03/10/2005 12:00AM

Afleet Alex early Future pick

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Afleet Alex opened as the 4-1 favorite amid relatively light betting in the opening hours of wagering into Pool 2 of the , which began its four-day run Thursday at noon Eastern.

As of 5:40 p.m., Afleet Alex was slightly favored over Lost in the Fog (5-1), Rockport Harbor (5-1), Declan's Moon (8-1), the mutuel field (10-1), and Sun King (11-1). Handle was $33,643.

The field, or the "all others" option among 24 wagering interests, closed as the 2-1 favorite in Pool 1, conducted Feb. 10-13. Handle for Pool 1 was a record $620,362.

Pool 2 traditionally has drawn the lightest handle of the three pools since Churchill Downs began offering parimutuel futures in 1999. Pool 3 is set for April 7-10.

Meanwhile, in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Oaks futures, Sweet Catomine opened as the 3-1 favorite over the field (7-1), Sharp Lisa (8-1), and Sis City (9-1). Handle was a mere $2,674.

The Derby futures close Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern, and the Oaks futures close 30 minutes later.