Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lookin At Lucky top individual in Derby Pool 1

Marty McGee,
Daily Racing Form

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The first of three pools in the 2010 Kentucky Derby Future Wager opens Friday at noon Eastern with a couple of new wrinkles to what has become a familiar tradition on the road to the Derby.

Churchill Downs, which first offered parimutuel futures in 1999, has shortened each of its three annual pools from four days of action to three. In addition, exacta wagering will be offered with every pool; the introduction of exactas came last year with Pool 2.

Each of the three 2010 pools will run from a Friday to Sunday, with Thursdays having been eliminated. Pool 2 is set for March 5-7 and Pool 3 for March 26-28. One Kentucky Oaks futures pool will be offered to coincide with Derby Pool 2, although there will be no exacta futures on the Oaks.

Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery said in an earlier release that the reason for the shorter wagering windows is to "sharpen the focus of our players, generate new excitement, and add to the fun of betting experiences" of fans. Historically, handle on Thursdays had been very light, as many horseplayers typically wait until that weekend's prep races are run before placing their wagers on a Saturday night or a Sunday.

As usual, the mutuel field, the 24th or "all others" option, has been pegged as the morning-line favorite over the 23 separately listed entries in Pool 1 for this year. The field has closed as the Pool 1 favorite every year.

Reigning divisional champion Lookin At Lucky is the second morning-line choice to the field at 8-1, according to track oddsmaker Mike Battaglia, followed by a foursome at 12-1: Buddy's Saint, Conveyance, Jackson Bend, and Rule.

The futures are nonrefundable wagers with $2 minimums. As with any parimutuel wager, odds will change throughout the weekend, with final odds established at closing time of 6 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.

Prep races to be run this Saturday are the Sam Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and the Robert Lewis Memorial at Santa Anita. Two other preps will be run Monday after the pool has closed - the Southwest at Oaklawn and the San Vicente at Santa Anita.

Even with the addition of exactas for the final two pools last year, handle did not increase significantly from previous years. In fact, aggregate handle on the three Derby pools last year was $1,236,299, just seventh-highest of the 11 years that futures have been offered. The top aggregate handle of $1,665,990 was recorded in 2005.

The record payoff for a $2 future wager was $188 for Funny Cide in the first pool in 2003. Five of the last 11 Derby winners have been field horses at one time or another in at least one futures pool, including three who were field horses in all three pools: Charismatic (1999), War Emblem (2002), and Mine That Bird (2009).

Last year, the first exacta futures combining the field (Mine That Bird) and Pioneerof the Nile returned $256.80 and $554.60 for Pools 2 and 3, respectively. The exacta on Derby Day returned $2,074.80.

The 136th Derby is set for May 1 at Churchill.


1. Aikenite - 30-1

2. American Lion - 20-1

3. Buddy's Saint - 12-1

4. Concord Point - 30-1

5. Conveyance - 12-1

6. Dave in Dixie - 20-1

7. Drosselmeyer - 20-1

8. Dryfly - 20-1

9. Dublin - 15-1

10. Eskendereya - 20-1

11. Jackson Bend - 12-1

12. Lookin At Lucky - 8-1

13. Make Music For Me - 50-1

14. Maximus Ruler - 50-1

15. Noble's Promise - 15-1

16. Ron the Greek - 30-1

17. Rule - 12-1

18. Stay Put - 50-1

19. Super Saver - 15-1

20. Tiz Chrome - 20-1

21. Uptowncharlybrown - 50-1

22. Vale of York - 30-1

23. William's Kitten - 30-1

24. All other 3-year-olds - 5-2

Morning line by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.

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