04/10/2006 12:00AM

Brother Derek, 5-1, the Future favorite


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Brother Derek closed as a clear-cut favorite Sunday evening in the third and final pool of the 2006 , which drew a final-pool total of $454,743, third-highest in the eight-year history of the futures.

Off his emphatic triumph in the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, Brother Derek closed as the 5-1 favorite and would return $12.60 if he wins the 132nd Kentucky Derby on May 6 at Churchill Downs.

Next in line were Lawyer Ron (8-1), Barbaro (9-1), Discreet Cat (9-1), and Sweetnorthernsaint (10-1). Easily the biggest odds shift throughout the four days of wagering was on Sweetnorthernsaint, who stood at 35-1 on Saturday before he romped to victory in the Illinois Derby.

The mutuel field, the "all others" alternative to the separately listed wagering interests, closed at 15-1. In each of the first two pools, conducted Jan. 26-29 and March 2-5, the field closed as the 3-1 favorite.

The Pool 3 handle brought the aggregate handle to $1,471,606 for all three pools. The record of $1,665,990 was set last year.

Achilles of Troy was scratched from Derby consideration before Pool 3 wagering began Thursday, leaving 22 separate interests.

Meanwhile, Balance closed as the favorite in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which also closed Sunday evening following a four-day run. Although Balance was soundly defeated Saturday in the Ashland Stakes, fans still made her their 4-1 favorite over Wild Fit (8-1), Bushfire (9-1), Teammate (10-1), and the field (12-1). French Park was withdrawn from Oaks consideration early Friday, leaving 22 separate interests. (On Monday, Wild Fit was announced as sidelined with an infection and out of Oaks consideration.)

Oaks Pool 3 handle was $51,212, yielding a total of $171,814 for three pools. Churchill began offering Oaks futures in 2003 with just one pool, then expanded to three pools the following year. The highest aggregate during those years was $172,479 in 2005.