With just under six weeks to go until the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby, the fourth and final pool of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) will open Thursday, with fast-rising West Coast star California Chrome (#5) as the narrow favorite over East Coast hero Cairo Prince (#4).
Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia installed California Chrome as the 5-1 choice in his morning line odds for the Kentucky Derby futures pool -- just ahead of the 6-1 odds he assigned to Cairo Prince. Those individual stars were rated just above the Mutuel Field, or "All Others" (#24), which consists of all three-year-olds other than the 23 individual horses on the Pool 4 betting roster. The favorite in the three previous KDFW pools leading up to the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby, "All Others" is rated the 8-1 third choice in Battaglia's early odds.
Trained by veteran Art Sherman, favored California Chrome collected his third consecutive win in a 7 ¼-length triumph on March 8 in Santa Anita's San Felipe. The California-bred colt will run next in the April 5 Santa Anita Derby. Cairo Prince rolled to his third victory in four races on January 25 in a 5 ¾-length romp in the Holy Bull at Florida's Gulfstream Park. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee is set for a final Kentucky Derby prep in Saturday's Florida Derby at the same track.
Wagering on Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager will open at noon (EDT) on Thursday and conclude at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Wagering will conclude prior to Saturday's North American stops on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" Championship Series: the Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. A third prep -- the U.A.E. Derby at Dubai's Meydan Racecourse -- will be run earlier in the day.
The Kentucky Derby Future Wager provides racing fans with opportunities to wager on contenders for the famed "Run for the Roses" well in advance of the race at odds that could be more attractive than those available on Kentucky Derby Day. The 2014 Kentucky Derby is scheduled to be run at Churchill Downs on May 3.
The Kentucky Derby Future Wager is a $2 minimum win bet, and exacta betting will also be offered during the three-day betting pool. The minimum exacta wager is $2, but is available in $1 increments in the form of an exacta box or wheel or part-wheel combinations that total at least $2.
A total of $334,326 was wagered on the Febraury 27-March 1 KDFW Pool 3. A total $952,654 has been wagered so far in the three Derby 2014 pools.
No refunds or scratches are permitted in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. If Churchill Downs should determine during Pool 4 that one of its individual horses has suffered an injury, illness or other circumstance would prevent him from competing in the Kentucky Derby, wagering on that horse would be suspended immediately.
Members of KDFW Pool 4 that were not wagering interests in Pool 3 include Rebel winner Hoppertunity (#10), Sunland Derby winner Chitu (#7) and runner-up Midnight Hawk (#13), Spiral winner We Miss Artie (#22), Tampa Bay Derby winner Ring Weekend (#15), Gotham third-place finisher In Trouble (#11), Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf third-place finisher Bobby's Kitten (#3), Rebel third Ride On Curlin (#14) and unbeaten Social Inclusion (#17). Chitu, We Miss Artie and Social Inclusion are first-time wagering interests not included in any of this season's three previous pools.
Wagering interests for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools are chosen by a committee that includes Brisnet Marketing Director Ed DeRosa, HRTV analyst and Daily Racing Form correspondent Brad Free, turf writer and ESPN.com columnist Gary West and Churchill Downs vice president of Racing Communications John Asher.
Information and real-time odds on Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 are available at www.KentuckyDerby.com.