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Feb 17, 2012

The Kentucky Derby winner will not come from the Mutuel Field

By: by Jeff Frank, Contributing Editor


(Sports Network) - Since the Kentucky Derby Future Wager began in 1999, the mutuel field has been the correct bet in six of the 13 Pool 1 wagers, including three of the last four years. However, half of those winners paid $6.00 or less and two others were sent off at odds of 5-2 and 3-1. There is certainly no value in betting the chalk.

The only year a single entrant won the Derby since 2008 was two years ago when Super Saver crossed the wire first. That year, the "all others" wager was the heavy 3-2 betting choice while the eventual Derby winner went off at 20-1. Super Saver's Pool 1 odds were actually lower than in Pools 2 and 3 when he went off at 24-1 and 35-1, respectively. Ironically, his odds wound up much lower on Derby Day when the son of Maria's Mon was the 8-1 second choice.

This year, the "all others" wager closed at 3-2 while Union Rags (7-1) was the lone single horse below 10-1. Since the field was bet so hard, it left some appealing odds on some pretty decent horses.

Those who liked Liaison prior to the Robert B. Lewis Stakes were loving life when the Bob Baffert-trained colt closed at a hefty 56-1. If the son of Indian Charlie had won that race, he would have been the third or fourth choice in Pool 1 at around 15-1.

I'll Have Another, the winner of the Robert B. Lewis, is still not getting any respect as his 29-1 Pool 1 odds are not that much lower than the 43-1 number he went off on Feb 4.

The fact these two horses have already bankrolled enough graded earnings to hold down a spot in the 20-horse field gives even more credence to their chances of winning the Derby at huge Future Wager odds.

It seems as if the betting public has opted to stay away from the California three-year-olds as the majority of them are tremendous prices. Five other colts from out west are all over 20-1 and some much higher than that.

Out of Bounds looked like a colt on his way to bigger and better things after he won the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 7. His trainer Eoin Harty has been high on him for a long time and the horse will try to keep moving forward in his next start, the San Felipe Stakes on Mar. 10. Out of Bounds closed at 23-1.

Fed Biz wound up at 21-1, which might be a bargain when all is said and done. The son of Giant's Causeway looked like a beast in his second lifetime start as he crushed Consulado by almost six lengths.

The $950,000 purchase doesn't have any graded earnings as of yet, which is probably why he closed at 21-1. Still, he is one of the more talented three- year-olds around and Bob Baffert will do his best to find a race where Fed Biz can collect enough money to qualify for the Derby. The Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park is worth $200,000 more than the San Felipe so that might be his next destination.

Three other west coast horses ended up at greater odds than those previously mentioned.

Empire Way and Rousing Sermon ran second and third, respectively, in the Robert B. Lewis and surprisingly, both closed at huge odds as the former is 33-1 while the latter is 71-1.

In addition, Midnight Transfer, who has yet to race around two turns, is 67-1. His next start will be the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes, and if he wins or places in that event, that 67-1 will look pretty sweet.

The only California-based horse that is lower than 20-1 is Creative Cause, who wound up at 17-1. The gray colt is scheduled to run in this Sunday's San Vicente Stakes at seven-furlongs. The rest of the expected field does not look too strong, but don't forget, Creative Cause comes into the race off a two- month layoff while dropping back in distance. If he does indeed lose or fail to win impressively, the best time to bet Creative Cause might be in Pool 2.


Todd Pletcher has four of the 23 single entrants and two of them, Algorithms and El Padrino, were heavily bet. The former wound up as the 12-1 third choice behind Union Rags and the field, while the latter came in as the fourth overall choice at 16-1. It is interesting to note that only one of the last five non-field horses to win the Kentucky Derby paid less than $40 in Pool 1.

Pletcher's other two colts closed at very playable numbers.

Discreet Dancer may have distance limitations but he could be the most talented three-year-old in the country. His 30-1 odds are enormously juicy.

Gemologist has not gotten as much publicity as the other three horses but he could wind up being the Kentucky Derby winner. The reason for the lack of hype is his lack of activity as the son of Tiznow has not raced since winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last November. Furthermore, his first published workout of the year came on Feb. 5.

Gemologist could take a similar path to Kentucky as Super Saver did if he starts his three-year-old campaign in next month's Tampa Bay Derby. The other option is waiting another week for the Rebel Stakes. The undefeated colt wound up taking a lot of money over the last two days as he dropped to 22-1 after closing at 42-1 on Friday night.

The horse that took the most money since the first night was Take Charge Indy. The Patrick Byrne-trained colt was 30-1 on the morning line, jumped all the way up to 83-1 after Friday, and then closed at 42-1.

Hansen, who will make his next appearance in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, wound up at 26-1 after his poor performance over a sloppy track in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Even though he opened as the 12-1 third choice (of the single entrants), the 26-1 is still an underlay since it is doubtful he will be able to handle the 10-furlong trip in the Kentucky Derby.

Alpha closed at 19-1, a price that also looks to be a tad low considering how much of a head case he is at the starting gate. That attribute will not serve him well at Churchill Downs when the drone of over 150,000 screaming fans will be buzzing in his ears.

Union Rags is worthy of being the favorite (outside the field) as he gets ready for his first start of the year in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park later this month. However, he has a couple of question marks that need to be answered, such as his tendency to drift through the stretch, as well as a pedigree that might not be as effective at 1 1/4-miles.

As for the field, there are a few colts that stand out such as Spring Hill Farm, Sky Kingdom and Russian Greek, but it is best to wait until Pools 2 and 3 to see if they become single entrants. If they do, those pools would be the ones to bet on them, rather than taking the 3-2 odds they are currently saddled with.


1) Union Rags - Julien Leparoux replaces Javier Castellano in the saddle; 2) Algorithms - Castellano chooses Pletcher and Algorithms over Union Rags; 3) I'll Have Another - The Santa Anita Derby will be next; 4) Fed Biz - The buzz around Biz is abundant; 5) Gemologist - Still weeks away from his three-year- old debut; 6) Discreet Dancer - Needs to show he can handle two turns; 7) Alpha - The Wood Memorial is next; 8) Out of Bounds - Awaits the San Felipe in early March; 9) Creative Cause - Comes into the San Vicente off a smashing 6- furlong work; 10) El Padrino - The Risen Star is next; 11) Hansen - Heads to New York for the Gotham Stakes; 12) Empire Way - Will meet a tough field in the San Felipe.

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