LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Will an individual 3-year-old ever be dominant enough to be favored in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager?
Even in spite of the presence of an unbeaten champion, Uncle Mo, in the lineup of 23 separate betting interests, the probable favorite in the first of three pools in the 2011 Derby futures still appears likely to be the mutuel field, the 24th or "all others" option.
Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has listed the field (No. 24) as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in Pool 1. Uncle Mo (No. 23) is the 9-2 second choice, followed by Dialed In (No. 7) and To Honor and Serve (No. 22), each at 10-1.
Every year since Churchill Downs began offering parimutuel futures in 1999, the field has closed as the favorite in Pool 1. A Pool 1 field horse has wound up winning the Derby in five of those 12 prior years, the latest being Mine That Bird in 2009.
Pool 1 opens Friday at noon Eastern and closes Sunday at 6 p.m. Pool 2 is set for March 11-13 and Pool 3 for April 1-3.
Three Derby prep races will be run this holiday weekend, but only one, the Risen Star at Fair Grounds, is scheduled to be run while Pool 1 is open. Five of the separately listed interests in Pool 1 are entered in that race: Decisive Moment, Machen, Mucho Macho Man, Rogue Romance, and Santiva.
The San Vicente Stakes on Sunday at Santa Anita was expected to be run after the futures pool closes, and the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park will be run Monday.
Handle has held fairly steady in recent years in the futures. Last year, Pool 1 handle was $466,048, including exactas, with aggregate handle for the three pools totaling $1,132,055. Those numbers were down marginally from 2009 and ranked ninth and eighth, respectively, in the 12-year history of the wager.
The records for Pool 1 handle ($620,362) and aggregate handle ($1,665,990) both were set in 2005.
Last year, Super Saver was a separate interest in all three pools, returning $43.20 from Pool 1, $51.20 from Pool 2, and $73 from Pool 3. On Derby Day, he paid $18 as the second choice.
The record payoff for a $2 future wager was $188 on Funny Cide in Pool 1 in 2003.
The futures are nonrefundable win and exacta wagers with $2 minimums (including $1 part-wheels or boxes) and a 16-percent takeout. As with any parimutuel wager, odds will change throughout the weekend, with final odds established at closing time.
A single Kentucky Oaks futures pool will be offered this year, to run concurrently with Derby Pool 2. This will be the first year for exactas on the Oaks futures.
Last year, Churchill Downs tightened its traditional schedule in futures pools from four days to three, citing a lack of substantial play on Thursdays.
All futures lineups are determined by John Asher of Churchill Downs and Brad Free and Mike Watchmaker of Daily Racing Form.
The 137th Derby is set for May 7.
Real-time updates of win odds and exacta probables are available through a number of sources, including television monitors at tracks and wagering outlets and on kentuckyderby.com.
Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1
1. Anthony's Cross, 30-1
2. Astrology, 30-1
3. Brethren, 15-1
4. Clubhouse Ride, 50-1
5. Comma to the Top, 20-1
6. Decisive Moment, 50-1
7. Dialed In, 10-1
8. Gourmet Dinner, 30-1
9. Indian Winter, 50-1
10. J P's Gusto, 20-1
11. Jaycito, 20-1
12. Machen, 30-1
13. Mucho Macho Man, 30-1
14. Rogue Romance, 30-1
15. Santiva, 30-1
16. Silver Medallion, 20-1
17. Soldat, 20-1
18. Stay Thirsty, 30-1
19. Sweet Ducky, 50-1
20. The Factor, 20-1
21. Tiz Blessed, 30-1
22. To Honor and Serve, 10-1
23. Uncle Mo, 9-2
24. Mutuel field (all others), 5-2