Unbeaten 2-year-old filly champion Indian Blessing and the impressive grade I winner Country Star head a strong roster of 3-year-old fillies listed as wagering interests in the first of three pools of Churchill Downs’ 2008 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, but it is the mutuel field – or “all others” – that is expected to be a strong favorite for the pool that opens its four-day run Feb. 7.
Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has installed the mutuel field as the 5-2 choice in his morning-line odds for the opening pool of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which will begin its sixth year when betting in the pool begins at racetracks and satellite wagering outlets across North America at noon Feb. 7. Betting on all three pools of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager will also be available through TwinSpires.com, the official advance deposit wagering service for Churchill Downs Incorporated and its family of racetracks.
The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager offers racing fans the opportunity to wager on contenders for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), America’s top spring prize for 3-year-old fillies, at odds that could be far more attractive that those available at Churchill Downs on the day of the race. Each pool of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager is comprised of 24 betting interests that include 23 individual horses. The 24th wagering interest in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager is a mutuel field that includes all other 3-year-old fillies.
Wagering on Pool 1 of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager will continue through 6:30 p.m. Feb. 10. The pool will close 30 minutes after the end of wagering in the concurrent run of Pool 1 of the 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Pool 2 is scheduled for March 6-9 and the year’s final Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool is scheduled for April 3-6.
The Bob Baffert-trained Indian Blessing, Hal and Patti Earnhardt’s winner of the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and the early favorite for the Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds, and Stonerside Stable’s Country Star, the Bobby Frankel-trained winner of the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) and the Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) at Keeneland, are listed as Pool 1’s co-second choices at 8-1. Brereton C. Jones’ Proud Spell, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and unbeaten Pure Clan, winner of Churchill Downs’ Golden Rod (gr. II), are next at 12-1.
The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager is a minimum $2 wager and a win bet only. There are no refunds in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. Winning payouts in all Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pools are based on the odds that are in place on each wagering interest at the conclusion of each respective pool.
The $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks, a race for 3-year-old fillies, will be renewed for the 134th time May 2 at Churchill Downs.
Frankel, who won the 1998 Kentucky Oaks with Keeper Hill and took the race again in 2001 with Flute, is one of several trainers who condition a pair of wagering interests in the opening pool of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. Along with Country Star, Frankel also trains Turn Away.
Other trainers with a pair of Pool 1 contenders in their care include four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher (Game Face and Sea Chanter), Ken McPeek (A to the Croft and C J’s Leelee), and Steve Asmussen (Rated Fiesty and Jolie the Cat).
Rags to Riches, who won the 2007 Kentucky Oaks on her way to earning an Eclipse Award that honored her as America’s champion 3-year-old filly, was a strong betting favorite on Kentucky Oaks Day, and was favored in two of last year’s three Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pools. The mutuel field was a narrow 3-1 choice over Rags to Riches (7-2) in last year’s Pool 1.
Real time odds on all three pools of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager are available on the official Kentucky Derby Web site at www.kentuckyoaks.com.