With pool three of the Kentucky Derby Futures Wager completed, the mutual field (eg: ‘All Others’) is the current betting favorite at 6-1. Seven new names were added to the latest round of on track futures betting (as opposed to the ‘unofficial’ futures betting markets available in Las Vegas and elsewhere) bringing the total of betting interests to 23. The new horses added to the pool are Albano, Bayern, Constitution, General a Rod, Kobe’s Back, Tamarando, and Wildcat Red. Seven horses were also removed from the betting field–Bobby’s Kitten, Commissioner, Havana, Matterhorn, Midnight Hawk, Rise Up, and Tonalist.
There is seldom an overwhelming favorite this early in the Derby season so the fact that the ‘field’ remains the favorite is not uncommon. The mutual field (eg: ‘All Others’) has been the favorite after the first pool in every year since the Kentucky Derby Futures wager began in 1999. The strongest favorites among individual entries are Cairo Prince (8-1), Top Billing (8-1), Honor Code (10-1), and Shared Belief (12-1).
Handle has been off significantly in this year’s Kentucky Derby futures betting. There are a number of reasons for this. Perhaps the most logical is the fact that NYRA (New York Racing Association) didn’t accept Pool 2 wagering in New York due to a dispute with Churchill Downs over simulcasting fees. This dispute has reportedly been resolved. Additionally, without a strong Derby favorite to capture the imagination of the betting public betting handle is obviously lower. Most ‘sharp’ players avoid futures wagering–and particularly the on-track futures market–in favor of better betting options and odds at race books in Las Vegas or offshore. In fact, with the exception of the ‘field’ the numbers would validate avoiding the futures betting altogether and certainly until later in the prep campaign when some front runners will begin to emerge and the Kentucky Derby field will begin to take shape.