Dates Set For 2004 Derby, Oaks Future Wager

Edited from a release

Churchill Downs has established the dates for its wagering pools for the 2004 Kentucky Derby (KDFW) and Kentucky Oaks Future Wagers (KOFW). The Oaks wager, which is entering its second year, will be offered in three pools for the first time.

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which is entering its sixth year, and the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which was offered in a single pool in its inaugural year in 2003, will be offered simultaneously during three four-day periods in the weeks leading up to the 130th renewals of the Derby and Oaks. The dates for the respective Thursday-through-Sunday pools for the two wagers are:

Pool 1 - February 12-15
Pool 2 - March 11-14
Pool 3 - April 1-4

The pools for both the Derby and Oaks Future Wagers will open at noon (all times Eastern) each day and betting on the two wagers will close on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager closed an hour earlier in last year's initial run, which coincided with Pool 3 of the KDFW.

The $1 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds at 1 1/4 miles and its 2004 renewal is scheduled for Saturday, May 1 at Churchill Downs. The $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), which matches 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-an-eighth, is set for Friday, April 30.

The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Future Wagers allow racing fans to place wagers on contenders for the Derby and Oaks weeks in advance of those races at odds that may be more attractive than those they would receive on race day. The future wager on both races is a $2 minimum wager and is a win bet only. There are 24 wagering interests in each pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which include 23 individual horses and a mutuel field that contains all other 3-year-old Thoroughbreds--regardless of whether those horses have been nominated to the Kentucky Derby and the Visa Triple Crown. There are no refunds in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

Like the Derby wager, the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager has 24 wagering interests in each pool. Each pool includes 23 individual horses and a mutuel field that contains all other 3-year-old fillies, regardless of whether they have been nominated to the Kentucky Oaks. There are no refunds in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.

"The Kentucky Derby Future Wager has quickly become a part of Derby tradition and fans throughout North America now look forward to it each year," said Steve Sexton, president of Churchill Downs. "The Kentucky Oaks future wager got off to a very promising start in its single pool in 2003 and has the potential for significant growth this year. One of the reasons we created the Derby Future Wager was to build awareness and excitement in the months leading up to the 'Run for the Roses' and we believe the expansion of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager to three pools will achieve the same goal for the Oaks, a race that is growing in stature and importance each year."

Combined wagering on the three KDFW pools in 2003 totaled $1,130,169 and marked the fourth time in the wager's five-year history that total wagering on the Derby futures pools had exceeded $1 million. Betting on the lone four-day Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool reached $117,368. The three pools of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager and the single pool of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager were offered to racing fans in 35 states in 2003. Cable and satellite television viewers were also able to participate in the wager via TVG, the interactive horseracing network.

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