03/06/2006 1:00AM

Public still opting to play the field

Brother Derek (center) passes Latent Heat to win the Santa Catalina. He closed at 10-1 odds in Pool 2.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Racing fans betting into Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby and Oaks future wagers essentially proclaimed the results of the past weekend inconclusive, as they once again made the mutuel field the favorite in each pool.

The field, the "all others" alternative to the 23 separately listed wagering interests, closed as the 3-1 favorite in the Derby futures and as the 9-2 choice in the Oaks futures.

Final odds in Pool 2 of the Derby Future Wager reflected a wagering public that has had a particularly difficult time settling on a single horse. Despite his authoritative victory in the Santa Catalina Stakes on Saturday, Brother Derek was no better than a 10-1 second choice when Pool 2 closed Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern. And after the previously unheralded Corinthian finished first (although subsequently disqualified) in the Fountain of Youth, and Sharp Rumor upset the Swale Stakes, the weekend results at Gulfstream apparently further confounded futures bettors.

Brother Derek was followed by Bluegrass Cat (11-1), Private Vow (13-1), Corinthian (15-1), Barbaro (15-1), and Achilles of Troy (15-1). In all, 10 horses closed at odds between 10-1 and 19-1.

Wagering on Barbican was suspended early Friday after it was learned that the colt had been injured and eliminated from Derby consideration. Since there are no refunds in the future wagers, the $413 wagered Thursday on Barbican was lost.

Handle on Derby Pool 2 was $464,236, the second-highest for a Pool 2 since Churchill Downs began offering parimutuel futures in 1999. The Pool 2 record of $511,655 was set last year. The handle on Pool 1, which was held Jan. 26-29, was $552,627.

As for the Oaks futures, bettors also were given little to work with on Sunday after Teammate and Miraculous Miss posted upsets at Gulfstream in the Bonnie Miss and Forward Gal, respectively. Fans ultimately settled for the field over West Coast fillies Wild Fit and Balance, both of whom closed at 7-1.

Handle on the Oaks was $54,054, or a little more than 10 percent of the Derby handle. Since Churchill first began offering Oaks futures three years ago, the Oaks has consistently drawn more than 10 percent, but less than 15 percent, of what has been bet into the corresponding Derby pool.

Pool 3 for both races is set for April 6-9. The Derby will be run May 6, the day after the Oaks.

Pool 2 final odds


NO.HORSEPool 2 $2 will payPool 1 $2 will pay
1Achilles of Troy$32.40$54.40
4Bluegrass Cat25.0033.40
5Bob and John40.2065.40
6Brother Derek22.6035.00
7Cause to Believe*66.00120.60
9First Samurai34.0017.80
10Flashy Bull67.4092.80
11Great Point**58.808.00
13Keyed Entry45.00109.60
14Latent Heat**105.808.00
15Lawyer Ron36.4044.00
16My Golden Song**128.408.00
18Point Determined60.2039.80
19Private Vow29.2030.60
20Really Indian**111.408.00
22Strong Contender**36.408.00

* Not nominated; ** Field entry in Pool 1


NO.HORSEPool 2 $2 will payPool 1 $2 will pay
4Better Now121.0089.80
5Celestial Legend75.2079.80
6Crystal Current**38.809.00
7Diplomat Lady106.8055.40
8Ex Caelis62.8050.00
10French Park61.0032.60
12Itty Bitty Pretty55.0053.40
13Joint Effort**73.209.00
14Misty Rosette**61.409.00
15Original Spin56.4041.00
16Private World**133.809.00
18Sierra Sweetie**32.809.00
19Sweet Belle**38.009.00
20Sweet Sugaree**61.009.00
21Wait a While47.00100.20
22Wild Fit16.8016.00
23Wonder Lady Anne L41.8039.80
24Field 11.009.00

** Field entry in Pool 1