Three days of brisk wagering in the third of four pools in Churchill Downs Racetrack’s (“CDRT”) Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KOFW”) drew to a close Sunday evening with the Mutuel Field (#24), or “All Others”, as a 4-1 favorite, but three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert’s duo of American Pharoah (#1) and Dortmund (#6) were close behind the favorite in betting that reflected solid fan support for a wide-ranging group of contenders for the upcoming 141st “Run for the Roses.”
Wagering on KDFW Pool 3, which opened at noon (all times Eastern) on Friday, Feb. 27 and concluded Sunday, March 1 at 6 p.m., totaled $422,331 and pushed combined betting on this year’s first three Kentucky Derby Future pools to $1,105,503. The Pool 3 total included $300,403 in $2 win wagers and $121,927 in exacta bets. Overall wagering in Pool 3 increased 26.3% from 2014’s third pool total of $334,326, and is the largest total in the year’s next-to-last Derby Futures pool since the $464,236 wagered in 2006. This is the second year of a four-pool format for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which now opens with a pool in late November.
The Kentucky Derby Future Wager enables fans to wager on the Kentucky Derby well in advance of the race at odds that could be much more attractive than those offered on the day of the race. Winning payouts in all KDFW pools are determined by the odds that are in place at the end of each respective betting pool. Those winning mutuel payouts for the $2 minimum win and exacta wagers placed in each Kentucky Derby Future pool will be made following the running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2 at Churchill Downs.
The roster of betting interests in KDFW Pool 3 was reduced on Sunday when wagering was suspended on The Great War (#21) after trainer Wesley Ward notified Churchill Downs officials that his colt was no longer being considered for the Kentucky Derby. The colt finished last of 10 horses on Saturday in the $116,450 John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park. No scratches or refunds are permitted in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but the wager’s rules require an immediate suspension of wagering on a betting interest if Churchill Downs determines that the horse will not compete in the Kentucky Derby because of injury illness or other circumstance. Wagering on The Great War was suspended prior to the start noon of Sunday’s Pool 3 betting.
The favored “All Others” interest featured all 3-year-old Thoroughbreds other than the 22 individual horses on KDFW Pool 3’s roster of individual wagering interests, but its 4-1 closing odds were a bit higher than Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia’s forecast of 3-1 on his morning line. Several Kentucky Derby contenders were bunched closely behind the Mutuel Field, but it was Baffert’s prime Derby duo that was in closest pursuit. Zayat Stables LLC’s Eclipse Award 2-year-old champion American Pharoah, a winner of two Grade I races in three starts, closed as the 8-1 individual choice by a narrow margin over unbeaten stablemate Dortmund, who is four-for-four for owner Kaleem Shah and stood at 9-1 at the conclusion of Pool 3 betting.
Close behind Baffert’s pair was a tightly-bunched group of major Kentucky Derby hopes comprised of Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (GI) winner Carpe Diem (#3) at 10-1; unbeaten Withers (GIII) winner Far From Over (#8) at 13-1; unbeaten Khozan (#14) at 15-1; Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) winner and KDFW Pool 2 individual favorite Texas Red (#20) at 14-1; Holy Bull (GII) winner Upstart (#22) at 15-1; Risen Star (GII) winner International Star (#11) at 22-1; Sam F. Davis (GIII) winner Ocean Knight (#17) at 23-1; and unbeaten Delta Jackpot (GIII) winner Ocho Ocho Ocho (#18) at 24-1.
The final Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool of 2015 is set for Friday, March 27 through Sunday, March 29.