It is crowded at the top of the collection of 24 betting interests following the first of three days of betting in Churchill Downs’ third and final pool of the 2010 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”), and a single $2 bet is all that separates the top two choices after Friday’s opening day betting.

Fans of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) found it difficult to separate Fountain of Youth (GII) winner Eskendereya, reigning 2-year-old champion and Rebel (GIII) winner Lookin At Lucky, and the Mutuel Field, which includes all 3-year-olds other than the 23 individual horses in the pool.  Eskendereya was the actual betting favorite as the Todd Pletcher trainee closed at 9-2 with a wagering total of $5,484.  The close second choice on Friday was the ‘All Others’ bet, which was also a 9-2 risk at day’s end with total betting of $5,482 – a separation of only a single $2 minimum bet.

Lookin at Lucky, trained by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, was next at 5-1.  He was followed by Gotham (GIII) winner Awesome Act at 13-1 and a quartet of horses at 19-1 that included Tampa Bay Derby (GIII) winner Odysseus, Rebel runner-up Noble’s Promise, and the 1-2 finishers in the Southwest (GIII), Conveyance and Dublin.  Conveyance is the morning line favorite for Sunday’s $800,000 Sunland Derby (GIII) at Sunland Park

A total of $53,104 – which included $14,086 in exacta betting – was wagered during the first day of the KDFW pool   Kentucky Derby Future betting at racetracks, satellite wagering sites and advance deposit wagering outlets headed by TwinSpires.com will resume at noon (all times EDT), on Saturday, March 27.  Betting on the pool is scheduled to conclude on Sunday, March 28 at 6 p.m.

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager provides fans with an opportunity to bet weeks in advance on contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) at odds that could be more attractive than those they would receive on the day of the race.  All KDFW pools include exacta wagering.  The Derby Future bet is a $2 minimum “win” wager.  The minimum wager for a straight exacta, which requires the bettor to select the Kentucky Derby’s top two finishers in the exact order of finish, is also $2, while the minimum for exacta boxes and wheels is $1.  There are no scratches and no refunds in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.  If Churchill Downs determines that injury, illness or other circumstance will prevent the participation of any individual betting interest in the Kentucky Derby, wagering on that interest will be suspended.

Real time odds and exacta payouts can be found online under “Contenders” and “News” links at www.kentuckyderby.com, the official Web site for the 136th running of America’s greatest race and the definitive online resource for the Kentucky Derby experience.  The Kentucky is scheduled for Saturday, May 1 at Churchill Downs.