Analyzing Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1

Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, analyzes the horses included in Churchill Downs 2001 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000 and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997.

Steve Haskin's Analysis of Kentucky Derby Future Pool 1:

Horse, odds: Analysis

Field, 5-1: This is almost like having a D. Wayne Lukas entry. You don't get Gold Trader, but you do get Scorpion, High Cascade, Turnberry Isle, Unbridled Time and several others. If High Cascade wins the Fountain of Youth, you're already alive, and Scorpion and Turnberry Isle are no slouches. Expect both to rebound from poor efforts. You also get Fountain of Youth starters Radical Riley and Cee Dee. You get a slew of Godolphin horses, and the word over there is that Express Tour might be every bit as good as Street Cry. If you take a chance that Special Times will somehow wind up in the Derby, you'll be getting a horse Bob Baffert is nuts about. There are other potential live ones who are ready jump up from allowance company into stakes. Is this a strong mutuel field? Not really, but there's at least enough to keep things interesting.

Point Given, 6-1: If you can get 6-1, the best thing is that you can savor it for another month without tossing your ticket away, as many will if they bet before the Fountain of Youth. You're getting the complete package here and you don't have to sweat it for awhile. What more can you ask?

A P Valentine, 10-1: You'll know more after Saturday's allowance race. If he runs a huge race, you can kiss any thoughts of 10-1 goodbye. He still may very well be the most talented 3-year-old in the country, so getting knocked down a bit after Saturday shouldn't discourage you. He's in against some darn good horses, so don't expect too much, coming off layoff and bucked shins. He just needs to be around at the finish.

Dollar Bill, 10-1: Pool 1 closes at 4:30 eastern time, so check post position for the Risen Star Stakes. Most will not know the result when they put down their money on this colt, so it's a speculation bet that could blow up in your face. But it shouldn't. There doesn't seem to be any world beaters at Fair Grounds, and we see no reason why he should have any trouble handling these horses. Even if he does lose, it's his first race over the track. Mighty got beat last year as a huge favorite and came back to win the Louisiana Derby.

Millennium Wind, 10-1: Poor man's version of Point Given. Same deal as far as being alive for another month. You'll get a better price, and he was only length behind Baffert's colt, while coming out of maiden race and giving away a ton of experience and seasoning. His last was not the big jump forward most expected, but the race will do him good in the long run. Remember, however, he'll go into Derby off only five career starts.

Holiday Thunder, 15-1: Working like gangbusters for the Fountain of Youth. If you like Dollar Bill at 10-1, you should like this colt at 15-1. He always runs his race, and although he hasn't won a stakes yet, he's been right there against some of the best colts in the country. And he does have a good closing kick, so it's not like he's a one-paced grinder who just manages to pick up a piece of it.

Startac, 15-1: It's a long way from the desert to the Bluegrass, but forget that he won at Turf Paradise. He seems to have all the tools, and simply looks like a very good horse. He's got the acceleration, the pedigree, and a bright young trainer who's destined for big things. But we feel 15-1 is a bit too low. No horse who hasn't proven himself in top company should be 15-1, unless they're Fusaichi Pegasus. We like this colt, but expect him to go off at higher odds.

Buckle Down Ben, 20-1: Talk about low odds. The horse that beat him in the Holy Bull didn't even make the list. He did move way too soon in the race, and gets blinkers for the Fountain of Youth. We wouldn't be surprised to see him run another good race, but these odds are still too low right now. Certainly, don't bet him before the race.

Burning Roma, 20-1: Mixed feelings about this colt. We really like him as an individual, and admire his ability to run huge races despite adversity. His last three trips have been a disaster, and he still was flying at the finish in all of them. But he's being trained at Tampa Bay Downs by his owner, who says he's not even pointing for the Derby. He also said he felt the horse was more of a sprinter type, but wants to win the Breeders' Cup Classic with him. We're not even going to try to figure all this out. Harold Queen may very well be a good horseman, but this certainly is setting a precedent. He did say that trainer Tony Dutrow will get the horse back after the Tampa Derby, so we'll have to stay tuned on that. As for the Future Wager, uh,'re on your own.

Early Flyer, 20-1: We can't even imagine this horse being 20-1. He is fast, tough, and consistent, and trained by Ron McAnally, but distance is a big, big question. Until he shows he wants anything to do with 1 1/8 miles, it's best to tread carefully. McAnally is taking it one step at a time.

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