Repole Stable’s Uncle Mo, the unbeaten 2-year-old champion of 2010 and winner of last fall’s Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade I) at Churchill Downs, is a strong individual favorite in the first of three betting pools in Churchill Downs’ 2011 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”). But the mutuel field, or “All Others”, is expected to again be the bettors’ choice when the Feb. 18-20 pool completes its run early Sunday evening.
The mutuel field (#24), the betting interest that includes all 3-year-old Thoroughbreds other than the 23 individual horses in the three-day pool, has been the Pool 1 favorite in each of the previous 12 years of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which was launched in 1999. Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia installed “All Others” as the 5-2 morning line favorite to continue the trend, but the Todd Pletcher-trained Uncle Mo (#23) is a clear overall second choice at 9-2. Among individual horses, the 3-year-old son of Indian Charlie is the clear favorite as the horses rated closed to the champion – co-second choices To Honor and Serve (#22) and Dialed In (#7) – were rated at odds of 10-1.
“Uncle Mo showed every sign of being something special during his perfect 2-year-old season,” said Battaglia, who sets the morning line odds for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and all races run at the Derby’s historic home track. “He was an easy winner in each of his races, and those wins were incredibly appealing to the eye and very exciting on-paper for fans of speed figures and other handicapping data. Uncle Mo is a horse with real star power and has good chance to close at odds lower than 9-2, but that makes this year’s opening Derby Future pool even more fun because the lower Uncle Mo’s odds go, the prices on other individual horses will rise and become more appealing.”
Betting on KDFW Pool 1 opens at noon (all times Eastern) on Friday, Feb. 18 and concludes at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 21. Pool 2 mutuel payouts on Kentucky Derby Day will be determined by the odds in place at the conclusion of betting at North American racetracks, off-track betting facilities and advance deposit wagering outlets.
The Kentucky Derby Future Wager provides fans with opportunities to wager on potential Derby contenders odds that could be considerably more attractive than those available on the day of the respective race. It offers win and exacta wagering, and all bets are $2 minimum wagers. No refund will be made on any wager made during any Kentucky Derby Future pool. If it is determined during the pool that any individual betting interest has suffered an illness, injury or other circumstance that would prevent the horse from competing in the race, wagering on that horse will be suspended immediately.
Last year’s winning payouts on WinStar Farm’s victorious Super Saver in all three pools of the 2010 Derby Future Wager were significantly larger than the $18 mutuel returned for a $2 wager on the Pletcher-trained colt in the race itself. A $2 Derby Future win wager on Super Saver returned $43.20 in Pool 1, $51.20 in Pool 2 and $73 in Pool 3. The Derby Future bet’s $2 exacta in Pool 3 for the 1-2 Kentucky Derby finishers, Super Saver and Ice Box, returned $1,077.40 – a record payout in the brief history of the Derby Future exacta. The Derby Day exacta returned $152.40.
Uncle Mo won his three 2010 starts by a combined margin of 23 ¼ lengths. Along with his 4 ¼-length win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the champion scored an easy win in the Champagne (GI) at Belmont Park. He is one of two Pool 1 contenders owned by the stable ofMike Repole, who also races the Pletcher-trained Stay Thirsty (#18), runner-up in the Hopeful (GI) at Saratoga and fifth to his stablemate in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Pletcher, who also trains WinStar Farm’s unbeaten Sam F. Davis (GIII) winner Brethren (#3), is the only trainer who conditions more than one wagering interest in KDFW Pool 1.
The co-second choices in Battaglia’s morning line – Live Oak Plantation’s To Honor and Serve and Robert LaPenta’s Dialed In – have taken different approaches so far in their 3-year-old campaigns. To Honor and Serve is training at Florida’s Payson Park in preparation for his 2011 debut for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.. The son of Bernardini won three of four races last year, including the Remsen (GII) and Nashua (GII) at Aqueduct. Dialed In, trained by Hall of Famer and two-time Kentucky Derby winner Nick Zito, won his racing debut at Churchill Downs in November and returned to competition in late January with a dazzling victory in the Holy Bull (GIII) at Gulfstream Park.
Several KDFW horses will compete in a trio of Kentucky Derby prep races scheduled during the upcoming Presidents Day holiday weekend. Saturday’s $300,000 Risen Star (GIII) at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds has drawn a field of 10 3-year-olds that includes Decisive Moment (#6), Machen (#12), Mucho Macho Man (#13), Rogue Romance (#14) and Santiva (#15). Sunday’s $150,000 San Vicente (GII) at Santa Anita is expected to attract The Factor (#20) and Indian Winter (#9). Monday’s $250,000 Southwest at Oaklawn Park, which will be run the day after Pool 1 closes, will be headed by J P’s Gusto (#10).
Information on the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Derby Future Wager – including real-time KDFW Pool 1 odds – is available at the official event Web site at www.KentuckyDerby.com.
Wagering interests for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager are chosen by a three-member committee that includes Daily Racing Form national handicapper Mike Watchmaker and West Coast correspondent Brad Free, and John Asher, vice president of Racing Communications at Churchill Downs.
Two more KDFW pools will be conducted before the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby is run on Saturday, May 7. Pool 2 is set for March 11-13 and the year’s final pool will run from April 1-3.