Godolphin’s 2-year-old champion and winner of the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (Grade III) Essential Quality was made the 7-2 morning line favorite in the field of 24 betting choices for Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), which will open on Friday.
Pool 4 of the KDFW runs concurrently with the lone pool of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (KOFW). In addition to Win and Exacta betting, an Oaks/Derby Future Double is part of the wagering menu. The wagers will open Friday at noon (all times Eastern) and the KDFW will close Sunday at 6 p.m. while the KOFW will close 30 minutes later at 6:30 p.m. Betting on the KDFW and KOFW is available at simulcast centers around the country and ADW’s such as www.TwinSpires.com.
Undefeated champion Essential Quality returned Saturday in the Southwest and splashed home to a 4 ¼-length win over Oaklawn’s sloppy surface. Trained by Brad Cox, Essential Quality is likely to have one additional prep race prior to the Kentucky Derby. The Tapit colt is a perfect 4-for-4 with prior victories in the $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (GI) and $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI).
Cox has three horses in Pool 4 of the KDFW. The others are Shortleaf Stable’s $150,000 Smarty Jones winner Caddo River and Juddmonte Farms’ $400,000 Risen Star (GII) winner Mandaloun.
Among the other horses likely to take wagering interest is WinStar Farm and CHC INC’s $100,000 Sham Stakes (GIII) winner Life Is Good. Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Life Is Good is scheduled to run on Saturday in the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes (GII) at Santa Anita. In the first three pools of the KDFW, Life Is Good closed as the individual betting favorite at odds of 5-1, 7-1 and 7-1, respectively. He was made the 4-1 second choice on veteran oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line in Pool 4.
Life Is Good is one of five horses in Pool 4 trained by Baffert. The others are Gary and Mary West’s undefeated Concert Tour; SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Golconda Stables, Siena Farm LLC and Robert Masterson’s $200,000 San Vicente (GII) runner-up Freedom Fighter and Southwest runner-up Spielberg; and Zedan Racing Stables’ $100,000 Robert B. Lewis (GIII) winner and likely fellow San Felipe competitor Medina Spirit.
Another horse likely to take interest in Pool 4 of the KDFW is Courtlandt Farms’ $300,000 Fountain of Youth (GII) victor Greatest Honour. Conditioned by Derby-winning trainer Shug McGaughey III, Greatest Honour closed from nearly eight lengths off the early speed in the Fountain of Youth for a 1 ½-length score. He is likely to take the same path to the first Saturday in May as McGaughey’s 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who ran in the Florida Derby (GI) as his final prep.
There are five new wagering interests from Pool 3: Three Chimneys Farm and e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ recent 12 ½-length maiden winner Collaborate; Joseph P. Morey Revocable Trust’s $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial winner Hush of a Storm; Godolphin’s Risen Star runner-up Proxy; John and Diane Fradkin’s $100,000 El Camino Real Derby hero Rombauer; and Spielberg, who closed at 47-1 in Pool 2 of the KDFW.
The complete field for Pool 2 of the KDFW (with trainer and morning line odds): #1 Caddo River (Cox, 15-1); #2 Candy Man Rocket (Bill Mott, 30-1); #3 Collaborate (Saffie Joseph Jr., 30-1); #4 Concert Tour (Baffert, 20-1); #5 Dream Shake (Peter Eurton, 30-1); #6 Essential Quality (Cox, 7-2); #7 Freedom Fighter (Baffert, 30-1); #8 Greatest Honour (McGaughey, 6-1); #9 Highly Motivated (Chad Brown, 20-1); #10 Hot Rod Charlie (Doug O’Neill, 30-1); #11 Hush of a Storm (Bill Morey, 50-1); #12 Keepmeinmind (Robertino Diodoro, 30-1); #13 Life Is Good (Baffert, 4-1); #14 Mandaloun (Cox, 15-1); #15 Medina Spirit (Baffert, 30-1); #16 Midnight Bourbon (Steve Asmussen, 30-1); #17 Prevalence (Brendan Walsh, 20-1); #18 Proxy (Mike Stidham, 20-1); #19 Risk Taking (Brown, 30-1); #20 Roman Centurian (Simon Callaghan, 50-1); #21 Rombauer (Michael McCarthy, 50-1); #22 Spielberg (Baffert, 20-1); #23 The Great One (O’Neill, 50-1); and #24 “All Other 3-Year-Olds” (10-1) .
In the Oaks Future Wager, Stonestreet Stables’ $300,000 Rachel Alexandra (GII) winner Clariere was tabbed as the 5-1 morning line favorite in the field of 24 betting interests. Trained by Asmussen, Clairiere was able to get by a determined Travel Column in the Rachel Alexandra. The two-time winner has only one defeat on her résumé when Travel Column bested her in the $200,000 Golden Rod (GII) as a 2-year-old.
OXO Equine’s Travel Column was made the 6-1 co-second choice on the morning line in the KOFW along with Shadwell Stable’s undefeated filly Malathaat. Travel Column, trained by Cox, was the even-money favorite in the Rachel Alexandra for her 3-year-old debut. Malathaat, under the care of trainer Todd Pletcher, won the $150,000 Demoiselle (GII) as a 2-year-old at Aqueduct. She is currently preparing for her seasonal bow in South Florida.
The complete field for the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (with trainer and morning line odds): #1 Bow Bow Girl (Dale Romans, 50-1); #2 Clairiere (Asmussen, 5-1); #3 Coach (Cox, 30-1); #4 Crazy Beautiful (Kenny McPeek, 20-1); #5 Dayoutoftheoffice (Tim Hamm, 12-1); #6 Kalypso (Baffert, 15-1); #7 Lady Mystify (Eurton, 50-1); #8 Li’l Tootsie (Tom Amoss, 30-1); #9 Malathaat (Pletcher, 6-1); #10 Moraz (Michael McCarthy, 50-1); #11 Obligatory (Bill Mott, 30-1); #12 Pass the Champagne (George Weaver, 50-1); #13 Pauline’s Pearl (Asmussen, 30-1); #14 Search Results (Brown, 30-1); #15 Simply Ravishing (Kenny McPeek, 12-1); #16 Souper Sensational (Mark Casse, 50-1); #17 Sun Path (Cox, 30-1); #18 Travel Column (Cox, 6-1); #19 Vequist (Butch Reid Jr., 15-1); #20 Wholebodemeister (Juan Avila, 12-1); #21 Will’s Secret (Dallas Stewart, 15-1); #22 Willful Woman (Asmussen, 50-1); #23 Zaajel (Pletcher, 15-1); and #24 All Other 3-Year-Old Fillies (8-1).
The Kentucky Derby and Oaks Future Wagers, which include $2 Win and Exacta wagering, provide fans of Thoroughbred racing with opportunities to place bets on possible entrants in the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) and $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) at odds that could be far greater than those available on the day of the race. The 147th running of Kentucky Derby, America’s greatest race and the first leg of the Triple Crown, is set for Saturday, May 1 at Churchill Downs and the 147th edition of the Kentucky Oaks will run one day prior on Friday, April 30. There will also be a special $1 Oaks/Derby Future Double offered concurrently with both pools.
There are no refunds in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager or Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. Should Churchill Downs officials determine during the duration of this week’s three-day pool that one of the wagering interests has experienced an injury, illness or other circumstance that would prevent the horse from participating in the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks, betting on the individual horse will be suspended immediately.
Pool 5 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, the lone remaining pool, will span March 26-28.