05/03/2012 10:07AM

2012 Kentucky Derby: Futures wager provides bargains, underlays


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - As usual, the way the Churchill toteboard looks when the Derby runners enter the starting gate Saturday will provide a fascinating contrast to how betting unfolded through the winter and spring in the three pools of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

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The mutuel field, the 24th or “all others” option, has a fairly strong contingent from Pool 1, when it was bet down to 3-2 favorite. Among the eight Derby starters (none of these statistics include My Adonis, the lone also-eligible) in the Pool 1 field are Bodemeister, Daddy Nose Best, and Went the Day Well. The mutuel field gets a little thinner for Pool 2 (seven runners at 3-1, no Bodemeister), and even more so for Pool 3 (just three runners at 6-1, all longshots).

Several horses figure to be much lower odds Saturday than what some of their futures odds were. Among those potential major overlays are Bodemeister (29-1 P2, 22-1 P3), Dullahan (40-1 P1, 26-1 P2, 23-1 P3), Take Charge Indy (42-1 P1, 38-1 P2), Gemologist (22-1 P1, 23-1 P3), and Hansen (26-1 P1).

Conversely, there are some horses whose Derby odds might well be higher than in the futures, including Union Rags (4-1 P2, 9-2 P3), Creative Cause (8-1 P3), Hansen (9-1 P2, 8-1 P3), El Padrino (16-1 P1, 12-1 P2, 24-1 P3), and Optimizer (22-1 P3).

Churchill has had parimutuel futures every year since 1999. This year the pools were offered during the three-day periods of Feb. 10-12, March 2-4, and March 30-April 1. The aggregate handle, including exactas, was $1,470,019, fourth-highest in the 14-year history of the futures. Exactas were first offered in 2009.