11/26/2014 12:53PM

Field at 3-5 for Pool 1 of Derby Future Wager

Shigeki Kikkawa
American Pharoah, this year's FrontRunner Stakes winner, is listed at 12-1 in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Last fall, when Churchill Downs tried a future wager pool in late November for the first time, only one of the 23 separately listed horses eventually made it to the 2014 Kentucky Derby: Ride On Curlin, who ran seventh at 17-1. The “all others” option returned an all-time low of $3.60 for a $2 win bet.

Based on those results, along with a combined handle of just $273,174, it was neither an artistic nor financial success.

But whom did it hurt? And why not try it again?

“We felt we were unlucky in how it unfolded, with seriously good horses such as Honor Code, Shared Belief, Cairo Prince, and some others getting injured along the way,” said John Asher, longtime Churchill vice president for communications. “You don’t expect too many to make the Derby that far out, but you also don’t expect the way this particular one turned out.”

That said, Churchill is giving November another chance, as Pool 1 in the 2015 Kentucky Derby Future Wager opens Friday at noon Eastern.

“After just one year, we didn’t want to abandon the concept,” said Asher. “Personally, I always thought the Thanksgiving weekend and the interest you have in races such as the Kentucky Jockey Club and the Remsen lends itself to a futures pool. We think fans want it, so we’re happy to give it another try. Obviously, we hope the interest steps up a bit, that it grows, and that some of these horses we’ve got listed develop into major contenders.”

Pool 1 will run through Sunday at 6 p.m. For all four futures pools last year, the wagering window was Thursday until post time of the first major Derby prep being run that Saturday, but Churchill is reverting this year to Friday through Sunday.

Win and exacta wagering are available. In the case of field horses filling both exacta slots, the next-best finish by a separately listed horse will count toward the winning combination. Last year, the Pool 1 exacta was the field over Ride On Curlin (24-18), paying $207 for $2.

Names for Pool 1 became known Tuesday, and to no one’s surprise, the mutuel field, the 24th or “all others” option, is the 3-5 morning-line favorite. American Pharoah is the second choice at 12-1, with Texas Red next at 15-1 and the rest at 20-1 or higher. Todd Pletcher has five of the 23 named, and Bob Baffert has four.

The list of 23 includes Calculator, believed to be the first maiden on a futures list, and The Great War, who has undergone a trainer switch to Wesley Ward after finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for Aidan O’Brien.

The dates for the three remaining 2015 pools are Feb. 6-8, Feb. 27 to March 1, and March 27-29. A single Kentucky Oaks pool will coincide with the second of those three. The future wager is available through most North American outlets and advance-deposit wagering sites.

Last year, even with an expansion to four pools, handle slumped. Aggregate handle was $1,324,466, whereas in 2013, with just three pools, the total was $1,430,699. The record aggregate of $1,665,990 was set in 2005.

Meanwhile, Churchill will ask the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission next week for permission to offer a permutation on the futures concept with a “Derby Sire Future Wager.” Asher said such as an offering is in the exploratory stage, with payoffs predicated on the order of finish according to sire.

“We’re always looking for new angles and changes,” said Asher. “Just because we haven’t made a lot in 17 years doesn’t mean we’re not looking.”

Futures Pool 1 BOX
(No., Horse, trainer, CD M/L)
1. American Pharoah, B.Baffert, 12-1
2. Blofeld, T.Pletcher, 20-1
3. Calculator, P.Miller, 20-1
4. Carpe Diem, T.Pletcher, 20-1
5. Classy Class, K.McLaughlin, 50-1
6. Competitive Edge, T.Pletcher, 20-1
7. Daredevil, T.Pletcher, 20-1
8. Dortmund, B.Baffert, 50-1
9. Eagle, N.Howard, 50-1
10. El Kabeir, J.Terranova, 50-1
11. Frosted, K.McLaughlin, 50-1
12. I Spent It, A.Dutrow, 50-1
13. Imperia, K.McLaughlin, 50-1
14. Lord Nelson, B.Baffert, 30-1
15. Lucky Player, S.Asmussen, 50-1
16. Mr. Z, D.Lukas, 30-1
17. Ocho Ocho Ocho, J.Cassidy, 20-1
18. Ostrolenka, T.Pletcher, 50-1
19. Punctuate, B.Baffert, 50-1
20. Texas Red, K.Desormeaux, 15-1
21. The Great War, W.Ward, 30-1
22. Unblunted, M.McCarthy, 50-1
23. Upstart, R.Violette, 20-1
24. Mutuel field (all others), n/a, 3-5