03/16/2009 12:27PM

From $103 to $84,250

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The inaugural Derby Futures Exacta pool attracted $104,017, which means that $84,250.80 will be paid out after takeout. That would also be the $2 payout on a #1/#20 ticket of Bear's Rocket and Take the Points if they run 1-2 on Derby Day, as only $2 worth of tickets were sold on that combo. By comparison, there was $1,636 invested on the #8/#24 ticket of Friesan Fire/Field, which would return $103 for $2.

You can find the will-pays for all 506 combos here. Below are the 10 highest and lowest will-pays:


By my count, out of the 506 possible combos, 25 are paying under $200 and 20 attracted $16 or less and are paying $10,000 or more. With such small amounts in play, there are minor inconsistencies and anomalies -- the exacta of Bear's Rocket over 29-1 Chocolate Candy is paying $7k, while a Bear's Rocket-Quality Road (14-1) is $21k -- but even with only $100k in the pool, the exactas pretty much mirror the win odds. Dunkirk(7-1) and The Pamplemousse (9-1) got hit a little harder in the win pool than the exactas, but combos involving those two along with the Field (9-2), Friesan Fire (8-1), Old Fashioned (8-1) and I Want Revenge (10-1) dominated the short-priced will-pays. While the field somewhat surprisingly went off the Pool 2 favorite, it wasn't wheeled as heavily as I expected -- 12 of the 44 permutations involving a #24 are paying $800 or more.

The results of Saturday's four Derby preps obviously altered the odds sharply, some more than others. Friesan Fire was widely perceived as the star of the day and went from 22-1 before his Louisiana Derby runaway to 8-1 at the close of betting. Horses who flopped in the Tampa Bay Derby were abandoned -- Hello Broadway went from 37-1 to 69-1 and General Quarters floated from 54-1 to 80-1. Pioneerofthenile's workmanlike victory in the San Felipe, however, only dropped him from 15-1 to 12-1, and Old Fashioned only inched up from 6-1 to 8-1 after being upset at 2-to-5 in the Rebel.

It may be worth remembering that both the Louisiana Derby and Rebel were run on drying-out tracks that may have been slowing down as the day went on. The Beyer figmakers split the variant at both tracks mid-day, moving up the later races a few points. That's why Rachel Alexandra received a 99 winning the Fair Ground Oaks three races before Friesan Fire got a 104 in the Louisiana Derby even though the filly ran only 0.09 seconds slower. (Comparing the two races is further complicated by Rachel Alexandra's being virtually eased in the final sixteenth, and by a timer malfunction that prevented a one-mile clocking in the Louisiana Derby.)

The bettors' relative forgiveness of Old Fashioned's defeat stems from the entirely plausible perception that the previously undefeated colt went too fast too early chasing Silver City, then understandably tired as Willy Win (who got a 102 BSF) came from the clouds to run him down. Old Fashioned was just off very quick early fractions of 22.54 and 46.07; one race earlier, solid older $50k claimers relatively loped in 23.54 and 47.74, and the two leaders in that race (both 6-1 shots) still faded to run next-to-last and last.

Pioneerof the Nile's fans will continue to believe he will prove faster than he looks when he heads east and hits dirt, but there's no way to make his San Felipe any better than the mediocre Beyer of 90 it received. Later on the card, Life is Sweet ran 9f in 1:48.71 winning the G1 Santa Margarita, 12 Beyer points higher than the San Felipe clocking of 1:43.35. The Tampa Bay Derby also got a 90, which looks square since 3-year-old fillies actually ran 0.02 seconds faster in the Florida Oaks two races earlier.