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Feb 12, 2010

Kentucky Derby Future Wager - Pool One

By: by Jeff Frank, Contributing Editor


Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Gamblers love wagering on future bets regardless of the sport. However, betting money on a horse to not only remain injury-free, but to pick up the necessary graded earnings and then peak on Kentucky Derby day is asking a lot for a thoroughbred in this day and age.

All it takes is one stumble and the dream can fade away. Just go back to last season when three legitimate contenders - I Want Revenge, Quality Road and The Pamplemousse - were all taken off the Derby trail prior to the first Saturday in May.

Why is this information important in mid-February? Well, the first Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool began at noon Eastern on Friday, February 12 and ends at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday the 14th.

Two-year-old Eclipse Award winner Lookin At Lucky was installed as the 8-1 morning line favorite amongst the 23 single entrants while the field (every other three-year-old) is the overall betting choice at 5-2.

The "all others" wager has been the favorite in every Pool 1 since the Future Wager was instituted back in 1999 and has come through five times in the 11 years. The two most recent Kentucky Derby winners were also part of the field as Mine That Bird and Big Brown paid $5.80 and $8.60, respectively.

Only six of the 23 single entrants will be running prior to Sunday so bettors will not be able to weed out many of the contenders.

The first to hit the track will be Concord Point (30-1) in an allowance race at Santa Anita on Friday afternoon. However, the Bob Baffert-trained son of Tapit might not even be favored as another of Baffert's highly-touted three- year- olds, Bulldogger, could easily take home the winner's share of the purse in the six-furlong event.

Of the five Pool 1 horses racing this Saturday, three will clash in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita and two hook up in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

American Lion, Dave in Dixie and Tiz Chrome, all 20-1 on the morning line in the Future Wager, lead a short field of five in the 1 1/16-mile, Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis, while Rule (12-1) and Uptowncharlybrown (50-1) are the morning line choices in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis, also run at 8.5-furlongs.


Pool 1 is a tough gamble for sure and the fact that 46% of the winners in the 11 years were not even single entrants should be cause for concern when thinking about opening up the wallet this early in the three-year-old season. In addition, it's possible for a horse to wind up with higher odds on May 1 than in one of the Future Wager pools.

For example, Old Fashioned was the 7-1 single-entrant favorite at the close of last year's Pool 1 and the colt didn't even make it to Churchill Downs. Furthermore, if he had run, his odds would have been even higher than 7-1 on the first Saturday in May.

Another angle to keep in mind is to never wager any money until the final day of each pool. You wouldn't believe how many folks bet on Friday or even Saturday morning before the weekend's races are even run.

For instance, if you need to have action this early in the campaign, it's best to wait until the Robert B. Lewis and Sam F. Davis are complete before placing any bets.

Personally, the only wagers I would make in Pool 1 are on Uptowncharlybrown to win, and two exacta boxes with him on top and underneath Buddy's Saint and the field. However, if "Charly" does win this Saturday, expect a huge drop in odds from the 50-1 morning line.


The probable favorite in the Robert B. Lewis is the undefeated Tiz Chrome. After winning his debut at Churchill Downs last November, the son of Tiznow exploded to win the Stuka Stakes at Hollywood by four lengths, earning a 97 Beyer for his efforts.

In order to win again, Tiz Chrome will have to adjust to new surroundings as the colt has yet to race on Pro-Ride and around two turns. Still, he has plenty of room for improvement and should be in the winner's circle after the field crosses the wire.

American Lion, his main competitor, also hasn't been around two turns with his two victories coming at seven furlongs. The first one was over at Keeneland by 6 3/4-lengths and the second came at Hollywood where he defeated Get My Fix by just a half-length in the Hollywood Prevue.

Dave in Dixie and Caracortado both have gone two turns at Santa Anita so there is chance either one of them could pull off the upset.

The former hasn't raced since a sixth-place finish in the Norfolk Stakes on October 4 but he did blow away Get My Fix by 3 1/4-lengths in his maiden victory over the summer at Del Mar.

The latter is undefeated in four starts winning the California Breeders' Champion Stakes in his last race on December 26 in impressive fashion. He also defeated Cardiff Giant in November and that gelding came back to finish second to Conveyance in the San Rafael.

Go with Tiz Chrome over Caracortado.

The Sam F. Davis is an intriguing race as Uptowncharlybrown gets his acid test against six other three-year-olds. The undefeated son of Limehouse will look to win his first race around two turns after a pair of sprint victories by a combined 15 lengths.

Rule, the morning line favorite, does have a slight advantage as there doesn't seem to be much speed in the race besides Middle of the Nite, and breaking from the rail should certainly help the cause.

Middle of the Nite comes in off a troubled third-place finish to Eskenderaya in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park earlier in the year. Nevertheless, he's won only one race to date - a six-furlong event four months ago.

The Derek Ryan-trained Schoolyard Dreams won impressively over Tempted to Tapit in his second lifetime start and then finished first in his subsequent outing at Tampa Bay Downs one month ago. However, he was under heavy urging to win that race over African Moon, one of the expected longshots on Saturday. On the positive side, the addition of blinkers could help against better competition.

Another possible longhshot is Silver Craft. After winning over the track in late December, the May foal was the second choice in the betting to Uptowncharlybrown in the Pasco Stakes, but lost all chance at the start when he broke a good eight lengths behind the rest of the field. Don't be surprised if he hits the board on Saturday.

Play Uptowncharlybrown over Rule and Silver Craft in exactas.


Monday is another important day on the road to the Kentucky Derby as no less than seven prospects are expected to duke it out in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

The entries will not be drawn until Saturday but Conveyance, Dryfly, Dublin, Pleasant Storm, Cardiff Giant, Mission Impazible and Domonation should all be in line for the top prize in the one-mile $250,000 race.


Since my last Top 12, there have been a couple of newsworthy items that must be addressed.

First, Winslow Homer has been dropped due to a stress fracture and Eightyfiveinafifty is off the list as well after bolting badly in the Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct last Saturday. This week's top dozen, with their Pool 1 morning line odds, looks like this:

1) Buddy's Saint (12-1); 2) Uptowncharlybrown (50-1); 3) Kettle River (5-2- Field); 4) Lookin At Lucky (8-1); 5) Super Saver (15-1); 6) Tiz Chrome (20-1); 7) Jackson Bend 12-1); 8) American Lion (20-1); 9) Noble's Promise (15-1); 10) Drosselmeyer (20-1); 11) Pleasant Storm (5-2-Field); 12) Rule (12-1)

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