04/01/2004 1:00AM

Smarty Jones early future favorite


Only four betting interests were being held at less than 10-1 after the first few hours of wagering into the third and final pool of the 2004 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opened its four-day run Thursday at noon Eastern.

As of 5:15 p.m., after $17,434 had been bet, Smarty Jones was the lukewarm 6-1 favorite in Derby Pool 3, followed by Lion Heart, Wimbledon, and the mutuel field, all at 9-1. Twelve more of the remaining 20 separately listed interests were holding at 25-1 or lower.

At the same time, Madcap Escapade and Halfbridled were co-favorites at 9-2 in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which again is being offered concurrently with the Derby futures this weekend. Handle was just $2,731.

Both pools close Sunday at 6:30 p.m Eastern.