04/06/2005 11:00PM

Godolphin colt slim early pick

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Blues and Royals, the colt owned by Godolphin Racing who won the UAE Derby by 12 lengths two weeks ago in Dubai, opened as a slight favorite during the early hours of wagering into Pool 3 of the , which began its four-day run Thursday at noon Eastern.

As of 5 p.m. Eastern, Blues and Royals was the 7-1 favorite over the mutuel field, also 7-1. The field, the "all others" alternative to 23 separately listed betting interests, closed as the favorite in Pool 1 in February and Pool 2 in March.

The other top choices in early betting Thursday were High Limit (8-1), High Fly (10-1), Sweet Catomine (10-1), Consolidator (12-1), and Sun King (12-1). Real-time odds are available at www.kentuckyderby.com.

Handle at the time was $21,388. Churchill Downs officials are expecting the heaviest wagering after several key Derby preps Saturday.

In Pool 3 of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, Sweet Catomine was the early 2-1 favorite after just $2,859 in handle.