The Humility of Derby Futures

By Brock Sheridan, The Brock Talk

Churchill Downs will open the wagering windows for the 2010 Kentucky Derby when they begin taking bets on Pool 1 of their Kentucky Derby Future Wager Friday, Feb 12. Fans and players will have three days to wager on the first pool of the Future Wager which closes Sunday night and for a period of time they may also have the notion, confidence and thrill of having a possible Derby winner.

It may not be the best investment, but it's one of the things that makes the game fun. Let's face it, the invention of an ego pill would do a lot toward world peace but it would not be the best thing for horse racing.

There are few surprises in Churchill Downs' odds as the 5-2 favorite is "All Other 3-Year Olds" and Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Lookin at Lucky is the 8-1 favorite among the 23 individual horses listed. Buddy's Saint, Conveyance, Jackson Bend and Rule are all next at 12-1.

The surprise for some may come looking towards the other end of mutuel spectrum as notables Vale of York  and Ron the Greek are toting longshot odds of 30-1. Vale of York won the prestigious Breeders' Cup Juvenile over Lookin at Lucky in November and Ron the Greek was an impressive winner of the recent Lecomte Stakes at Fairgrounds. So there is value there if you're a fan and history may not be as much against you as you might think.

A quick look at the last three Lecomte winners justifies the long odds as none of them went on to win the Derby. However, all of them at least made it into the Kentucky Derby starting gate. Friesan Fire, the Larry Jones-trained Lecomte winner last year, even went into the gate in Kentucky as the post time favorite at 7-2 odds. Despite the popularity however, Friesan Fire did not enjoy the most exciting two minutes in sports and finished 18th behind winner Mine That Bird.

Two years earlier in 2007, Jones took Lecomte winner Hard Spun to Kentucky. The circumstances were similar but the results quite different as 10-1 shot Hard Spun finished second to Street Sense in the Derby. In 2008, Steve Asmussen won the Lecomte with Z Fortune who went on to finish 10th in the Derby.

Street Sense, by the way, was the first and last horse to pull off the Breeders' Cup Juvenile-Kentucky Derby double - which is what Vale of York will be trying for should he make it to Louisville on the first Saturday in May.

In fact, Street Sense is one of only five this century to win the Juvenile and come back to start in the Derby the following year. Of the previous four Breeders' Cup Juvenile winners to start in the Derby since 2000, Anees finished 13th in the '00 Derby, Johannesburg finished 8th in '02, and Action This Day and Wilko both finished sixth in their respective Kentucky Derbies in '04 and '05.

Vale of York will also apparently be battling the Dubai curse having been shipped to the United Arab Emirates to prepare for the Derby by owner Sheik Maktoum's Goldphin Racing.

Since it's inception in 2000, only four of the ten UAE winners have made it the Kentucky Derby including inaugural UAE victor China Visit who finished sixth in the Run for the Roses. UAE Derby winner Express Tour was eighth in the 2001 Kentucky Derby while Essence of Dubai was ninth in his run for the roses. Last year, UAE Derby winner Regal Ransom finished eighth behind Mine That Bird while UAE runner-up and stablemate Desert Party was 14th.

Sheik Maktoum and his Godolphin Racing also failed in the Kentucky Derby with Worldly Manner and Curule, who both finished seventh in 1999 and 2000 respectively after they also prepared for the Derby in the Middle East.

So even with impressive credentials - be it in December, February or May, in Louisiana, California or Dubai - the Kentucky Derby has a way of monitoring humility.


Kentucky Derby Future Wager

Pool 1

1. Aikenite (30-1)

2. American Lion (20-1)

3. Buddy's Saint  (12-1)

4. Concord Point  (30-1)

5. Conveyance  (12-1)

6. Dave In Dixie  (20-1)

7. Drosselmeyer (20-1)

8. Dryfly (20-1)

9. Dublin (15-1)

10. Eskendereya  (20-1)

11. Jackson Bend (12-1)

12. Lookin At Lucky   (8-1)

13. Make Music For Me  (50-1)

14. Maximus Ruler  (50-1)

15. Noble's Promise  (15-1)

16. Ron the Greek (30-1)

17. Rule (12-1)

18. Stay Put  (50-1)

19. Super Saver (15-1)

20. Tiz Chrome (20-1)

21. Uptowncharlybrown  (50-1)

22. Vale of York (30-1)

23. William's Kitten (30-1)

24. All Other 3YOs (5-2)

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