03/11/2004 1:00AM

Field a 6-1 early favorite


Early interest in Pool 2 of the Derby and Oaks future wagers being offered this weekend by Churchill Downs was relatively light after windows opened Thursday at noon Eastern.

As of 5:30 p.m. Eastern, $17,396 had been bet into the Kentucky Derby futures, while just $2,942 was bet on the Kentucky Oaks futures. At that early juncture, the mutuel field, or the "all others" option, was a lukewarm 6-1 favorite in Derby Pool 2, followed by Birdstone (8-1), Wimbledon (9-1), and Read the Footnotes (10-1).

In the Oaks pool, Halfbridled was the 5-2 favorite, followed by Madcap Escapade (7-1), A.P. Adventure (10-1), and Ashado (11-1). Before wagering began, Churchill officials scratched Eye Dazzler from the Oaks futures when it became known the filly had been sidelined by injury.

Trainer Mark Hennig said Eye Dazzler was scheduled to have a knee chip removed Thursday and will be out until late summer or early fall. Eye Dazzler, owned by Lee Lewis, most recently ran second in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park in February.

Both pools close Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.