02/10/2006 12:00AM

Many Pool 1 bets already look bad

Bill Denver/EquiPhotos
After winning the Hutcheson with a 110 Beyer, Keyed Entry's potential Pool 1 payoff of $109.60 appears generous.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Horse racing is a sport that attracts opinionated people. Two weeks ago, some of them were brave enough to bet money on their selection in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Many of them have already learned an important lesson about taking low odds on individual betting interests in the Kentucky Derby Futures in January.


During the first 12 days after the pool closed, two of the 23 individual betting interests (nearly 9 percent of the field), have already fallen by the wayside. Stevie Wonderboy, the close second choice at 8-1 among the individual betting interests with $50,168 bet on him, has been injured, as has Sorcerer's Stone, who attracted $9,982 in bets. Combined, they represent $60,150 of lost money, which is nearly 11 percent of the $552,627 pool.

First Samurai, who was the favorite among the individual betting interests with $51,600, is still healthy. But those who bet him down to 7-1 might not be feeling very well after watching him finish second as the 3-5 favorite in the 7 1/2-furlong Hutcheson last weekend. The fact that First Samurai was unable to outkick Keyed Entry, a front-runner who carved out a scorching pace of 44.10 seconds and 1:07.61, raises concerns about First Samurai's ability to thrive going 1 1/4 miles. If those doubts turn out to be valid that would mean a total of $111,750, which is slightly more than 20 percent of the money bet on Pool 1, is either already lost or on shaky ground.

On paper, Point Determined, the seventh betting choice among the individual interests, figured to make short work of a first-level allowance field as the 2-5 favorite at Santa Anita on Feb. 3. He finished a non-threatening second behind One Union, however. Although a rebound is possible, his failure to beat allowance company means that his $39.80 potential payoff is now an underlay. I will add the $23,280 bet on him to the not-looking-so-good side of the ledger.

Fortunately, there was some good news for value-seeking bettors. Other contenders listed individually in Pool 1 were either offered at surprisingly good odds, or have since run well enough to make them look like good investments.

Barbaro was less impressive in his win over a sloppy track in the Holy Bull than he had been in his three turf victories, but that fact that he remained undefeated despite the surface switch is a positive sign for bettors who are hoping to collect a potential $40.20 payoff from Pool 1. Improvement is possible on a fast track.

Bob and John won as expected as the 2-5 favorite in a five-horse field in the Sham at Santa Anita, and kept hope alive for fans who are dreaming of the $65.40 payoff that awaits them if he wins the Derby.

Brother Derek hasn't raced since Pool 1, but he still looks like an overlay at $35.

Keyed Entry, who set the ridiculously fast pace in the Hutcheson, and still held First Samurai safe down the stretch, is now unbeaten in three races. He owns a career-best 110 Beyer, and might continue to improve with experience. He will have to rate much more kindly than he did in the Hutcheson, but with a potential $109.60 payoff to look forward to, his supporters can afford to cross their fingers and roll the dice on the distance question.

Lawyer Ron hasn't started since his dominant win in the Risen Star, but his $44 price offered betting value.

Your Tent or Mine hasn't raced since his contending second-place finish behind Brother Derek in the Hollywood Futurity, but his $45.80 payoff looks like a bargain.

The most cashable overlay from Pool 1 will pay only $8 if it wins. But with Stevie Wonderboy out, with First Samurai showing signs of weakness, and with the likelihood of new, interesting contenders who were not among the individual betting interests in Pool 1 emerging each week, the field is looking like an excellent bet at that price.