02/06/2007 12:00AM

Nobiz Like Shobiz, Street Sense top futures

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Nobiz Like Shobiz and Street Sense figure among the most popular separate wagering interests when the first of three pools in the ninth annual Kentucky Derby Future Wager opens Thursday at racetracks and wagering outlets throughout North America.

Nobiz Like Shobiz, an impressive winner of the Holy Bull Stakes last weekend, earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98 in that triumph, and that splashy seasonal debut could be enough to make him favored over the other 22 separately listed interests in Pool 1, according to the morning line released Tuesday by Churchill oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.

While Nobiz Like Shobiz and Street Sense, who has not raced since earning a 108 Beyer in his 10-length triumph in the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, are among the leading candidates for the 133rd Derby on May 5, early bettors are likely to settle on the mutuel field, the 24th or "all others" option, as their Pool 1 favorite.

The field has been the Pool 1 favorite every year since Churchill Downs first began offering parimutuel futures in 1999. This year, Battaglia has listed the field as the 7-2 favorite, followed by Nobiz Like Shobiz at 8-1, Street Sense at 12-1, and six more horses at 15-1: Circular Quay, Day Pass, Dreaming of Anna, E Z Warrior, Notional, and Ravel.

Trainer Carl Nafzger said Tuesday from south Florida that Street Sense continues to train forwardly for an unspecified return to action.

"We're nominating to several stakes," he said. "We'll use that race for him to move forward to Keeneland," for the April 14 Blue Grass Stakes, "then on to the Derby."

All futures results are predicated on the finishes of the 133rd Kentucky Oaks and Derby, set for May 4 and 5, respectively. The futures are nonrefundable, win-only wagers with a $2 minimum and 16 percent takeout. As with any parimutuel wager, odds will change throughout the week, with final odds established at the time of closing Sunday evening. The Derby future bet closes at 6 p.m. Eastern, a half-hour before the Oaks.

Pool 1 coincides with several notable races on the Derby trail. The Risen Star, set for Saturday at Fair Grounds, is the biggest Derby prep this weekend, while the Whirlaway will be run Saturday at Aqueduct and the San Vicente is set for Sunday at Santa Anita. Churchill spokesman John Asher said Tuesday that it had not yet been determined whether the San Vicente would be run prior to the Pool 1 closing.

Last year, the field closed at 3-1 in Pool 1, while Barbaro, who eventually won the Derby at 6-1, was sent away at 19-1. Handle on Pool 1 last year was $552,627, third-highest in Derby futures history. The record Pool 1 handle of $620,362 was set in 2005.

Also opening Thursday is Pool 1 of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, for which Battaglia has made the field the morning-line favorite over 23 separate interests. The field is listed at 3-1, with Dreaming of Anna a close second choice at 4-1. Next are Boca Grande, Jump On In, and Octave at 12-1.

With owner Frank Calabrese having said a run in the Derby is possible for his champion filly, Dreaming of Anna, she is listed as a separate interest for both the Oaks and Derby.

The field was the winning selection in all three Oaks pools last year after Lemons Forever prevailed as the longest shot in race history.

The Derby and Oaks futures open their four-day run Thursday at noon Eastern. Although Churchill has offered three separate pools every year in the Derby futures, this is just the fourth year for three Oaks pools. Pool 2 for both races is set for March 8-11, and Pool 3 for April 12-15.

Asher, in conjunction with Mike Watchmaker and Brad Free of Daily Racing Form, is responsible for selecting the futures lineups.

The record for aggregate handle on all three Derby future pools was set in 2005, when $1,665,990 was bet. The Oaks pools have consistently drawn only a little more than 10 percent of what the Derby pools have drawn.

Asher said Churchill is accepting future wagers from tracks and outlets in 41 states and from selected jurisdictions in Canada.