Fans of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) made two things resoundingly clear in the first of Churchill Downs’ three Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”): there is no definitive favorite on the road to the big race on the first Saturday in May and it is possible that the winner of this year’s 136th renewal of American’s Greatest Race is not yet on the radar screen.
While 2009 2-year-old champion Lookin At Lucky was favored among 23 individual horses when KDFW Pool 1 wrapped up its three-day run Sunday, Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. (EST), it was the mutuel field – which represents all 3-year-olds other than the 23 horses in the pool – that was the heavy overall favorite. The “all others” bet closed as the heavy 3-2 betting choice and the mutuel field now been the favored betting interest each year since the Derby Future Bet was unveiled in 1999.
Should a member of the mutuel field win the Kentucky Derby, as Mine That Bird did in 2009, the win payout for a $2 wager on the “all others” betting interest (#24) will be $5. Lookin At Lucky, who bids to give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his fourth winner of the famed “Run for the Roses”, closed at 8-1 and would return $18.20 to his KDFW Pool 1 backers if he wins the Derby. Buddy’s Saint, the Remsen (GII) winner and the pool’s third betting choice at 10-1, will return $22.40 to his fans with a victory in Derby 136.
A total of $466,048 was wagered during the first-ever three-day Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool – all pools had lasted four days prior to this year. The Pool 1 total included $385,995 in win betting and $80,053 wagered on exactas.
The Kentucky Derby Future Wager provides an opportunity for fans to wager weeks in advance on contenders for the Kentucky Derby (GI) – which will be run at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 1 – at odds that could be more attractive than those they would receive on Derby Day. All KDFW pools also 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 $2, while the minimum for exacta boxes and wheels is $1.
Others horses that attracted strong support during Pool 1 included the Bill Mott-trained Drosselmeyer, Hopeful (GI) winner Dublin and Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) winner Super Saver – all of whom closed at 20-1. Eskendereya, a recent allowance winner at Gulfstream Park, closed at 22-1; and Rule, winner of Saturday’s Sam F. Davis (GIII) at Tampa Bay Downs, who was a 24-1 risk at the conclusion of wagering. Todd Pletcher, looking for his first Derby victory, trains Super Saver, Eskendereya and Rule.
Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager is set for March 5-7, while the year’s final pool is scheduled for March 26-28.