05/16/2002 11:00PM

For future bettors, life beyond Derby

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With the Kentucky Derby future book already in the rear-view mirror, futures players can now turn their attention to the Breeders' Cup future book, which is available at Bally's and the Coast Resorts properties.

Race books for both companies have the Classic open and Bally's just opened the Distaff last week.

"The Distaff has only been up a week, so we've only taken a dozen bets," said John Avello, director of operations for race and sports at Bally's and Paris Las Vegas. "I'll get the Sprint open by next week at the latest."

War Emblem's surprise victory ensured a profitable future book for the Kentucky Derby. But as with any sports wager of player versus the house, you win some and you lose some.

"If War Emblem wins the Triple Crown, we'd lose that pool," said Frank Minervini, race handicapper for the Coast Resorts. "If any horse wins the Triple Crown, it'd be a loss. But as a racing fan, you'd like to see it happen."

Coast has some bets out on War Emblem winning the Triple Crown at 200-1 odds.

Action has been slow but steady with the Breeders' Cup still five months away on Oct. 26 at Arlington Park.

"People are making spot bets," said Minervini. "Repent took early action at 25-1 odds. He could rest up and come back. Street Cry (15-1) was active early. Customers are coming in now asking for horses."

"The Classic has quite a bit of money in the pot," said Avello. "It's been up for a while now. People like to wager on horses that are contenders for the Kentucky Derby. Therefore, some of the 3-year-olds have drawn money.

"Repent was a big player early. Mizzen Mast (7-1) and Macho Uno (10-1) are some of the older horses that have drawn money."

For the first time, the Breeders' Cup will offer a future bet on all eight championship races. The bet will look similar to Churchill Downs's Derby Future Wager. There will be 23 separate betting interests and a field entry.

Both Avello and Minervini like the competition.

"It's good for the town in general," said Avello. "It'll draw more attention to us and our players can shop for price."

"I think it's good for our players," said Minervini, "because you can lock in at our price if it's better than the other future book."

The Breeders' Cup will offer its future bet during the periods of July 4-7, Aug. 9-11, Aug. 30-Sept. 2, and Sept. 20-22. The Nevada Parimutuel Association must seek permission to offer the wager, but the precedent has already been established with the Derby Future Wager.

Richard Eng is the turf editor for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and host of the Race Day Las Vegas Wrap Up Show.