02/19/2009 1:00AM

Old Fashioned's odds low all over


LAS VEGAS - When monitoring the parimutuel betting in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which is run by Churchill Downs, against the fixed-odds futures offered by race books here in recent years, it has usually been a case of Nevada bettors setting the pace and the Kentucky Derby Future Wager bettors following suit.

That's because most Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools are held on weekends with major Derby preps, with the betting ending on Sunday, so the Kentucky Derby Future Wager bettors often have to bet after a horse has performed well and the price has been driven down. Future-book bettors in Nevada, on the other hand, are able to lock in a horse's price before they go out and win on a Saturday or Sunday.

We saw a different dynamic last weekend as Churchill's Pool 1 closed on Sunday with Oaklawn's Southwest Stakes and Santa Anita's San Vicente being run on Monday. Old Fashioned, who was available at 15-1 at the Las Vegas Hilton over the weekend, was bet down to 7-1 in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, the lowest odds of the 23 individual entries available for wagering (the "field of all other 3-year-olds" closed as the 9-5 favorite).

Old Fashioned, trained by Larry Jones, justified the support by going out and winning the Southwest by three lengths as the 2-5 favorite. Immediately after the victory, the odds were lowered to 7-1 in the future book conducted by the Lucky's race books and to 8-1 at Wynn Las Vegas.

Among other top contenders as we approach the bigger Derby prep races, Pioneerof the Nile (13-1 in Pool 1) has been bet down to 10-1 at Lucky's this week and 8-1 at Wynn; Friesan Fire (18-1) is 10-1 at Lucky's and 15-1 at Wynn; and the filly Stardom Bound (22-1) is 22-1 at Lucky's and 15-1 at Wynn.

The remaining parimutuel pools are March 12-15 and April 2-5, but Derby futures in Las Vegas are available every day.

Sports book notes

This is as good a time as any to get an update on the future book odds in other sports:

* Let's start with baseball because all major leaguers, except for those participating in the World Baseball Classic, are due at their spring training camps by Sunday. Despite the distraction of Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees are the clear favorite to win the World Series at 14-5 at the Las Vegas Hilton. The Red Sox, Mets, and Cubs are tri-second choices at 7-1 with the Angels and Phillies at 12-1 and the Rays, last year's Cinderella team, and the Indians at 15-1. The Yankees have loaded up with so much talent this off-season that even though they play in the toughest division in baseball, they are still odds-on to win the AL East at 10-13, with the Red Sox at 2-1 and the Rays 4-1. Other divisional favorites are the Mets (13-10 to win the NL East), Cubs (5-8 in the NL Central), Dodgers (7-5 in the NL West), Indians (2-1 in the AL Central), and Angels (5-11 in the AL West). And since A-Rod is on everyone's mind, he is the second choice to hit the most homers in the majors this season, with defending champ Ryan Howard the 7-2 choice to repeat.

* In college basketball, it seems like the No. 1 team in the country gets knocked off every week or two, but all that jockeying for position hasn't changed the fact that North Carolina has been the favorite in Las Vegas sports books all season long as well as the top team in the Oddsmakers' Top 30 by Las Vegas Sports Consultants. The Las Vegas Hilton has the Tar Heels as the 5-2 favorite to cut down the nets in Detroit on April 6, with UConn a solid second choice at 7-2, Pittsburgh and Louisville at 10-1, Duke at 15-1, and Wake Forest at 20-1.

* On the pro level, the Lakers came out of the All-Star break as the 3-2 favorites to win the NBA title with the defending champion Celtics at 2-1. The Cavaliers are at 3-1.

* In the NHL, the Red Wings and Sharks are vying for favoritism. The Hilton has the Red Wings at 11-4 (just less than 3-1) and the Sharks at 3-1. There's a dropoff to the Capitals and Sabres at 8-1.

* Football season just ended, but that doesn't mean people stop betting on the No. 1 wagering sport. For the BCS title game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 7, 2010, the Florida Gators and Tim Tebow are the 7-2 favorite to repeat with USC and Oklahoma both at 9-2.

* In the NFL, Tom Brady said Thursday that he will be ready for opening day, and the oddsmakers obviously believe him as the Patriots are the 6-1 favorite to win Super Bowl XLIV at Dolphins Stadium in Miami on Feb. 7, 2010. The defending champion Steelers are 10-1 along with the Colts, Giants, and Cowboys, while the Chargers, Eagles, Titans, Ravens, and Panthers are all 15-1. The Cardinals are 30-1.