Friday, March 26, 2010

Final Future Wager pool begins Friday

Marty McGee,
Daily Racing Form

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The third and final pool of the 2010 Kentucky Derby Future Wager kicks off Friday at noon Eastern amid a bit of awkward timing. In most prior years Churchill Downs would have waited until next weekend for Pool 3, but with the way the calendar falls, the track felt the best option was this weekend.

"With this being a very early Derby (May 1), we made a conscious effort to try to get this pool out ahead of things, to kind of emphasize the 'future' aspect of the futures," said Churchill spokesman John Asher.

Only two of the 23 separately listed wagering interests in Pool 3 are scheduled to be active while wagering is open: Discreetly Mine in the Louisiana Derby, and Connemara in the Lane's End Stakes. None of the listed horses are in the UAE Derby, while the Sunland Derby is scheduled to be run Sunday after Pool 3 closes at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Considerably more of the top Derby contenders are expected to be active next weekend, when the Santa Anita Derby, Wood Memorial, and Illinois Derby are run on April 3.

Asher said the fact that the Easter holiday falls on April 4 and that many tracks and wagering outlets will be shuttered on Sunday, a key wagering day for a futures pool, was a big factor in moving Pool 3 to this weekend, but also "because we just want to slide that last pool in a little early and before all the Grade 1 preps. I think what this will do is make the mutuel field an even bigger consideration than normal, because a whole lot of things can still happen in the five weeks we've got left before the Derby."

Churchill linemaker Mike Battaglia has pegged Eskendereya as a slight 5-1 favorite over Lookin At Lucky (6-1) in Pool 3, with the field, the 24th or "all others" option, the third choice at 8-1. The field closed as the favorite in each of the first two pools, which were held February 12-14 and March 5-7.

Among the separate interests in Pool 3, there are eight new names, including Make Music for Me, who was 105-1 in Pool 1 before being relegated to the field for Pool 2. The other new names are Alphie's Bet, Awesome Act, Homeboykris, Ice Box, Interactif, Pleasant Prince, and Schoolyard Dreams.

Displaced from Pool 2 are American Lion, Buddy's Saint, D' Funnybone, Dave in Dixie, Nextdoorneighbor, Radiohead, Setsuko, and Vale of York.

In all, only nine horses have been listed as separate interests in all three pools: Aikenite, Conveyance, Dublin, Eskendereya, Jackson Bend, Lookin At Lucky, Noble's Promise, Rule, and Super Saver.

To date, combined handle in the 2010 futures, including exactas, is $821,901, with $466,048 bet in Pool 1 and $355,853 in Pool 2. The record aggregate handle of $1,665,990, set in 2005, surely is safe; the most ever bet into a Pool 3 was $533,973, also in 2005. The aggregate last year was $1,236,299, with $377,158 coming in Pool 3.

Exacta wagering, first offered in Pool 2 of 2009, once again is available. Part-wheels or boxes can be bought in $1 increments, with the total minimum bet being $2. The minimum win wager is $2.

The lone Kentucky Oaks futures being offered this year coincided with Pool 2.

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