04/30/2008 11:00PM

Big Brown closes at 5-2 in futures

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LAS VEGAS – When the Kentucky Derby field was drawn Wednesday and the morning line was set, it simultaneously closed the future book at Wynn Las Vegas.

The Wynn doesn't have the only future book in town, but it was the first to go up last September and, while future-book handle isn't released for individual properties, it's surely the one that wrote the most Derby action in this town. As such, it's a good barometer for where the betting public (and even owners and trainers who pass through town) are putting their money.

A check of the closing odds should also provide a hint of how the money might flow leading up to Saturday's race. Big Brown closed as the 5-2 favorite at Wynn, so expect him to drop from his morning line odds of3-1 unless people are scared off by the No. 20 post or the addition of front bandages. Colonel John was the second choice at 5-1, followed by Pyro (6-1), Court Vision (10-1, half of his 20-1 ML), Gayego (10-1), Monba (12-1), Tale of Ekati (15-1), Visionaire (18-1), Cowboy Cal and Z Fortune (both at 20-1), the filly Eight Belles and Adriano (25-1), Denis of Cork (30-1), Recapturetheglory and Smooth Air (35-1), Big Truck and Bob Jack Black (40-1), and Cool Coal Man, ZoHumor, and Anak Nakal (50-1).

Where are they now?

So, you might be wondering, who was the favorite when the 2008 Kentucky Derby future book opened at the Wynn on Sept. 14, 2007? The answer to that trivia question is Majestic Warrior at 40-1.

He won't be making it to the starting gate, but he's not alone. In fact, there were 11 horses that opened at less than 100-1 and only one made it to the entry box. To win a bar bet, you'll need to know that the sole survivor is Tale of Ekati, who opened at 75-1. The others to go by the wayside were Sargent Seattle, Slew's Tiznow, The Leopard, Kodiak Kowboy, Gold Coyote, J Be K, Maimonides, Stand Pat, and The Roundhouse.

Besides Tale of Ekati, the only other horses in the field to make it from the original list of 90 are Adriano (opened at 150-1), Big Brown (175-1), Big Truck (100-1), Pyro (125-1), and Z Humor (125-1).

Vegas bettors get their props

Okay, so much for bets that are long gone. While bettors at tracks from coast to coast can bet the pari-mutuel pools, one of the best things about being in Las Vegas for the big race is the proposition wagers that the casinos book themselves.

* Wynn opened the over/under for the winning mutuel at $16.70, and the money has come in on the over, probably because no more than three of the 20 horses will pay less than that. As of Thursday morning it was -140 (risk $1.40 for every $1 you want to profit) on the over and +120 (win $1.20 for every $1 wagered) on the under. Station Casinos went with $19 and -115 each way.

* The time of the race is set at 2:02.20, which is always subject to change with the possibility of rain in the forecast.

o When props were first posted last week, the odds of the winning saddlecloth being odd or even was -110 both ways. After the draw, with more major contenders drawing even numbers, including the top two choices, Big Brown and Colonel John, even was raised to -300 and odd offered at +250.

* Another Vegas-only bet is the twin quinella, in which bettors try to hit the quinella in two separate races, one of which will be the Derby. The Station Casinos will guarantee a $20,000 pool.

* Looking further ahead, the Wynn has the odds of there being a Triple Crown winner at +650, with the price at -850 if you want to bet against it. Odds are also posted on each individual horse's chances to sweep the series. Big Brown has the lowest odds at 10-1 (bet down from 20-1 when the prop opened a month ago), with Colonel John 35-1, Pyro 40-1, and the pair of Court Vision and Gayego at 75-1. Those are the only horses below triple digits.

Winchell's will be focused on Pyro

Everyone knows that the race and sports books here in Vegas will be packed for the race. The Orleans, South Point, and Golden Nugget are among the ones that are also holding public parties in big ballrooms.

However, at most local sports bars in town, it might be like everywhere else where the bartender needs to be reminded to switch on NBC in time for the race for the customers with an interest other than baseball and basketball.

That won't be the case at the two Winchell's Pub & Grills in town - one at 10620 Eastern Ave. in Henderson and the other at 5445 Simmons St. in North Las Vegas.

The race will be mandatory viewing there because they are owned by Las Vegas resident Ron Winchell, who was in Louisville on Wednesday putting the Winchell Thoroughbred LLC colors on the No.9 peg in the post-position draw for their homebred Pyro.

The stable was founded by Verne Winchell, best known for his chain of doughnut shops and later for being the CEO of Denny's. He died in 2002, but his widow, Joan, and son Ron have carried on the family racing business. The family's biggest moment to date was Summerly winning the 2005 Kentucky Oaks. Tapit won the 2004 Wood Memorial and finished ninth in that year's Derby.

* My Derby top four: Colonel John, Pyro, Court Vision, and ZoFortune.

* For visitors to Las Vegas who haven't made up their minds and read this online or in an advance copy on Friday, there is a seminar at Sam's Town at 6 p.m. Friday with Gordon Jones, Patrick McQuiggan, John Kelly, and Mike Willman. The same crew will be on the "Track Talk" show at 7:30 a.m. Saturday on KLAV AM-1230 (and samstownlv.com) from 8-10 a.m.

* Also on Saturday, the "Raceday Las Vegas" radio show will air on KSHP AM-1400 (kshp.com) live from The Orleans, with host Ralph Siraco and Jon Lindo also doing a seminar in the Mardi Gras Ballroom after the program.