12/09/2003 12:00AM

Oaks future bet expands

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Future wagering on the Kentucky Oaks, which was introduced this year and which produced a one-pool, four-day handle of $117,368, will be expanded in 2004 to the same series of three four-day betting periods as the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

The dates for the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks future wagers were announced Tuesday by Churchill Downs as follows: Pool 1, Feb. 12-15; Pool 2, March 11-14; and Pool 3, April 1-4.

Betting on the future wagers begins at noon Eastern each day of the betting period and concludes on Sundays at 6:30 p.m.

The 2004 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 1, while the Kentucky Oaks is scheduled for Friday, April 30. This will be the 130th running of each race.

The Derby and Oaks future wagers are $2 minimum bets offering 24 wagering interests in each pool, comprising 23 individual betting interests plus a field that includes all other 3-year-olds.

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager was established in 1998. This year, combined wagering on the Kentucky Derby Future Wager totaled $1,130,169, marking the fourth time the bet's total handle surpassed $1 million.