02/13/2009 12:00AM

As usual, big plunge on the field opens Pool 1

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Sizable bets placed just minutes after wagering opened made the mutuel field a big favorite as Pool 1 in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager began its customary four-day run Thursday at noon Eastern.

The mutuel field, the 24th or "all others" option, was the 1-2 favorite as of 5 p.m. Thursday. After $32,108 in handle, the field towered over the top three separate wagering interests: The Pamplemousse (12-1), Old Fashioned (14-1), and Pioneerof the Nile (15-1). There were no reported defections from the lineup of 23 separate interests.

More than $10,000 was bet on the field during the opening minutes of wagering, something that has happened frequently on the first day of Pool 1 since the parimutuel futures were first offered in 1999. Churchill Downs officials said that most, if not all, of those field bets were made through the New York Racing Association.

The field has closed as the Pool 1 favorite every year and ultimately has included the Derby winner on four occasions. Typically, the Pool 1 field rises gradually in odds following the early plunge and tends to close in the 2-1 to 3-1 range. Pool 1 closes Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Derby Pool 2 is set for March 12-15, and Pool 3 will run April 2-5. Exacta wagering will be available in those pools.

The 135th Derby will be run May 2 at Churchill.

Only one futures pool is being offered this year on the May 1 Kentucky Oaks. It will coincide with Derby Pool 2.

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