RTSS False-Favorite Report, Saturday, April 20, 2024

Friday’s report delivered 2 winners in 3 races and a second-place finisher. All 3 false favorites lost, putting us on an 8 for 9 streak of accurately identifying false favorites.

Let’s kick off Saturday’s report with a look at the former Kentucky Derby prep race known as the Illinois Derby, taking place at Hawthorne Race Course. Then we’ll move on to the weekend’s chosen tracks, Aqueduct and Keeneland.

HAWTHORNE

RACE 8. Illinois Derby. 1 Mile and 1/8th. Dirt.

False Favorite: #4 Woodcourt (5-2).

Reason: After pressing an honest early pace in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, this former claimer folded up in the stretch, just as you’d expect a former claimer to do against graded stakes horses. He then ran a non-threatening sixth in the Jeff Ruby at Turfway. He runs decently on synthetic and dirt, and the class drop will help. The bottom line, though, shows four out-of-the-money finishes in four stakes tries.

BETS

#2 Patriot Spirit (4-1). This expensive son of Constitution should like the added distance. A forwardly placed sprinter, he faced a brutally fast pace in the Grade 3 Sam Davis Stakes at Tampa, his only two-turn race. He rebounded with a solid sprint try in the Hutcheson Stakes and now catches a field without much quality early speed types. Pace and pedigree seem to be on his side.

#3 Raguel (6-1). This $320,000 son of Justify owns a win at this distance. Freshened after two subpar allowance tries, he might be able to grind down a field of relatively unaccomplished runners as they try to stretch their meager talents and pedigrees to 9 furlongs.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • #2 Patriot Spirit (4-1), 92 (sprint)
  • #3 Raguel (6-1), 89
  • #5 Le Gris (7-2), 89

AQUEDUCT

RACE 2. Claiming $16,000 N2L. 6 Furlongs. Dirt.

False Favorite: #1 Army of Thoughts (5-2).

Reason: The daughter of Army Mule sold for less than half of the $25,000 stud fee and has raced like a horse with issues. Competing at the bottom rungs of the NY claiming ranks, she has finished seventh just as often as she has finished first or second. It’s a bit scary to bet against a horse that might secure a lead of 3 to 5 lengths, but her stretch fades have been rather epic, even when everything unfolds perfectly for her.

BETS

#4 Shasi (5-1). She’s a bit light in terms of speed figures, but no rival other than the favorite has come close to the 1:12.0 raw time for 6 furlongs that she registered on December 10 in a 1-mile race. She ralliedĀ  late last time out, which might be the talent needed to catch a tiring favorite.

#5 Ghostly Girl (3-1). She’ll likely have first run at the favorite. She has been contesting the early pace against tougher company and now gets a logical drop in class.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • #3 Love Like Crazy (3-1), 78
  • #5 Ghostly Girl (3-1), 71
  • #6 Keep It Sexy (5-1), 70

KEENELAND

RACE 9. Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes. 1 Mile and 3/16ths. Dirt.

False Favorite: #4 Kingsbarns (2-1).

Reason: Making his second start at age 4, he faces older stakes horses forĀ  the first time. His victories last year came in slow times against 3-year-olds. And even though as a son of Uncle Mo he should love a long race like this, he tired late in the nongraded Pegasus last year.

BETS

#5 Laughing Boy (15-1). After a sharp second-place finish in the Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct (moved up to first via DQ), he ships in to face what might be a softer group. Trainer David Jacobson hits at a 25% rate with last-out winners. This runner owns sharp recent form and has a good shot at being alone on the lead.

#7 Dynamic One (8-1). This old guy appears to be coming back into form. As a stakes winner at 9 furlongs and 10 furlongs, he should improve further at this distance.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • #7 Dynamic One (8-1), 100
  • #5 Laughing Boy (15-1), 98
  • #9 War Campaign (4-1), 98