02/14/2005 1:00AM

Field favored at 2-1 in Derby future bet


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A record handle for a Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool was established Sunday when the mutuel field closed as the 2-1 favorite, marking the seventh time in as many years that the field has been favored in the first of three pools.

Handle on Pool 1 was $620,362, including a record one-day handle of $346,159 on Sunday, the last of four days of wagering into the parimutuel, win-only pool. The previous record for any Derby Future Wager pool was $577,889 on Pool 1 in 2002.

The field, or the 24th and "all others" option among 24 separately listed wagering interests, once was as low as 2-5, having attracted a $25,000 wager during the first few hours of wagering Thursday.

Slowly, the odds on the field drifted upward, finally settling in as a clear-cut favorite over second-choice Declan's Moon (9-1), who is followed by Rockport Harbor (13-1), Afleet Alex (15-1), Roman Ruler (18-1), Harlington (19-1), and Sun King (19-1).

Field horses swept all five of the Derby preps run last weekend. Those winners were: Sort It Out in the Whirlaway at Aqueduct, Scipion in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds, General John B in the Turf Paradise Derby, Stellar Magic in the San Mateo Mile at Bay Meadows, and Fusaichi Rock Star in the San Vicente at Santa Anita.

If a Pool 1 field horse wins the 131st Derby on May 7 at Churchill Downs, the $2 win payoff will be $6.20. The field has been the Pool 1 favorite every year since Churchill inaugurated the future wager in 1999.

In a late change announced Saturday, Churchill extended its Sunday closing deadline for Pool 1 by 30 minutes to allow the results of the San Vicente to be considered during the final minutes of wagering. The pool was originally scheduled to close at 6 p.m. Eastern, but closed instead at 6:30. The San Vicente started at 6:13.

"We called an audible late Friday after we found out what time the San Vicente was set for," said Churchill vice president John Asher. "It only made sense to do it if we could. I think it worked out well."

Asher added that Churchill officials were "very happy" with the record handle on Pool 1.

Meanwhile, in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, Sweet Catomine closed as a slight favorite over the mutuel field. Both closed at 9-2, although $10,663 was bet on Sweet Catomine and $10,442 on the field. A winning wager in the May 6 Oaks on Sweet Catomine would pay $11; a field horse would return $11.20.

Handle on Oaks Pool 1 was $69,928, which exceeded the handle in any of three pools last year, the first year that Churchill handled Oaks futures to coincide with all three Derby pools. The first Oaks futures were offered in a single pool in April 2003, when a record $117,368 was bet.

Pool 2 for both the Derby and Oaks futures is set for March 10-13, and Pool 3 runs April 7-10.

Kentucky Derby Futures
Final payoffs, pool one

1Afleet Alex15-1
3Closing Argument50-1
5Declan's Moon9-1
6Galloping Grocer35-1
8Going Wild25-1
9Greater Good35-1
11High Fly25-1
12High Limit25-1
13Lost in the Fog21-1
14Proud Accolade35-1
15Rockport Harbor13-1
16Roman Ruler18-1
17Rush Bay60-1
18Spanish Chestnut35-1
19Storm Surge70-1
20Sun King19-1
21Sweet Catomine (f)21-1
24Field - All other 3yos 

* (f) - filly

Kentucky Oaks Futures
Final payoffs, pool one

2Cream Donut Keith25-1
4Hot Attraction45-1
5Hot Storm50-1
6In the Gold35-1
10More Moonlight45-1
11Play With Fire70-1
12Pussycat Doll25-1
13Quiet Honor60-1
14Right Daddy18-1
15Runway Model15-1
17Sense of Style30-1
18Sharp Lisa13-1
19Sis City9-1
20Splendid Blended11-1
22Sweet Catomine9-2
23The Beter Man Can99-1
24Field - All other 3yo fillies9-2