Updated on 09/17/2011 8:46PM

Field favored on early line, with Declan's Moon No. 2

Declan's Moon was pegged at 6-1, lowest odds among the 23 horses listed.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A trend established in the first six years of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager seems likely to hold true Thursday when the mutuel field will open as the morning-line favorite in the first of three pools in a four-day wager available in 35 states.

The mutuel field, or the "all others" option among the 24 available wagering interests, has closed as the Pool 1 favorite every year since Churchill Downs began offering the futures in 1999. And in the 24-entry lineup released Tuesday by Churchill Downs, the field once again was the favorite, at 3-1, on a line set by veteran oddsmaker Mike Battaglia. Right after the field comes Declan's Moon at 6-1 and Rockport Harbor at 8-1.

Among the other separate betting interests are Afleet Alex, Proud Accolade, and Roman Ruler, all listed at 12-1; Sweet Catomine, the lone filly in the lineup, at 20-1; and Wilko, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, and Lost in the Fog, the only one of the 23 listed interests not yet nominated to the Triple Crown, both at 30-1.

Battaglia said the wide-open nature of the Derby led him to again peg the field as the likely favorite. "The Kentucky Derby picture is always uncertain at this time of year, and there's no reason to believe that any of the individual horses in the first pool will attract enough support to supplant the mutuel field as the favorite," he said.

In some previous years, a huge wager has been placed on the field almost as soon as Pool 1 opened, making the field a lopsided favorite throughout the four-day wagering period. Pool 1 field horses have won three times in the six-year history of the Derby futures: Charismatic (in 1999), War Emblem (2002), and Smarty Jones (2004).

The major Derby prep races this weekend are the Risen Star at Fair Grounds, to be run Saturday, and the San Vicente at Santa Anita on Sunday. Santa Anita racing secretary Rick Hammerle said Tuesday that it had not yet been determined whether the San Vicente would be run before or after Pool 1 closes.

For the second year, Churchill is also offering Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pools to coincide with the three Derby pools.

For the Oaks, Battaglia made Sweet Catomine the 4-1 favorite, followed closely by the field at 5-1. Next in line, all at 10-1, are Balletto, Sis City, and Splendid Blended.

Both pools open Thursday at noon Eastern, with the Derby pool closing Sunday at 6 p.m. and the Oaks a half-hour later.

Pool 2 for both wagers is set for March 10-13, and Pool 3 will be offered April 7-10.

All future wagers are win-only, $2-minimum bets with a parimutuel takeout of 16 percent. Payoffs are predicated on the results of the Oaks and Derby, to be run on May 6 and 7, respectively, at Churchill. There are no refunds on horses withdrawn from the races, although a horse will be scratched if such a situation arises while a pool is still open.

The record aggregate Derby Futures handle of $1,503,806 was set in 2002, the same year a single-pool record of $577,889 was handled on Pool 1. Last year, the aggregate handle was $1,282,168. The Oaks wager has handled considerably less than the Derby in its brief history.

Horses for both future wagers were chosen by John Asher of Churchill Downs and Mike Watchmaker and Brad Free of Daily Racing Form.

DRF will publish past performances for all listed Derby horses in the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday editions this weekend, and PP's for all Oaks horses in the Sunday editions. Free PP downloads for the Derby and Oaks horses, as well as all 358 horses nominated to the Triple Crown, will be available at drf.com beginning Thursday.

Future Wager, pool 1

1Afleet Alex12-1
3Closing Argument20-1
5Declan's Moon6-1
6Galloping Grocer30-1
8Going Wild30-1
9Greater Good30-1
11High Fly20-1
12High Limit30-1
13Lost in the Fog*30-1
14Proud Accolade12-1
15Rockport Harbor8-1
16Roman Ruler12-1
17Rush Bay50-1
18Spanish Chestnut20-1
19Storm Surge30-1
20Sun King30-1
21Sweet Catomine (f)20-1
24All other 3-year-olds3-1

* not currently nominated to Visa Triple Crown;
(f) - filly; morning line odds by Mike Battaglia

Pool 1: Kentucky Derby Future Wager opens Thursday, 12 p.m. EST; closes Sunday, 6 p.m.; Kentucky Oaks Future Wager opens Thursday, noon Eastern, closes Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
Pool 2: March 10-13
Pool 3: April 7-10