirt.

False Favorite: #2 The Wine Steward (5-2).

Reason: This NY-bred runner won 3 of 4 races last year, with the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity his only loss. Clearly some physical issues popped up, as he has been idle since October.

He appears to be at his best as a one-run sprinter. His near-miss in his only two-turn race was the result of a slow early pace that allowed him to coast early and save his sprinters blast for the final quarter mile. In that regard, he resembles this race’s second-choice, Hades, who did much the same thing with the slug-like pace of the Holy Bull (and flopped in the Florida Derby when facing an accelerated pace).

With some decent early pace types entered in this race, The Wine Steward will need to be used harder early to avoid falling further back than is ideal. That will dampen his late running ability. We see the layoff, distance and pace all working against him. (And we’ll toss Hades in the same bag.)

BETS

#8 Encino (5-1). Brad Cox isn’t messing around with this Godolphin runner. He switches to his barn’s top rider Florent Geroux. Encino shows four long, strong works since his victory in the Battaglia Memorial. With just three career starts,  he seems most likely to improve on a speed figure in the low 90s. He’s our top pick in the race.

#10 Lucky Jeremy (8-1). After knocking heads with eventual Santa Anita Derby winner Stronghold, this colt put in a weak effort on the synthetic surface at Turfway Park. Trainer William Morey wins at 25% with horses going from all-weather surfaces to dirt, and Jeremy might be lucky and face only token pressure early.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • #9 Liberal Arts (9-2), 92
  • #10 Lucky Jeremy (8-1), 92
  • #8 Encino (5-1), 91
  • #4 Footprint (10-1), 91