05/04/2017 1:26PM

Always Dreaming may be best bargain of Derby Future Wager

Barbara D. Livingston
Always Dreaming trains at Churchill Downs on April 27.

As always, there are overlays and underlays for bettors who took a shot in any of the four pools in the 2017 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

Perhaps the best bargain came in Pool 3, when Always Dreaming closed at 42-1. The colt likely will be no worse than the third choice Saturday.

Another likely favorite, Irish War Cry, was 26-1, 26-1, 7-1, and 21-1 in the four pools. The 7-1 came after he won the Holy Bull, and the 21-1 came after he ran poorly in the Fountain of Youth (and before he rebounded in the Wood Memorial).

State of Honor, who figures in the 40-1 range Saturday, was 198-1 in Pool 2 and 175-1 in Pool 3. Untrapped was 105-1 in Pool 2. Battle of Midway was 64-1 in Pool 4.

Conversely, some horses closed at odds that probably will be lower than their post-time odds Saturday, particularly in Pool 4, in which McCraken was 5-1, Gunnevera was 9-1, Tapwrit was 10-1, and Girvin was 17-1.

The futures pools were offered Nov. 24-27, Jan. 27-29, Feb. 24-26, and March 31 to April 2. Derby sire futures were offered concurrent with Pool 1 for the second straight year, and the biggest overlay from that is Bodemeister (the sire of Always Dreaming) at 30-1.

In order, the odds on the mutuel field, the 24th or “all others” option, in the four pools were 6-5, 5-2, 5-1, and 11-1. Only six horses were individual interests in all four: Gunnevera, Classic Empire, McCraken, Irish War Cry, Gormley, and Practical Joke.

Aggregate handle on the four pools, plus the sire futures, was $1,264,012. The record handle for the future wager is $1,665,990, set in 2005 with just three pools.

Churchill Downs has offered parimutuel futures every year since 1999.

A Dragon Killer’s mark likely safe

Most everyone seems to agree that Fast and Accurate will be the longest shot in the 143rd Derby, but it’s doubtful he’ll be the first horse in 16 years to be 99-1 on the Churchill tote board – and there’s no way he’ll approach the Derby record for highest odds.

The last time a Derby starter was triple-digit odds was 2001, when Startac ran 10th at 102-1 and Arctic Boy was 12th at 102-1.

The longest shot in Derby history was A Dragon Killer, who finished seventh of 14 at a whopping 294-1 behind Tim Tam in 1958.

Wide menu of wagers

There’s the usual betting smorgasbord available to bettors on the 14-race Saturday card, including these offerings: three 50-cent pick fives (races 3-7, 8-12, 10-14), four 50-cent pick fours (races 2-5, 5-8, 9-12, 11-14), a $2 Single 6 (races 7-12), a $1 Super High Five on the Derby (race 12), and the familiar array of rolling doubles, pick threes, and all the vertical wagers.

Superfectas are normally available at 10-cent increments, but not on Oaks and Derby Days, when a $1 minimum is in effect.

If the Single 6 goes unswept on Derby Day, as happened last year, Churchill will disperse half the pool on consolation tickets while saving the other half for when racing resumes here Thursday to seed a jackpot pool. The Single 6 becomes a 20-cent bet after Derby Day.

Derby tradition continues

Tradition is huge around Derby time, and one that Danny Bell has now maintained for a quarter-century is his annual pig roast alongside Barn 39 on the Churchill backside.

“We had our first one in 1993,” said Bell, 66. “I imagine we’ve fed hundreds and hundreds of people. It’s a great time, and everybody looks forward to it.”