Unique Bella Is Heavy Even-Money Favorite in the 2017 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager

Feb 27, 2017 John Asher

Don Alberto Stable’s Unique Bella (#22), a rapidly rising star whose three-race winning streak includes dominant victories in a pair of important stakes races, was the overwhelming even-money favorite to win the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) when three days of wagering concluded Sunday evening in Churchill Downs Racetrack’s 2017 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”).

The grey daughter of Tapit, a dominant winner in three of her four career starts for three-time Kentucky Oaks-winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, had been installed by Churchill Downs’ odds maker Mike Battaglia as the 8-5 favorite among 24 betting interests in his morning line odds for the Kentucky Oaks Future pool. But her odds hovered at-or-near the even-money mark throughout the three days wagering. A $2 Future Wager on Unique Bella would return $4.20 if she wins the Kentucky Oaks.

Should Unique Bella justify the faith of racing fans and win America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 5, she would provide her Hall of Fame trainer with a fourth Kentucky Oaks victory. That would pull Hollendorfer into a tie with Calumet Farm’s Ben Jones and D. Wayne Lukas for second-place in total wins in the Oaks, one victory behind all-time leader Woody Stephens.

Unique Bella finished second as the favorite in her career debut, but has since reeled off three consecutive victories under jockey Mike Smith by a combined 26 ½ lengths. Those wins include victories in the Las Virgenes (GII) and Santa Ynez (GII) at Santa Anita and her career earnings now total $282,400.

The only other wagering interest with single-digit odds in the Feb. 24-26 Kentucky Oaks Futures pool was the Mutuel Field (#24), which includes all 3-year-old fillies other than the 23 individual horses in the pool. The “All Others” wager stood at odds of 9-1 when wagering concluded at 6:30 p.m. (EST) Sunday evening, a half-hour after the end of betting in Churchill Downs’ companion Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3.

A total of $100,335 was wagered in the only Kentucky Oaks Future pool of 2017, a slight decrease of 3.5 percent from 2016 betting of $104,002. The pool’s $2 win wagering totaled $43,998 and exacta wagering rose to $43,998, an increase from the 2016 exacta betting $32,922.

The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager provides racing fans with an opportunity to wager on contenders for the Kentucky Oaks, America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies, at odds that could be more attractive than those available on the day of America’s greatest race. The 143rd running of the 1 1/8-mile Longines Kentucky Oaks is scheduled at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 5. The race will be televised nationally by NBCSN.

The Kentucky Oaks 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 fillies other than the individual wagering interests in the pool. The Oaks wager also offers $2 exacta betting on the 24 wagering interests, with the latter also available in $1 minimum increments in boxes and other multiple number configurations.

Other individual fillies that attracted support behind the overwhelming Kentucky Oaks Future Wager favorite included Coffeepot StablesFarrell (#7, 10-1), winner of the Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds’ Rachel Alexandra (GII) and Silverbulletday in her last three races; Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Elate (#6, 18-1): Abel Tasman (#1, 23-1), winner of the Starlet (GI) at Los Alamitos; It Tiz Well (#9, 29-1), the Hollendorfer-trained runner-up to Unique Bella in the Santa Ynez; Eclipse Award 2-year-old filly champion Champagne Room (#2, 25-1) and Valadorna, (#23, 20-1) the 1-2 finishers in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) at Santa Anita.

CLICK HERE to view final odds and $2 win payouts for the 2017 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.

For a look at $2 exacta payouts in the 2017 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, CLICK HERE.

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