Edited from Churchill Downs press release--
The 2006 edition of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager is set to open its four-day run Thursday, Jan. 26. The mutuel field, the wagering interest that includes all 3-year-olds other than the 23 individual betting interests in the pool, has been installed as a the 4-1 favorite.
The mutuel field has been favored in the opening Kentucky Derby Future Pool in each year since the wager was introduced in 1999. The grade I Kentucky Derby will be held Saturday, May 6.
"Although we have some very strong individual horses in Stevie Wonderboy, First Samurai, and Private Vow, the closest thing to a sure bet in Thoroughbred racing is that Derby fans will favor the mutuel field in Pool 1 of the Derby Future Wager," said track handicapper Mike Battaglia.
"The opportunity to claim 'bragging rights' by picking the Derby winner months before the race is a big part of the fun," Battaglia said, "but the Derby picture is always wide open at this time of year and the mutuel field should again be a very popular bet as Pool 1 gets underway."
Wagering on the four-day pool will open at noon (EDT) this Thursday and will continue until 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. Racetracks and off-track betting centers across North America will offer the wager, which will be offered in Canada for the first time as Toronto's Woodbine Racecourse has gained approval.
The Derby Future bet is coming off a record year. A total of $1,665,990 was wagered in its three pools in 2005. That total included a Pool 1 wagering total of $620,362, a record for betting in a single pool in the wager that is now entering its eighth year.
The wager offers racing fans the opportunity to bet on Derby contenders well in advance of the "Run for the Roses" at odds that may be more attractive than they would receive on Derby Day. It is a minimum $2 wager and is a win bet only.
There are no refunds.
Winning payouts in all pools are based on the odds in place on each wagering interest at the conclusion of each respective pool. Pool 2 is scheduled for March 2-5, and the third and final pool is set for April 6-9.
While the mutuel field is expected to be favored by value-hunting Derby fans in Pool 1, Battaglia has installed juvenile champion and Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Stevie Wonderboy as the favored individual horse at 8-1. Stevie Wonderboy is followed by Hopeful (gr. I) and Champagne (gr. I) winner First Samurai, and Brother Derek, who handed Stevie Wonderboy his first career loss in Santa Anita's San Rafael (gr. II), both at 10-1.
A pair of contenders trained by Steve Asmussen, Private Vow, winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II), and Doctor Decherd, winner of the Aventura Stakes, join Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) runner-up Your Tent Or Mine at odds of 15-1. Kentucky Derby Future Wager - Pool 1
No. -- Horse, Morning Line Odds
1 -- A.P. Warrior, 20-1
2 -- Achilles of Troy, 30-1
3 -- Barbaro, 20-1
4 -- Barbican, 30-1
5 -- Blazing Rate, 30-1
6 -- Bluegrass Cat, 20-1
7 -- Bob and John, 20-1
8 -- Brother Derek, 10-1
9 -- Cause to Believe, 20-1
10 -- Doctor Decherd, 15-1
11 -- First Samurai, 10-1
12 -- Flashy Bull, 30-1
13 -- Half Ours, 20-1
14 -- Henny Hughes, 20-1
15 -- High Cotton, 20-1
16 -- Itsallboutthechase, 20-1
17 -- Keyed Entry, 30-1
18 -- Lawyer Ron, 20-1
19 -- Point Determined, 30-1
20 -- Private Vow, 15-1
21 -- Sorcerer's Stone, 30-1
22 -- Stevie Wonderboy, 8-1
23 -- Your Tent Or Mine, 15-1
24 -- All other 3-year-olds, 4-1