By Dick Downey
The Kentucky Derby Future Wager will run during an uncharacteristically quiet weekend starting Friday.
There are no Road to the Kentucky Derby races on Saturday or Sunday – which has not happened in a long time, if ever, during Future Wager Pool 1.
One result to watch will be whether total handle is up or down from last year, and how it compares to others years. Will bettors spend more cash on the future wager when they're not gambling on races leading to the Kentucky Derby, or will interest in the wager be down for the same reason? Last year, Pool 1 set a record for individual pool handle with $631,304 wagered.
Pool 1 of the 2012 Derby Future Wager listed I'll Have Another, who'd won the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 4 at 43-1 odds. He turned out to be a good investment. He closed at 29-1 in Pool 1 and paid $60.20. He was listed in Pools 2 and 3 as well, paying $46.20 and $45.60, respectively. On Kentucky Derby day, he paid $32.60.
The individual favorite in last year's Pool 1 was Union Rags, sent off at 7-1. On Derby day, he got squeezed back about two strides out of the gate and never really had a legitimate chance to win. He was 5-1 on Derby day. Union Rags went on to capture the Belmont Stakes.
Algorithms was the second-lowest odds individual in Pool 1 last year, at 12-1. He did not race again. Third on the individual list last year was El Padrino, a half-brother to Verrazano, at 16-1. Assuming Verrazano is listed in Pool 1, wonder how his odds will compare?
"All Others" is always the most-bet component of Pool 1. Last year, investors bought a 3-2 bet that would pay $5.00. That was a losing bet.
In 2011, all others was 2-1, and it paid $6.20 when Animal Kingdom took the Kentucky Derby.
In 2010, the all others wager was 3-2, which again would have paid $5.00. But Super Saver was listed as an individual in that year's Pool 1, paying $43.20. He returned $18.00 on Derby day.
In 2009, the all others bet was 9-5, paying $5.80 when Mine That Bird crossed the finish line first. Mine that Bird paid $103.20 on Derby day.
In 2008, Big Brown rewarded "all others" bettors in Pool 1, paying $8.60, a little higher than the $6.80 he paid on Derby day.
In 2005, 2006 and 2007, Giacomo, Barbaro and Street Sense were individual betting interests in Pool 1, so the "all others" play failed each of those years.
In the entire history of Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, covering 14 years, a $2 win wager on "all others" comes in at a cost $28.00. The return was $44.00. However, that includes $10.20 paid out on "all others" in the very first pool (Charismatic, 1999), when the bet was 4-1 at the close -- something we're not likely to see again. Excluding that year, the total bet is $26, and the total return is $29.80.
Entries for Pool 1 will be announced Wednesday.
The single pool for the Kentucky Oaks will coincide with Derby Pool 2 on March 1-3.
For more information about the history of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, please click here.