Handicapper Mike Battaglia has established the mutuel field as the favorite for the first round of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool that opens at noon on Thursday, Feb. 13 and continues through Sunday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m.
Battaaglia has installed the mutuel field, which includes all 3-year-old Thoroughbreds other than the 23 individual horses listed as wagering interests as a strong 2-1 favorite for the four-day Future Wager pool.
John Oxley's unbeaten Sky Mesa, the winner of last year's Hopeful (gr. I) and Lane's End Breeders Futurity (gr. II), who is yet to race this year, is next in line at 8-1. The Thoroughbred Corp's Kafwain, the Bob Baffert-trained winner of the recent San Vicente (gr. II) and runner-up in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and Daniel Borislow's Champagne (gr. I) and Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) winner Toccet are co-third choices in the morning line at 10-1.
Other major contenders in Pool 1 include Santa Catalina (gr. II) winner Domestic Dispute (15-1), Holy Bull (gr. III) winner Oflee Wild (15-1), Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) runner-up Ten Cents A Shine (20-1), Sham Stakes runner-up Empire Maker (20-1), Golden State Mile winner Ministers Wild Cat (20-1), Turf Paradise Derby runner-up Siberland (20-1), and recent Gulfstream Park allowance race winners Senor Swinger and Lion Tamer (both at 20-1).
Each of the pools will include 24 wagering interests that include 23 individual horses and a mutual field that include all other 3-year-olds.
The wagering interests are selected by a three-member committee that consists of Mike Watchmaker, the national handicapper for the Daily Racing Form; Brad Free, West Coast correspondent for the DRF; and John Asher, vice president racing communications at Churchill Downs.
Additional KDFW pools are set for March 13-16 and April 3-6. In addition, a first-ever Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) Future Wager will be conducted along with the KDFW Pool 3 from April 3-6.