Besides giving thanks, eating turkey, and shopping this weekend, Churchill Downs hopes race fans find some time to think about next year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The earliest-ever Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby Future Wager round will open for a four-day run Wed., Nov. 27, and close Sat., Nov. 30, just before a pair of major early prep races for next year's Louisville classic.
Not surprisingly, handicapper Mike Battaglia has made the "all others" selection on the wager the morning-line favorite at odds of 2-to-5. The morning-line favorite in terms of an individual choice is Lane's End Racing and Dell Ridge Farm's grade I-placed Honor Code, who is trained by this year's Derby-winning conditioner Shug McGaughey.
The four-day Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool, the first ever offered before Derby contenders enter their 3-year-old seasons on New Year's Day, will open Nov. 27 at noon (EST) and close Nov. 30 prior to post time of either the $400,000 Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct or Churchill Downs' $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II); whichever race comes first.
Individual horses of interest include:
• Honor Code (#10 and 15-1 on morning line), the anticipated favorite in Saturday's Remsen for trainer Shug McGaughey, who won the 2013 Derby with Orb ;
• Trainer Pat Byrne's probable Kentucky Jockey Club favorite Almost Famous (#1, 20-1);
• Strong Mandate (#21, 30-1), a top hope to provide legendary Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas with his fifth Kentucky Derby victory;
• Unbeaten Cairo Prince (#4, 30-1), winner of the Nashua Stakes (gr. II) for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin;
• Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. III) winner Rise Up, who is trained by Tom Amoss.
"The job of setting the morning line odds for Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools has always been challenging, but there's never been a wilder, more fascinating, or challenging pool than this one," said Battaglia, who celebrated his 40th anniversary of setting morning line odds for the Kentucky Derby and other Churchill Downs races earlier this year. "It's going to be a lot of fun to watch the odds fluctuate over four days as fans throughout North America compete for ultimate bragging rights when it comes to picking the Derby winner. And the opportunity to watch the Kentucky Jockey Club and the Remsen seconds later, which should provide early evidence of our betting judgment, should add some sizzle to this Derby Futures pool and those races."
KDFW Pool 2, Pool ,3 and Pool 4--along with a single Kentucky Oaks Future Wager ("KOFW") pool which will coincide with KDFW Pool 3--will be three-day pools that open at noon on Thursday. But in a change this year, each pool will close on Saturday afternoon prior to post time of a designated Derby prep race. Previously, the KDFW pools opened on a Friday and closed on Sunday at 6 p.m.
The dates for the four Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools leading up to Derby 140 are:
• KDFW Pool 1: Wednesday, Nov. 27-Saturday, Nov. 30 (4 days)
• KDFW Pool 2: Thursday, Feb. 6-Saturday, Feb. 8 (3 days)
• KDFW Pool 3: Thursday, Feb. 27-Saturday, March 1 (3 days)
• KDFW Pool 4: Thursday, March 27-Saturday, March 29 (3 days)
The date for the only Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool is:
• KOFW Pool 1: Thursday, Feb. 27-Saturday, March 1 (3 days)
Wagering on the Kentucky Derby and Oaks Future Wager will be offered at Churchill Downs and racetracks throughout North America; via TwinSpires.com, the official online wagering site of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs Incorporated; other advance deposit wagering sites; and simulcast centers and off-track wagering sites.
Wagering interests for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool were selected by a panel consisting of veteran turf writer Gary West, Daily Racing Form West Coast Correspondent and HRTV analyst Brad Free, Brisnet Director of Marketing Ed DeRosa, and Churchill Downs' John Asher.
The complete morning line follows.
|KENTUCKY DERBY FUTURE WAGER POOL 1|
|Morning Line odds by Mike Battaglia|
|#||Wagering Interest||ML odds|
|7.||Coup de Grace||50-1|
|15.||New Year’s Day||20-1|
|17.||Pablo Del Monte||50-1|
|18.||Ride On Curlin||50-1|
|23.||Tap It Rich||30-1|
|24.||ALL OTHER 3YOS||2-5|