02/27/2014 5:42PM

Kentucky Derby Future Wager: Field is strong favorite early in Pool 3

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The mutuel field, the 24th or “all others” option, was in the familiar spot as the favorite during the opening hours of wagering in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which began a three-day run Thursday at noon Eastern.

As of 4:30 p.m., and with $22,945 in the win pool, the field was the 2-1 favorite, followed by Cairo Prince (11-1), Honor Code (14-1), Candy Boy (14-1), Shared Belief (15-1), and five more between 16-1 and 19-1. Another $6,573 had been bet in the exacta pool.

Pool 3 coincides with the only Kentucky Oaks future pool of the season. The Oaks opened with Onlyforyou as a surprisingly low 2-1 favorite, followed by Ria Antonia (8-1), Unbridled Forever (8-1), Untapable (8-1), and Dame Dorothy (10-1). There was $6,436 in the win pool.

Both pools will close Saturday at post time for the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, which is set for 4:17 p.m. Eastern. The Gotham is the only prep race with Derby points (50 to the winner) this weekend.

The field closed as the 4-5 favorite in Pool 1, held Nov. 27-30, and the 3-2 favorite in Pool 2 (Feb. 6-8).

This is the first year Churchill has had four futures pools for the Derby. Last fall, Churchill moved Pool 1 into a preceding calendar year for the first time. Pool 4 will be held in another four weeks, from March 27-29.

Historically, the futures pool held at this time of year (formerly Derby Pool 2, and now Pool 3) has attracted lighter handle than those preceding and following it. Handle on the comparable 2013 pool was $407,038. The record for a comparable pool is $511,655, set in 2005.

Real-time odds and exacta will-pays are available on selected monitors at tracks and wagering outlets where futures are offered, as well as on kentuckyderby.com.

Minimum wagers are $2 to win and $2 for exactas, although $1 boxes or part-wheels may be used to reach that $2 exacta minimum.

As with any parimutuel wager, odds are not locked in until the pool closes. There are no refunds.

The Oaks and Derby will be run May 2 and 3.

Daily Racing Form will be running the past performances of the 23 Derby horses in Pool 3 in all print editions through Saturday.