Updated on 09/16/2011 7:50AM

Pickings look slim in Pool 1 of Derby Future Wager


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Rodney Dangerfield, concerned about the fidelity of his wife, approaches her and asks, "Is there somebody else?"

She eyes him carefully from head to toe, then replies, "I sure hope so."

I have carefully examined the past performances of the 23 individual betting interests listed in Pool 1 of this year's Kentucky Derby Future Wager, and I agree with Mrs. Dangerfield. Is there somebody else? I sure hope so. But after having given the field (all other 3-year-olds, grouped together) the once over, I can't honestly say that it appears to contain many potential superstars, either.

Last year was much different. I saw betting value in a number of single betting interests, and spread out accordingly. In the seminar I did at what is now known as Trackside Louisville, and in the column I wrote following that seminar, I pointed out that there was at least moderate betting value to be found in seven of the horses in that first round. Fortunately, one of them was Monarchos, who paid $36.40.

This year's weaker crop isn't nearly as enticing to me. But every seasoned parimutuel warrior knows that wide-open races are a good place to search for overlaid contenders. I'll keep a close eye on the odds, and will make a handful of small bets on this round.

Part of the fun of these pools is that you must interpret and react to the outcomes of important races that are run while the pool is open. The chances of the contenders who will run in the Fountain of Youth are best discussed after the race when their prospects and their odds will have shifted significantly.

For now, I'll restrict myself to analyzing the prospects, in alphabetical order, of some of those who won't be running in that race.

It still remains to be seen whether Came Home will be comfortable running at route distances. But he was not at his best when he finished seventh of 12 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, so that wasn't a fair test. With an apparent shortage of genuine Grade 1 horses among the 23 betting interests, Came Home deserves recognition for being the real deal. The concern is that the 40-1 available on him recently in Las Vegas is a much higher price than he'll pay in this pari-mutuel pool. He's an overlay at 40-1, but is a tougher call at low double-digit odds.

If you like Siphonic at low odds, you have to at least consider taking a flyer on Fonz's, who finished second, 3 1/2 lengths behind him in the Hollywood Futurity, at about 60-1 or 70-1.

Johannesburg deserves respect, but there are too many questions he has to answer to make single-digit odds worth accepting. He is an underlay.

Request for Parole will have to continue to improve to do serious damage, but he is being overlooked in the betting, and deserves play. His willingness to rate a few lengths off the pace is a plus.

Saratoga Blues is unbeaten in three starts. This lightly raced colt should improve with racing experience, and is worth a look at odds in the range of 40-1 and up.

Siphonic broke terribly in the Santa Catalina, so that 5 1/2-length defeat can probably be forgiven. If he returns to his best form, he'll be very hard to handle against a sub-par group. But there are still distance and condition questions to be answered, so single-digit odds seem a shade low this early in the game.

U S S Tinosa still has work to do to rate as a serious threat, but he is developing quickly, a trait I like to see at this time of year. He is getting the Dangerfield treatment with no respect given to him based on his humble beginnings while racing in Ohio. He's worth a flyer at 60-1 and up.

The field: The only horses who are less scintillating than the 23 individual interests are the ones in the field. But I'd rather play the late up-and-coming contenders from this group individually at high odds, than take them as a group at an underlaid price.

On a final note, I believe that Mayakovsky stands out from most of the rest of this crop as a genuine top- class colt. He isn't being offered as an individual interest in this pool, but the 60-1 recently spotted on him in Las Vegas makes it worth giving him the benefit of the doubt as he stretches out, possibly in the San Felipe on March 17. If he relaxes going long, you'll have a quality horse at an outstanding price.