02/15/2002 1:00AM

Field still Derby future pick


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The mutuel field continued to be a solid favorite Friday in the first of three pools of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, settling in at 3-2 odds as of 6:20 p.m. Eastern. Betting on Friday was to remain open until 10 p.m. Eastern.

The field consists of all 3-year-olds except the 23 specifically listed in the Pool 1 lineup. Johannesburg continued as the 7-1 second choice, followed by Siphonic (9-1), Repent (11-1), Saarland (17-1) and Came Home (17-1). The handle was $131,859.

The future wager is on track to easily set a record handle. At the close of business Thursday, the first day of Pool 1, the handle was $60,500. Last year, the handle on the first day was $43,318.

The future wager is a win-only bet predicated on results of the 128th Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs. Wagering is available at outlets in 34 states. California is among the new jurisdictions this year.

Pool 1 closes Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. Pool 2 will be held March 14-17, and Pool 3 is set for April 4-7.