05/05/2016 12:40PM

More underlays than bargains in Kentucky Derby Future Wager

Barbara D. Livingston
Bettors who went for Gun Runner in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager got 57-1 odds, far higher than he figures to be on Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – With the 142nd Kentucky Derby upon us, overlays and underlays abound in the four Derby futures pools that were offered by Churchill Downs in preceding months.

The pools ran Nov. 26-29, Feb. 12-14, March 11-13, and April 1-3, with aggregate handle totaling $1,379,356.

The biggest overlays are in Pool 1, with Nyquist (9-1), Exaggerator (25-1), and Gun Runner (57-1). In Pool 2, Tom’s Ready was 83-1, and Whitmore was 81-1, and neither will be that high Saturday. In Pool 4, Exaggerator had yet to win the Santa Anita Derby and could be had at 27-1.

Underlays were easier to find in an analysis of the futures, with Mohaymen being the worst buy. He was just 4-1 in Pool 2 and was the 7-2 favorite in Pool 3.

Other horses whose odds might well be higher Saturday than in some of the futures include Mor Spirit (P2, 12-1; P3, 12-1; P4, 11-1), Danzing Candy (P3, 17-1; P4, 16-1), Shagaf (P3, 14-1; P4, 17-1), Mo Tom (P3, 15-1; P4, 17-1), Suddenbreakingnews (P3, 14-1), and Lani (P4, 25-1).

Only five horses were among the 23 separately listed entries in all four pools: Exaggerator, Gun Runner, Mohaymen, Mor Spirit, and Nyquist.

Odds on the mutuel field, the 24th or “all others” option, grew higher with each successive pool: 3-5, 5-2, 5-1, 10-1.

This was the 18th year Churchill has offered parimutuel futures.

The inaugural Derby Sires Future Wager also was offered concurrent to Pool 1, with $34,960 handled. Notables included Tapit at 7-1 and Uncle Mo at 9-1, and both have three Derby runners. The field was the 2-1 favorite.

Will any Derby horse be 99-1?

Derby historians continue to marvel at how 99-1 shots have become virtually extinct despite an expansion to 20 betting interests in 2001 – which also happened to be the last time any horse was sent away at triple-digit odds. Startac was 10th at 102-1, and Arctic Boy was 12th at 101-1 behind the victorious Monarchos in that running.

Even with just 12 betting interests (so limited through stable entries and a mutuel field), huge prices were commonplace in the Derbies of yesteryear. The biggest odds on any Derby runner remains A Dragon Killer, seventh at a whopping 294-1 behind Tim Tam in 1958.

This year, Oscar Nominated could be the longest shot, although it’s doubtful he will approach the 99-1 threshold.