09/18/2002 12:00AM

Last shot at future bet

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With six weeks remaining until the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park on Oct. 26, bettors will get their final opportunity to make parimutuel future wagers on the event, beginning Friday, with the future pools.

The Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies will be the final races offered in a summer-long series of future bets implemented by Breeders' Cup for the first time this year. Betting - to win only with no refunds - will open on Friday at 1 p.m. Eastern and close on Sunday at 7 p.m. Eastern.

The field has been made the morning-line favorite in both pools by Daily Racing Form National Handicapper Mike Watchmaker, at 5-1 in the Juvenile and 4-1 in the Juvenile Fillies. In each pool, 23 individual horses are also listed.

"The field has been supported pretty strongly in most of [the future] bets, in every division, and even as late as it is, this division is more unsettled than most," Watchmaker said.

In the Juvenile, the morning-line favorite among the individual horses at 6-1 is Sky Mesa, winner of the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 31. He is followed by Vindication, the winner of the Kentucky Cup Juvenile, at 8-1. No other colt is listed at single digits.

In the Juvenile Fillies, Storm Flag Flying, the runaway winner of the Matron Stakes at Belmont in her last start, is listed at 6-1. Awesome Humor, winner of the Spinaway Stakes, is next at 8-1. No other filly is below 10-1.

"This is a pool that is going to offer tremendous value, maybe more so than any other pool to this point," said Ken Kirchner, the vice president of product development for Breeders' Cup. "I can see someone really liking a horse at 20-1 and making a nice play on it."

Both the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies will be run at 1 1/8 miles this year because of the configuration of the Arlington Park track. The Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies are normally run at 1 1/16 miles.

Breeders' Cup last offered a future bet over the Labor Day weekend at the beginning of September, taking approximately $150,000 in wagers on the Classic, Distaff, and Sprint. The Classic pool closed on a sour note for many bettors when Street Cry, the 6-1 favorite, was retired just 14 hours after the betting closed.

Kirchner said that Breeders' Cup has not modified any of its procedures in response to the incident.

"This is a bet that carries risk," Kirchner said. "It goes back to us trying to identify horses that have raced within the last week or two or have published workouts. That's the best we can do right now. As you know, most trainers are not interested in talking about the health of their horses, but we hope that if something changes, they give us a call."