California Gets OK to Participate in Future Wager

by Jack Shinar

Californians will have the right to participate in the Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby Future Wager under a rule approved Jan. 24 by the California Horse Racing Board.

Wagering begins Feb. 14, when the first of three pools opens. The first wagering period is open until Feb. 17, the second takes place March 14-17, and the third runs from April 4-7. There are 24 wagering interests in each pool, and all money from the wager goes through Churchill Downs. The track pays out based on odds of the winning selection at the close of each betting pool.

The request for the future-book wager came from the Los Angeles Turf Club, which directs Santa Anita Park, Southern California's major operating track
in the winter and early spring. Winning bets can be cashed at any California track.

The CHRB didn't authorized the wager, now in its fourth year, in the past because it had no rule allowing it do so. When the Association of Racing Commissioners International approved a model rule for conducting the bet, the board had a rule in place. State law allows the CHRB to approve wagering forms for which there is a model RCI rule.

The rule was adopted by a 6-1 margin. CHRB chairman Alan Landsburg dissented.