In spite of a brutal winter storm that hampered wagering in several key racing markets in the Midwest and East, Pool 1 of Churchill Downs' 2003 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) closed strongly on Sunday and ended with the mutuel field as a record-setting favorite.
There was strong support for surprising second choice Badge of Silver, who became a major Derby contender with a win in Sunday's Risen Star (gr. III) at the Fair Grounds.
The mutuel field, which has been favored in the initial pool of the Future Wager in each of its five years, was a record shortest 2-1 choice of racing fans in the 34 states where the bet is legal. When wagering on Pool 1 closed on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. (all times Eastern), the odds on the mutuel field stood at $2.20-to-1. The previous record favorite was the mutuel field in Pool 1 of 2002, which closed at $2.80-to-1 and paid $7.60 when War Emblem, who was not among that pool's 23 individual horses, won the Kentucky Derby.
The mutuel field includes all horses other than the 23 individual horses listed among the pool's 24 wagering interests.
Although the mutuel field was a heavy favorite in Pool 1, there was a significant shuffling in the odds among individual horses during its final wagering session. The biggest shift in support involved Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Badge of Silver, whose odds plummeted after his dominating 10-length victory in the Risen Star. Odds also dropped significantly on Einar Robsham's Trust N Luck, the 5 ½-length winner of Saturday's Fountain of Youth (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park and Michael Tabor's Lion Tamer, a six-length victor in Saturday's Hutcheson (gr. II) at Gulfstream.
The Ronny Werner-trained Badge of Silver was so impressive in his 10-length romp in the Risen Star that the unbeaten son of Silver Deputy emerged as the narrow second choice in Pool 1. Badge of Silver's odds stood at 35-1 when he broke from the gate in the Risen Star, but that price had been whittled to 11-1 by the time KDFW wagering closed less than an hour later. The colt had been listed at 50-1 in the Pool 1 morning line by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.
A total of $35,087 was wagered on Badge of Silver, making him a slight choice over Daniel Borislow's Champagne and Hollywood Futurity (both gr. I) winner Toccet ($33,250); The Thoroughbred Corp's San Vicente (gr. II) winner Kafwain ($33,268); John C. Oxley's Sky Mesa ($32,899); and Juddmonte Farm's Empire Maker ($31,337), each of whom closed at 12-1.
The four-day total for wagering on the opening pool of the 2003 Kentucky Derby Future wager was $516,906, down from last year's record opening pool total of $577,889, but was the third highest amount ever wagered in the KDFW.
Derby fans wagered $255,651 on the pool's final day Sunday, which was extended by an hour this year to allow the Risen Star to be completed before the pool closed.
Trust N Luck, who stood at odds of 99-1 when wagering opened on Saturday, stood at 19-1 when Pool 1 closed on Sunday evening. Lion Tamer, who was listed on Saturday at odds as high as 44-1, closed at 20-1 after his win in the Hutcheson.
The odds in place at Sunday's close of wagering are the official odds for Pool 1 and winning payouts on Kentucky Derby Day will be based on those odds. The 129th Kentucky Derby will be run on Saturday, May 3.
Two more KDFW pools are set for March 13-16 and April 3-6 and a first-ever Kentucky Oaks Future Wager is also scheduled for April 3-6. There are no refunds in either wager.
POOL ONE FINAL ODDS # Horse, Odds
1. Apalachian Thunder, 62.60-1
2. Atswhatimtalknbout, 28.80-1
3. Badge Of Silver, 11.30-1
4. Domestic Dispute, 19.80-1
5. Empire Maker, 12.80-1
6. Funny Cide, 93.00-1
7. Indy Dancer, 18.80-1
8. Kafwain, 12.00-1
9. Lion Tamer, 20.40-1
10. Man Among Men, 29.10
11. Ministers Wild Cat, 24.70-1
12. Offlee Wild, 34.90-1
13. Ozzie Cat, 50.70-1
14. Peace Rules, 66.30-1
15. Saintly Look, 65.20 -1
16. Seattle Hoofer, 42.40-1
17. Senor Swinger, 43.60-1
18. Siberland, 114.90-1
19. Sky Mesa, 12.10-1
20. Ten Cents A Shine, 34.40-1
21. Toccet, 12.00-1
22. Trust N Luck, 19.10-1
23. Whywhywhy, 62.40-1
24. All Other 3-year-olds, 2.20-1
FINAL TOTAL FOR POOL 1: $516,906