Kentucky Derby Future Wager: Justify Surprise Second Choice, ‘All Others’ Favored

by | 03.11.2018 | 7:34pm

Eight weeks in advance of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I), the pari-mutuel field of “All Other 3-Year-Olds” closed as the 4-1 favorite in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW).

Four-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert's late-blooming Justify, who improved his record to 2-for-2 on Sunday with a 6 ½-length romp in a first-level allowance at Santa Anita, closed as the surprise 6-1 second choice.

Bolt d'Oro and McKinzie, a clear but controversial 1-2 in Saturday's San Felipe (GII) at Santa Anita, were the third and fourth wagering choices at 7-1 and 9-1, respectively.

“All Other 3-Year-Olds” has closed as the March future pool favorite in 13 of the last 16 years. The three exceptions were Mohaymen (7-2 in 2016), Uncle Mo (3-1 in 2011) and Pyro (4-1 in 2018). None won the Kentucky Derby.

Justify, who won his seven-furlong career debut on Feb. 18, is attempting to buck one of the last so-called Derby “rules” that is rarely challenged. Apollo, who won the 1882 Kentucky Derby, is the only Kentucky Derby winner to win the “Run for the Roses” without racing as a 2-year-old. The record of horses in the Derby without a race at 2 since 1937 is 61-0-3-5. During that span, the only horses to finish in the Derby Top 3 without racing at 2 were runner-ups Coaltown (1948), Strodes Creek (1994) and Bodemeister(2012) and third-place finishers Hampden (1946), Agitate (1974), Reinvested (1982), Curlin (2007) and Battle of Midway (2017).

Following Sunday's win in 1:35.73 for one mile over a “muddy” surface, jockey Mike Smith was extremely impressed by Justify. “For a young horse he has a great mind,” Smith said. “That might allow him to catch up even sooner than a normal horse, because of his talent and the mind to go with it. … I hate to compare him to other horses right now, but doesn't he remind you of an Easy Goer way back in the day? Just a big ol' red horse with a big, powerful stride.”

Other horses that attracted interest from bettors in the KDFW Pool 3 were 2-Year-Old Champion Male and Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Grade I) winner Good Magic (11-1); Holy Bull (GII) winner Audible (13-1); and Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Solomini (17-1), who is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday's$900,000 Rebel (GII) at Oaklawn Park.

Horses in order of favoritism in the three-day March 9-11 KDFW Pool 3 (Odds and $2 Win Will Pays): #24 “All Other 3-Year-Olds” (4-1, $10); #12 Justify (6-1, $14.40); #3 Bolt d'Oro (7-1, $16.20); #15 McKinzie (9-1, $20.80); #10 Good Magic (11-1, $25.20); #1 Audible (13-1, $28); #20 Solomini (17-1, $37.20); #5 Catholic Boy (21-1, $45.40); #19 Promises Fulfilled (24-1, $51.20); #14 Magnum Moon (25-1, $53.60); #16 Mendelssohn (28-1, $59.60); #2 Avery Island (29-1, $61.80); #7 Flameaway (31-1, $65.60); #17 My Boy Jack (31-1, $65.60); #21 Sporting Chance (39-1, $80.20); #23 Vino Rosso (39-1, $80.40); #4 Bravazo (40-1, $82); #11 Instilled Regard (41-1, $84.20); #8 Free Drop Billy (44-1, $91.80); #9 Gold Town-GB (52-1, $106.80); #22 Strike Power (56-1, $115.20); #6 Combatant (57-1, $116); #13 Kanthaka (57-1, $116.40); and #18 Noble Indy (60-1, $122.40).

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager, offered for a 20th consecutive year, enables bettors to wager on possible Kentucky Derby contenders in advance of America's greatest race at odds that could be more attractive than those available on the day of the race. The $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds will be run for the 144th consecutive year on Saturday, May 5.

In the lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which was conducted concurrently with the KDFW, the pari-mutuel field of “All Other 3-Year-Old Fillies” closed as a 5-1 favorite over Santa Ynez (GII) and Santa Ysabel (GIII) winner Midnight Bisou, who was the slight 6-1 second choice over Rachel Alexandra (GII) winner Monomoy Girl. Unbeaten Starlet (GI) and Las Virgenes (GII) winner Dream Tree was the 7-1 fourth betting choice.

The final odds for the Oaks Future Wager: #24 “All Other 3-Year-Old Fillies” (5-1, $13.80); #12 Midnight Bisou (6-1, $14.20); #14 Monomoy Girl (6-1, $14.40); #8 Dream Tree (7-1, $17.60); #4 Caledonia Road (12-1, $27.60); #13 Midnight Disguise (13-1, $28.60); #16 Paved (13-1, $28.60); #21 Take Charge Paula (18-1, $38.60); #1 Amy's Challenge (20-1, $42.60); #23 Wonder Gadot (21-1, $44); #7 Cosmic Burst (21-1, $45.60); #18 Red Ruby (23-1, $49.80); #9 Eskimo Kisses (31-1, $65.20); #22 Thirteen Squared (40-1, $82); #3 C. S. Incharge (41-1, $84.80); #2 Best Performance (41-1, $85.20); #20 Spring Lily (51-1, $104); #5 Classy Act (51-1, $104.60); #11Heavenhasmynikki (54-1, $110.40); #19 Sassy Sienna (57-1, $116.60); #6 Coach Rocks (60-1, $122.40); #17 Rayya (60-1, $123.20); #10 Gas Station Sushi (67-1, $137); and #15 Patrona Margarita (68-1, $139.60).

Total handle for the March 9-11 KDFW pool – the third of four wagering pools in advance of the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby – was $394,763 ($277,469 in the Win pool and $117,294 in Exactas), a 5.7% increase from last year's $373,354 ($250,280 in the Win pool and $123,075 in Exactas).

Betting on the Oaks Future Wager totaled $70,993 ($47,699 in the Win pool and $23,294 in Exactas) compared to last year's $100,336 ($56,337 in the Win pool and a record $43,998 in Exactas).

This year, track officials introduced an Oaks/Derby Future Double for the first time. The bet, which requires fans to correctly select the winners of both the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks on May 4 and the next day's Kentucky Derby, handled $69,725. The shortest $2 Future Double will pay was $52.40 for Midnight Bisou to win the Oaks and Justify to win the Derby.

All told, $535,481 was bet in future wagers over the three-day period. To date, Churchill Downs has handled $1,350,343 in future wagers since November. Last year's total future wager handle was $1,510,195, including $440,511 in Pool 4.

The opening Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool of 2018 was conducted Nov. 23-26, while Pool 2 ran from Feb. 9-11. The year's fourth and final pool is set for April 6-8.

Visit www.KentuckyDerby.com/FutureWager for more information.

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