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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Why Weren't We Told Dept.


By Dick Downey
The Downey Profile

Sweet Ducky and Gourmet Dinner were both part of Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2 this past weekend, yet we learned early this week that one is almost certainly off the Derby Trail and the other may be.

Should these entries have been scuttled from the wagering in Pool 2?

Gourmet Dinner closed at 42-1 odds off a 30-1 morning line. DRF.com reported on Tuesday that the son of Trippi had been taken from Gulfstream Park to a farm in Ocala this past weekend, and that neither his owner or trainer have returned phone messages left for them early this week. The publication said Gourmet Dinner might be off the Derby Trail.

Sweet Ducky, who was lightly backed at 75-1 from a 50-1 morning line, has been whisked off to join the President of Chechnya, who prefers the Russian Derby to the Kentucky Derby. Bloodhorse.com reported on Monday that the deal was consummated that day, and that a plane was waiting on Tuesday to take Sweet Ducky and others to the U.A.E. for Dubai World Cup day.

The former connections of Sweet Ducky kept their lips sealed until after Pool 2 was closed, and in the case of Gourmet Dinner, they're still zipped up tight as of this writing.

The Downey Profile contacted Churchill Downs to get its take.

"We did not know of either situation at any point before or during the pool," John Asher said via email. "I did hear a little rumbling about something involving Gourmet Dinner and attempted to reach trainer Steve Standridge, but was unable to do so.
"We do our best to stay on top the every situation, and owners and trainers are much more aware of the Future Wager issue and will--as Steve Asmussen did with Tapizar before Future Pool 1--let us know either directly or via media reports if there is an issue."
Asher emphasized that Churchill Downs has to know with "100% certainty" that a horse will be out of the Kentucky Derby to stop taking bets on it. "If we halted wagering, there would be no mutuel payout on the tickets that had been purchased before wagering was frozen," he said.
The bottom line, Asher emphasized, is that it's a "buyer beware" bet. "As with every other wager at Churchill Downs, we do everything possible to protect the bettor -- but the very nature of the future bet raises its risk."

The question at hand thus devolves to the connections of these horses, and that is why they did not advise the betting public of developments until after Pool 2 ended. The lesson is that bettors simply cannot assume that they ever have all the information they want before the gate bell rings. Caveat emptor.

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