RTSS False-Favorite Report, Saturday, March 23, 2024

Over the past two years,  the RTSS reports have excelled at analyzing stakes races for 3-year-olds. To break out of the slump we’re in regarding picking winners, we’ll go with an all-stakes report for Saturday.

FAIR GROUNDS

RACE 11. Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks. 1 Mile and 1/16th. Dirt.

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

Reason: Any time a stakes horse posts a winning time slower than the time for a lesser event on the same day, that stakes horse stands as a shaky favorite. Tarifa’s winning time for the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes was slower than the time for Our Pretty Woman’s allowance win. That leaves her within range of at least a few rivals here.

BETS

#3 Alpine Princess (8-1). With 3 wins in 6 races and the highest lifetime BRIS speed figure in the field, this Brad Cox trainee offers a lot at long odds. Her two graded stakes failures give us pause, but the most recent attempt was a flash-and-fade effort off of a long layoff. In that race she set a pace that was about 8 lengths faster, under pressure, than the males did on the same day in the Risen Star Stakes. Her pace rival from that event isn’t in this race, so she should get pace relief while entering this race a fitter horse.

#7 Our Pretty Woman (4-1). As noted earlier, her winning time in allowance company topped the winning time for the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra on the same day. Making just her third start, this undefeated $900,000 daughter of Medaglia d’Oro looks to have a high ceiling for future accomplishments.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • #3 Alpine Princess (8-1), 94
  • #6 Intricate (2-1), 92
  • #7 Our Pretty Woman (4-1), 90
  • #8 Accommodate Eva (20-1), 90

RACE 12. Grade 2 Louisiana Derby.
1 Mile and 3/16ths. Dirt.

False Favorite: #12 Track Phantom (3-1).

Reason: In his first two races the Phantom surrendered clear leads in one-turn miles at Churchill Downs. He followed that with three consecutive gate-to-wire runaway wins, and many bettors thought his stretch fades were a thing of the past. Not us, though. Here’s what we wrote prior to his late-fade placing in the Risen Star Stakes:

“His early pace fractions and his final quarters both ring up as average at best for this level.”

That judgment remains accurate for this race.
To understand how weak a race the Risen Star was, you just need to apply some simple math. Track Phantom completed 8.5 furlongs of the 9-furlong race in about 1:45.4. Running earlier in the day, Antiquarian won an 8.5-furlong Maiden Special Weights race in 1:45.3. As a maiden, Antiquarian ran faster at every call!
BRIS speed figures confirm Track Phantom’s vulnerability in this event: three other rivals have earned speed figures equal to or higher than Track Phantom’s life-high 94.

BETS

#2 Hall of Fame (8-1). After pressing very fast fractions in his MSW win at the Fair Grounds, this runner drew off to win by 10 lengths. This $1.4-million son of Gun Runner next tried the Grade 2 Risen Star, made a nice middle move and then faded. In that race he broke alertly,  settled along the rail, made a big move through the final turn, and got bumped and fanned wide turning into the stretch. In short, he did many things right in a crowded field on a muddy track.  He makes just his fourth start and should be much fitter than he was last time. His pedigree and tactical speed are key assets that should propel him to a strong performance here.

#10 Common Defense (6-1). He ships in from Oaklawn Park, where he gave Timberlake a stiff challenge in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes. He finished three lengths ahead of the third-place horse, and he has worked fabulously since. With only 4 career races, he likely hasn’t hit his peak yet. Common Defense enters the Louisiana Derby with the highest BRIS speed figure and a high degree of fitness.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figs

  • #7 Honor Marie (8-1), 96
  • #10 Common Defense (6-1), 95
  • #9 Real Men Violin (20-1), 94

TURFWAY PARK

RACE  12. Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks. 1 Mile and 1/8th. All Weather.

False Favorite: #10 Endlessly (5-2).

Reason: He’s been mowing down short fields on the West Coast rather flawlessly, with his only failure coming in the BC Juvenile Turf. We think that one failure speaks louder than his 4 wins, as it’s his only race against topnotch competition and his only start in a crowded field. His life-high speed figure of 93 leaves him well within range of several rivals.

BETS

#5 Agate Road (5-1). He won the Grade 2 Pilgrim Stakes on turf as a 2-year-old and then closed well in the Grade 1 BC Juvenile Turf. He’s come up short this year, with two second-place finishes in two races. Most recently, his second-place effort on dirt in the Grade 3 Sam Davis earned him a life-high 91. The $650,000 son of Quality Road displayed plenty of class last year and looks very fit now. Todd Pletcher hits at a 22% clip with horses making their third start off a layoff, and he wins with a stunning 31% of runners switching from dirt to all-weather surfaces.

#8 Otello (15-1). This lightly raced son of Curlin should love the increase in distance. After winning the ungraded Mucho Macho Man Stakes in just his second start, he flopped in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes. He has been working out on turf since that loss and gets a strong vote of confidence from Christophe Clement by being entered here.

Top Relevant BRIS Speed Figure

  • #3 Lucky Jeremy (8-1), 92
  • #6 Northern Flame (5-1), 92
  • #9 Seize the Grey (6-1), 92
  • #5 Agate Road (5-1), 91
  • #8 Otello (15-1), 91