Champion Classic Empire is the individual choice, but 'All Others' favored in Kentucky Derby Futures Pool 2

Jan 24, 2017 John Asher

John C. Oxley’s Classic Empire (#3), winner of the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade I) and the champion 2-year-old of 2016, is the individual favorite to win the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), but the Mutuel Field (#24), or “All Others,” is expected to continue its traditional role as the overall betting choice in Pool 2 of Churchill Downs’ 2017 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”), which opens its three-day run on Friday, Jan. 27. 

            The Mutuel Field has been favored in the first Kentucky Derby Future Wager of the calendar year since Churchill Downs created the bet in 1999, and odds maker Mike Battaglia installed the “All Others” as the 8-5 likely bettors’ choice in his morning line odds for 2017’s Pool 2. Wagering on the three-day pool opens at the home of the Kentucky Derby and at racetracks, satellite wagering centers and online betting platforms at noon (all times EST) on Friday, Jan. 27. Wagering on KDFW Pool 2 will conclude at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29. 

            Battaglia assigned odds of 5-1 to the Mark Casse-trained Classic Empire, the son of Pioneerof the Nile who was the winner of the Eclipse Award for the champion 2-year-old of 2016 in a unanimous vote. Classic Empire scored four victories in his five races in 2016 – including a pair of triumphs at Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby will be run for the 143rd consecutive year on Saturday, May 6. Casse’s colt earned $1,485,920 during his championship campaign and could make his first start of 2017 in the Holy Bull (GII) on Feb. 4 at Gulfstream Park.  

            Classic Empire was the 6-1 individual choice for the opening pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager conducted over four days in November, but the “All Others” bet was a strong 6-5 overall favorite at the conclusion of that pool. 

            The Kentucky Derby Future Wager provides racing fans with the opportunity to wager on contenders for the Kentucky Derby at odds that could be more attractive than those available on the day of America’s greatest race.  

The Future Wager offers $2 minimum win wagering on 24 betting interests that include 23 individual horses and the Mutuel Field, which includes all 3-year-old Thoroughbreds other than the individual wagering interests in a respective pool. Each pool also offers $2 exacta wagering on the 24 wagering interests, with the latter also available in $1 minimum increments in boxes and other multiple number configurations. 

            Payouts in the win and exacta wagering in Pool 2 will be determined by the odds that are in place at Sunday’s conclusion of wagering. 

The official rules of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager do not permit scratches of betting interests or refunds of wagers placed during any of its four pools. Wagering will be suspended on a betting interest in any of the respective pools if Churchill Downs determines that an individual horse will not be able to participate in the Kentucky Derby because of injury, illness or other circumstance.

            While Classic Empire is a solid individual choice in the morning line odds for the second Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool, there are plenty Derby candidates with attractive odds among the remaining 22 individuals in the pool. The latter group includes 10 horses that were not a part of November’s opening pool. 

            Rated closely behind Classic Empire among individual 3-year-olds are Cheyenne Stables LLC’s unbeaten Mastery (#12, 6-1) and Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC’s McCraken (#13, 10-1), whose record remains perfect after three races.  

Mastery, a son of Candy Ride (ARG) trained by four-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Fame conditioner Bob Baffert, closed at odds of 10-1 in November’s opening pool and has since won the Los Alamitos Futurity (GI) for his third triumph in as many starts. Baffert also trains Pool 2 wagering interest American Anthem (#1, 15-1), the runner-up in the recent Sham Stakes (GIII) at Santa Anita for owners WinStar Farm LLC and S F Bloodstock LLC.  

McCraken, a homebred son of Ghostzapper trained by Ian Wilkes, closed his 2016 campaign with a triumph in the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby and the site of all of the colt’s three career victories. Wilkes is seeking his first Kentucky Derby triumph after working as an assistant to Hall of Famer Carl Nafzger when the latter saddled Kentucky Derby winners Unbridled (1990) and Street Sense (2007). 

Other accomplished horses among Pool 2’s 23 individual betting interests include Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S. Moss’s Gormley (#7, 15-1), winner of the recent Sham (GIII) and the FrontRunner (GI) at Santa Anita for trainer John Shirreffs, who teamed with the owners to win the 2005 Kentucky Derby with 50-1 longshot Giacomo; Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Practical Joke (#18, 20-1), winner of the Champagne (GI) and Hopeful (GI) and third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Team D’s Mo Town (#14, 20-1), a son of Uncle Mo who won the Remsen (GII) at Aqueduct in November; Robert V. LaPenta and Harry Rosenblum’s Uncontested (#21, 20-1), a front-running winner of the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park for trainer Wayne Catalano; and L and N Racing’s Lookin At Lee (#11, 30-1), runner-up to Classic Empire in Keeneland’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (GI), fourth to that rival in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the winner of the Ellis Park Juvenile. 

Pool 2 of the 2017 Kentucky Derby Future Wager includes 10 horses that were not among the wagering interests in November’s opening pool. That group includes American Anthem; St. Elias Stable’s Battalion Runner (#2, 20-1), an easy 8 ¾-length winner of a Gulfstream Park maiden race in his New Year’s Eve debut; M M G Stables LLC’s El Areeb (#4, 50-1), a runaway 11 ½-length winner of the Jerome (GIII) at Aqueduct on a muddy track on Jan. 2; Harrell Ventures LLC’s Faja (#6, 50-1), an 8 ¾-length winner in his career debut at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 17; William S. Farish and Lora Jean Kilroy’s Guest Suite (#8, 50-1), a gelded son of Quality Road who took last week’s Lecomte (GIII) at Fair Grounds in his 2017 debut for trainer Neil Howard; Rialto Racing Stables and Southern Springs Stables Petrov (#17, 50-1), runner-up in the Smarty Jones; Mont Saint Legame (JPN) (#16, 50-1), a Japan-based son of Came Home whose two wins in as many starts include the Cattleya Sho at Tokyo Racecourse for trainer Koji Maki; Sonic Mule (#19, 50-1), winner of the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park for owner Calumet Farm, which holds a record eight victories in the Kentucky Derby; Conrad Farm’s State of Honor (#20, 50-1), the runner-up in the Mucho Macho Man; and Michael Langford’s Lecomte runner-up Untrapped (#22, 50-1)

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with WinStar Farm’s Super Saver, trains four KDFW Pool 2 betting interests. Pletcher’s quartet includes Tabor, Magnier and Smith’s Fact Finding (#5, 30-1), whose three wins in as many races include the Smooth Air at Gulfstream Park, Battalion Runner, Faja and Sonic Mule.  

Other trainers with more than one Pool 2 wagering interest include Baffert; Casse, who also trains State of Honor; and Steve Asmussen, who trains Lookin At Lee and Untrapped. 

The roster of wagering interests for Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, complete with morning line odds, can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Real time odds on the Kentucky Derby Future Wager and more information on the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby is available online at

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