02/21/2017 12:36PM

Kentucky Derby Future Wager: Eight new names for Pool 3

Emily Shields
Royal Mo (right), on his way to winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita, is among the new wagering interests in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

Eight new names are among the separately listed wagering interests in Pool 3 of the 2017 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens Friday at noon Eastern. The only futures pool toward the 2017 Kentucky Oaks will coincide with the three-day wagering window.

The mutuel field, the 24th or “all others” option, is pegged by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia as a 4-1 morning-line favorite for Derby Pool 3, which closes Sunday at 6 p.m. Unique Bella is the 8-5 program choice in the Oaks pool, which closes a half-hour later.

The field closed as the 6-5 favorite in Pool 1, which ran Nov. 24-27, and the 5-2 favorite in Pool 2 (Jan. 27-29). Just nine horses have been separate interests in all three pools, including Classic Empire, who was the lowest individual price in the first two pools. Classic Empire and McCraken both are listed at 8-1 on the Pool 3 morning line as the lowest individual horses and are followed by Mastery (10-1), Irish War Cry (12-1), and six horses at 15-1.

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The new names for Pool 3 are Always Dreaming, Epicharis, Iliad, Local Hero, Malagacy, One Liner, Royal Mo, and Tapwrit.

Total handle in Pool 2, including exactas, was $332,042, down 25 percent from the corresponding pool in 2016. Total handle for Pool 3 last year was $328,108, down 22 percent from 2015. The record for aggregate handle for an entire year remains $1,665,990, set in 2005.

The lone Derby prep race this weekend is the Risen Star Stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds. Three horses listed in Pool 3 are entered: Mo Town, Guest Suite, and Local Hero.

Last year, Nyquist closed at 7-1 in Pool 3 before winning the Derby as the 2-1 favorite.

Derby Pool 4 will be held March 31-April 2.

In the Oaks pool, Unique Bella is followed on the morning line by the field (8-1), Abel Tasman (10-1), It Tiz Well (12-1), and Valadorna (12-1). Oaks preps this week are the UAE Oaks in Dubai on Thursday, and the Busher at Aqueduct and Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds, both Saturday.

Last year, Cathryn Sophia was the 5-1 second choice in the futures before returning $11.40 on Oaks Day. Songbird, who missed the Oaks because of illness, was the 7-10 favorite in the futures. Total handle was $104,002, including exactas.

Derby futures were first offered by Churchill Downs in 1999, with an Oaks pool added in 2003.

Win and exacta wagering are available at a $2 minimum, although exactas can be split into $1 increments in boxes or part-wheels. In the case of field horses filling both exacta slots, the next-best finish by a separately listed horse will count toward the winning combination. Odds are not locked in until the pools close.

Real-time odds and will-pays are available through various modes, including on television monitors at tracks and wagering outlets, as well as at kentuckyderby.com.

The 143rd Oaks and Derby are set for May 5 and 6, respectively.