01/24/2006 12:00AM

Future comes early this year

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Folklore, the champion juvenile filly, is expected to lead the Oaks bet's individual interests.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The eighth Kentucky Derby Future Wager opens Thursday for a four-day run, the earliest opening date since Churchill Downs officials began offering parimutuel futures on their signature race in 1999.

Last year, Pool 1 of the future wager was held Feb. 10-13, its customary calendar slot. Since Churchill has a policy of separating the three pools in the annual future wager by at least four weeks, and with the Super Bowl to be played on Feb. 5 this year, company officials decided to go to the earlier opening dates.

"We didn't think it advisable to go up against the Super Bowl, and if you go another week into February, you start bunching up the pools," said John Asher, Churchill's vice president of racing communications. "We also couldn't peg Pool 1 on the Risen Star as we would have liked to do, obviously because of the Fair Grounds situation."

The Risen Star was run Jan. 14 this year, rescheduled as part of the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs that was prompted by Hurricane Katrina.

"Clearly we're in new territory by starting out in January," said Asher, "but with this being our eighth year, the future wager is a known quantity, a brand name. Knowledgeable fans know it's there, and they're going to be ready for it. Pool 1 is always our strongest of the three pools, and in fact last year we attracted a record handle for any single pool. Hopefully there'll be very strong interest again this year."

Pool 1 handled $620,362 last year.

As always, the Pool 1 wagering lineups for both the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks will consist of 23 separate interests, with the mutuel field, or "all others," being the 24th and final option. The field has closed as the favorite every year in every Pool 1, and Churchill's linemaker, Mike Battaglia, once again has made the field the morning-line choice at 4-1.

After the field, the 3-year-olds likely to draw the most action include Stevie Wonderboy, Brother Derek, and First Samurai.

As for the Oaks, the field also figures to be a solid favorite, with perhaps juvenile filly champion Folklore a distant second choice. The Oaks Futures historically have attracted a far lower handle than the Derby.

Pool 2 for both the Derby and Oaks futures is set for March 2-5, and Pool 3 for April 6-9.

Future-bet results are predicated on the finishes of the 132nd Kentucky Oaks and Derby, set for May 5 and 6, respectively. The futures are nonrefundable, win-only wagers with a $2 minimum. As with any parimutuel wager, odds will change throughout the week, with final odds established at the time of closing Sunday evening. The Derby wager closes at 6 p.m. Eastern, a half-hour before the Oaks.

Asher, in conjunction with Brad Free and Mike Watchmaker of Daily Racing Form, is responsible for selecting the futures lineups.

Future wagers

DERBY POOL 1

NO.HORSELINE
1A.P. Warrior20-1
2Achilles of Troy30-1
3Barbaro20-1
4Barbican30-1
5Blazing Rate30-1
6Bluegrass Cat20-1
7Bob and John20-1
8Brother Derek10-1
9Cause to Believe20-1
10Doctor Decherd15-1
11First Samurai10-1
12Flashy Bull30-1
13Half Ours30-1
14Henny Hughes20-1
15High Cotton20-1
16Itsallboutthechase20-1
17Keyed Entry30-1
18Lawyer Ron20-1
19Point Determined30-1
20Private Vow15-1
21Sorcerer's Stone30-1
22Stevie Wonderboy8-1
23Your Tent Or Mine15-1
24All Other 3 YO's4-1

OAKS POOL 1

NO.HORSEM.L. ODDS
1Adieu15-1
2Baghdaria30-1
3Balance15-1
4Better Now30-1
5Celestial Legend20-1
6Dance Daily30-1
7Daytime Promise30-1
8Diplomat Lady12-1
9Ex Caelis30-1
10Folklore8-1
11French Park15-1
12Itty Bitty Pretty20-1
13Original Spin30-1
14Sabatini30-1
15Seam Seeker30-1
16Sensation15-1
17Silvestris30-1
18Somethinaboutbetty30-1
19Sugar Swirl30-1
20Wait A While20-1
21Wild Fit12-1
22Wonder Lady Anne L15-1
23Yachats20-1
24All Other 3 YO Fillies7-2