By Gene Kershner
It's that time of year when Derby lists start popping up in and around the interwebs. My annual participation on the Wireplayers.com website’s Derby Dozen panel kicked off this week. Volume I of the list featured five Pletcher horses and two Baffert horses amongst the inaugural dozen. It’s no different in the first Kentucky Derby Futures Wager (KDFW) pool released earlier this week wherein 11 of the 23 betting interest feature horses trained by these top two conditioners.
My initial list included Itsmyluckyday, Revolutionary and Violence as my top three contenders for Volume I of the poll. In last year’s final poll my two top horses were Bodemeister and I’ll Have Another, so pay attention (that exacta paid $306.60 on Derby day). It’s still very early though, and the “All Others” betting interest in the first Futures poll will likely be the favorite when the betting pool closes on Sunday evening. There will be two other KDFW pools for Kentucky Derby 139, to be held Mar. 1-3 (Pool 2) and Mar. 22-24 (Pool 3). The current Wynn-Las Vegas Casino also lists its future book odds here and past performances for all of the horses can be found here.
If you’re interested in making a futures bet on the Derby in Pool 1, check out the fan-friendly site, Hello Race Fans, which has an in depth post on how much future wagers have paid out in the past and how to make the wager.
Flashback (9-1), last weekend’s Robert Lewis winner is the current future book favorite at the Wynn, with Violence (12-1) Revolutionary (15-1), Uncaptured (16-1) and Itsmyluckyday (18-1) not too far behind. I’ll Have Another won the Lewis last year before winning the Derby.
It was announced earlier in the week that nearly $99 million was bet on Super Bowl in 185 sports books in Nevada. By comparison, over $133 million was bet on the Kentucky Derby last year, where just less than 10 percent of that was bet at Churchill Downs. Of course, much more money is likely bet illegally on the Super Bowl in office and bar pools, it goes to show the magnitude of the Derby.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby series takes a break this weekend with no races scheduled. Next weekend the last two races of the “Prep Season” portion of the schedule (10-4-2-1) will be held at Golden Gate Fields (El Camino Real Derby) and Oaklawn Park (Southwest Stakes). The first leg of the “Championship Series” portion of the Series will commence on Feb. 23 where the winner will receive 50 points. The first leg points will be awarded on a 50-20-10-5 basis to the top four finishers.
Just because the Derby trail is taking a week off doesn’t mean that there will be a falloff in racing action this weekend. The Grade 1 Donn Handicap will feature older horses Ron the Greek, Flat Out and Pool Play and the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap will signify the 2013 debut of Animal Kingdom and Point of Entry. Saturday’s Gulfstream card features four straight graded stakes races, including the two noted above.