The third of four pools of Churchill Downs Racetrack’s 2014 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) opens its run on Thursday with Cairo Prince (#3) and Top Billing (#20) sharing the role of favored individual horses, but the ever-popular ‘All Others’ (#24) figures to be the overall betting choice when three days of Derby Future betting concludes early Saturday evening.
Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia has established morning line odds for KDFW Pool 3’s 24 wagering interests and the Mutuel Field, or ‘All Others’, is the 6-1 favorite for the Derby Futures pool. Close behind Cairo Prince and Top Billing, are the pool’s 8-1 co-second choices and favorite individual horses.
KDFW Pool 3 opens Thursday, Feb. 27 at noon (all times Eastern) and will close at post time of Saturday’s Grade III Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, which is scheduled for 4:17 p.m.
The 1 1/16-mile Gotham is this week’s stop on the Championship Season schedule of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” Presented by TwinSpires.com, the point system that determines the eligibility of the maximum field of 20 horses that will compete in the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 3.
The Mutuel Field includes all 3-year-old Thoroughbreds other than the 23 individual horses in the roster of wagering interests for the Derby Future bet, which was launched in 1999.
Pool 3 of the 2014 Kentucky Derby Future Wager will run concurrently with the year’s only Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool. The Oaks Future pool is scheduled to conclude at post time for Saturday’s $100,000-added Santa Ysabel (GIII) at Santa Anita, or 6 p.m., whichever comes first.
The Kentucky Derby Future Wager enables racing fans to place wagers on contenders for America’s greatest race well in advance of Derby Day at odds that could be much more attractive than those available on the day of the event. The Derby Future bet is a $2 minimum win wager, and exacta betting is also available as either a $2 minimum wager or as a $1 minimum bet in exacta boxes and other combinations.
Betting on the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools will be available at TwinSpires.com, the official advance-deposit wagering service for Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) and the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), and through other online wagering platforms. Both wagers will also be offered a racetracks and satellite wagering centers across North America.
The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Cairo Prince scored an emphatic victory in the Grade II Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park, his only start of the year. His only setback in four races was a nose loss to Honor Code (#9) in last fall’s Remsen (GII) at Aqueduct. Top Billing finished third to fellow KDFW Pool 3 wagering interest Wildcat Red (#23) in his stakes debut in last Saturday’s Fountain of Youth (GII) at Gulfstream. The highly-regarded son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin has won two of four career races.
Top Billing is trained by Shug McGaughey, a Kentucky-born member of Thoroughbred Racing’s Hall of Fame who won his first Kentucky Derby in 2013 with Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Orb. McGaughey also trains Honor Code, a son of A.P. Indy and the favored individual at odds of 12-1 in February’s KDFW Pool 2. Honor Code will open KDFW Pool 3 at odds of 10-1, the overall fourth choice behind “All Others,” Cairo Prince and stablemate Top Billing.
Other horses expected to attract significant support in KDFW Pool 3 include unbeaten Shared Belief (#16), the 2-year-old champion of 2013 for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer who is listed at 12-1; the Steve Asmussen-trained Tapiture (#19, 15-1), an impressive winner of last week’s Southwest (GIII) at Oaklawn Park and winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) in November at Churchill Downs; Starlight Racing’s Intense Holiday (#11, 15-1), who rallied to win Saturday’s Risen Star (GII) at Fair Grounds for trainer Todd Pletcher; Bayern (#2, 15-1), a 15-length winner of a recent Santa Anita allowance race for his second win in as many starts for three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert; C R K Stable’s Candy Boy (#5, 20-1) winner of the Grade II Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita for trainer John Sadler, Constitution (#7, 20-1), an impressive allowance winner for Pletcher on Saturday at Gulfstream Park; Strong Mandate (#17, 20-1), winner of the Hopeful (GI) and runner-up to Tapiture in the Southwest for four-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas; Indianapolis (#10, 20-1), Baffert’s unbeaten winner of the San Pedro; Kobe’s Back (#12, 20-1), an impressive stretch-running winner of the San Vicente (GII) at Santa Anita; and Wildcat Red (#23, 20-1) and General a Rod (#8, 20-1), who enter the pool off a stirring 1-2 finish in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth.
Wagering on the Feb. 6-8 second pool of this year’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager totaled $380,250, which included $92,927 in exacta bets. Wagering in KDFW Pool 2 was likely hampered by harsh winter weather that prompted the closing of several racetracks in the East and Southeast during the pool. Total wagering in the pool was the lowest since $267,748 in $2 win bets were placed the inaugural Derby Futures pool in 1999. A total of $273,174 – including $35,096 in exacta bets, was wagering during the Nov. 27-30 opening pool of the Kentucky Derby 140 Future bet. That pool was the first Derby Futures pool ever conducted in November and total betting for this year’s two pools stands at $653,424.
No scratches or betting refunds are permitted in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Betting on an individual horse in the pool will be suspended immediately if Churchill Downs determines during the pool that injury, illness or other circumstance would prevent the horse from competing in their respective race.
Individual betting interests for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools are established by a committee that includes veteran racing journalist Gary West; Brad Free, a West Coast correspondent for the Daily Racing Form and HRTV; Ed DeRosa, director of marketing for BRISNET; and John Asher, vice president of Racing Communications for Churchill Downs.
The fourth and final KDFW Pool is scheduled for March 27-29.