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.

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  • Neigh Sayer

    It was no surprise it was human nature. It was expected that Justify would crush that easy field and people love a dominant performance and the late money came in as expected.

  • BBFan

    Bwa hahaha! Kudos to the future wager folks for taking the money from the BBFan club! They might just jump ahead of Jerry Jones, who sold mentally challenged folks a ticket for $200 to watch the Super Bowl in 30 degree weather on big screens, OUTSIDE the indoor stadium.

    • dan gable

      Wonder if Chad Brown will try Analyze It on dirt. I see he’s back in training. Most impressive 2yo I saw last year.

  • Richard C

    – “New Kid in Town” –

  • Michael Castellano

    Interesting how Baffert often has multiple TC candidates EVERY YEAR. You could chalk it up to his domination in getting the best horses to train each year and having a large stable. Pletcher has had his share of TC prospects himself, although with much less success. But I don’t believe that Baffert is that much “better” or more skilled that many other trainers at horsemanship. There is a pattern to his success that raises questions for me. Most come out of no where after they turn three, and are lightly raced. That alone is not that unusual, but to all of a sudden have TC horses coming from out of the woodwork lends itself to other interpretations. I’ll leave that up to your imagination. But horses than do not race, do not ever get tested as a rule, something worth thinking about in the age of performance enhancing drugs. This also raises suspicions as to one of the reasons why almost all top horses have 10 horse careers today. Yes, purses for top races are inflated and much higher than 30 – 50 years ago. And high stud values usually equate with majority winning, if short, careers. But other explanations are also likely a factor.

    • David

      Baffert can spot a fast horse from the space station. He and selected others target the Kentucky Derby w/conditioning that has served to relegate even the other TC legs. American Pharaoh and Gun Runner the exceptions, recent Derby winners are rarely named year-end award recipients. He’ll separate his two top chances and, with the east coast looking more and more average, no doubt be the favs this first Saturday in May.

      • Michael Castellano

        And other trainer’s can’t? I agree, like Pletcher, he primes them for the TC, as that’s where the money is. But I don’t think “magic touch” can be explained by his talent alone. And I don’t think he’s the only one that does what he does. But when you are already getting the best stock, you will maintain your edge over the competition.

        • David

          Baffert has stood out since coming on the T’bred scene. His record isn’t perfect but I’d sooner take a recommendation from him (for a prospective purchase) than, yes, any other trainer in the biz. Bloodstock agents and some trainers like to throw blue blood stock at the wall w/other people’s $$s and hope something good happens; Baffert wins the value game most of the time. A couple of years back he finished 2nd in all 3 TC races w/3 different runners.

          • BBFan

            He is a kingpin. Nothing more

          • Michael Castellano

            And Lance Armstrong won 7 Tour de France’s.

      • BBFan

        Baffert doesnt spot the fast horses; he pays minions to pay the breeding farms to alert him of the dominant weanlings and yearlings on their properties

    • Neigh Sayer

      Ever notice how many of his are large stout horses with heavy muscle mass? Particularly the ones that start late or have a good layoff from 2 to 3.

      • Michael Castellano

        I’m reminded of Lance Armstrong and his 7 consecutive wins in the Tour de France. He swore on the bible that he was on the level. And then there was the sudden dramatic increase in major league home runs along with thick necked sluggers. I’ve examined pictures of the old champion race horses. None had the build of the more modern muscle bound horses. Better feed? I doubt it.

        • Neigh Sayer

          Several things need to be addressed in this industry that they’ve turned their heads on. But they can start with clenbuterol which needs to be banned. Quarter horse racing has taken a strong stand against it for it’s abuse to build lean muscle mass and this industry ignores it even though they know what’s going on.

        • BBFan

          Not to mention that his barn was suddenly blanked when OOC testing was enforced prior to the BC

        • Cuffdaddy

          Lance Armstrong on the other hand only hurt himself in a sport where we later learned virtually everyone was doping. Then there is the small 500 million he raised for cancer research helping over 2.5 million people.

          No need to discuss steroids in MLB as they knew all along.

          What has BB done except perhaps raise the Ray Ban stock price while being protected by those who run the game.

    • Beau Geste

      We tend to focus on the Bafferts and Pletchers, but the fact is, the winner often comes out of a barn not often associated with the Derby. Art Sherman, Shug McGaughey, Graham Motion, Michael Matz, John Servis, Bennie Woolley, Rick Dutrow, Barclay Tagg, John Shirreffs, Carl Nafzger to name just a few.

    • BBFan

      Yes they certainly seem to be!

      Interesting how Baffert has multiple injuries that plague his TC horses each and every year … RIP, Mourinho and Reach The World.

      • Al McBean

        Something happened to mourinho?

        • BBFan

          Sadly, Al …

          • Al McBean

            Saw it on BH just broke my heart , was not PC in my criticism of the vitamin king.

      • Beau Geste

        That’s very unfair. No one has had the injuries and illnesses that have plagued Todd Pletcher’s Derby contenders, but that comes with a large stable. The young age of the colts and fillies certainly comes into play as well.

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