RTSS False-Favorite Report, Saturday, January 6, 2024

We began the year half right, with all three false favorites we identified on Friday going down to defeat. Our suggested two-horse wagers, though, yielded no winners. One winner emerged from our handy “Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs” list, paying $24 to win.

Let’s see if we can revive the positive cash-flow half of our approach on Saturday.

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FAIR GROUNDS

RACE 5. Maiden Claimer $30,000. 1 Mile and 1/16th. Turf (Analysis for turf only).

False Favorite: #3 Tribest (4-1).

Reason: Given that she lost ground in the stretch in all of her races, even when dropping in class, we’ll assume this somewhat parallel move in class won’t be sufficient to make her a winner.

BETS

#4 Ruth of Judah (5-1). Louie Roussel gears up for the FG meet. Judging from the sharp and steady works, he looks to have this filly ready to fire and improve on his “1st at route” excellence.

#5 Themischievousone (6-1). Chris Block doesn’t waste a lot of time getting good horses ready off of layoffs. He certainly knew this runner was over her head in MSW company, especially off the layoff. The class drop should be the money run for a trainer who excels with horses entering maiden claimers for the first time.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • Not applicable because of multiple lightly raced horses.

GULFSTREAM PARK

RACE 4. Maiden Optional Claimer $50,000. 6 Furlongs. Dirt.

False Favorite: #3 Etendre (5-2).

Reason: We’ll take our standard stand against a debut horse going off as the favorite. It’s unusual for all but the best pedigrees (or trainers with debut as a specialty) to get everything right in the first trip to the races.

BETS

#2 Paisan (8-1). Ronald Spatz presses every button on the trainer console: gelding, blinkers, Lasix and a class drop. It’s also encouraging that he doesn’t drop this $15,000 yearling more precipitously. The talent displayed in the MSW debut should pop up again.

#8 Far from a Star (3-1). The debut was impressive. With Lasix added and Saffie Joseph’s 28% hit rate with horses making their second start, this runner looks pretty solid.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

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

2024 KENTUCKY DERBY TRAIL

To see the high level of accuracy RTSS achieved in 2022 and 2023 in predicting winners of stakes races for 3-year-olds, go to our 2023 summary article. We set a high bar for analyzing current form and future prospects of horses on the Derby trail. This week we launch our 2024 picks with the Jerome Stakes and the San Vicente.

JEROME STAKES at AQUEDUCT.  1 Mile. Dirt.

Legit Favorite: #1 Drum Roll Please (1-1).

Reason: The son of Hard Spun owns just one win in four starts, but he has flashed talent against tough company. Most recently, he closed the gap on Dornach in the 9-furlong Remsen before tiring a bit late. That effort is consistent with his preceding maiden win, in which he posted rapid early fractions before slowing in the final eighth.

His losses in the Remsen and, earlier, to next-out stakes winner Locked suggest Drum Roll Please might be a cut below Top three-year-olds. That makes him a good fit in this shorter, softer winter stakes at Aqueduct. His ability to blast through the early quarters should allow him to control the pace and exhaust rivals that try to remain within range.

SAN VICENTE STAKES at SANTA ANITA. 7 Furlongs. Dirt.

Vulnerable Favorite: #3 Muth (4-5).

Reason: It’s tough to knock a horse who challenged BC Juvenile champ Fierceness and finished second in that race. The worry is that he lost the Grade 3 Best Pal Stakes in the same way. Will he always bow down to top horses in the stretch? Did his only stakes win (in the American Pharoah Stakes at odds of 2-5) come against a weak field? There’s a chance that this $2 million dollar colt has only a $200,000 heart.

BETS

#2 Slider (4-1). There’s no doubt this 5-furlong specialist will gun for the early lead. He owns a stakes win, but he might not measure up to the two Baffert runners entered. On the plus side, with the Baffert horses drawing most of the betting action, you’ll probably get more than 4-1 on a horse who could steal the race up front.

#4 Pilot Commander (5-2). This $700,000 son of Justify might be the best of the two Baffert entrants. With just a maiden score on his resume, he already looks like a future stakes winner. In his debut, he took control early and roared home late in final quarters of :11.4 and 12 seconds flat. He followed that easy victory with a 5-furlong work in a stunning :58.4 seconds. Baffert likely wants more from this inexperienced runner at this stage of the Derby Trail, while not wanting to push Muth for his best just yet.