So, has everybody found their horse in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1? Or, if you're like me, are you less than thrilled with many of the 23 horses that wound up on the list?
As Steve Haskin pointed out in his column, many talented 3-year-olds were left off Pool 1, which opened Thursday and closes on Sunday. And many on the list don't seem to offer great value. That's the problem when you have a pool that limits people to 24 choices. In my opinion, they should expand the pool to include double that amount.
As of this writing (Friday afternoon), the public seems to agree that the Derby winner is not in Pool 1, as "all others" is currently a commanding 6-5 favorite. Old Fashioned, who makes his highly-anticipated debut Monday in the Southwest, is the top choice among horses at 9-1. I like him, but don't see any real excitement in betting him at those odds.
As I have said before, the best value in the Derby futures lies in the Vegas sportsbooks and usually they must be purchased before the major prep races start in February. If there is a horse you really like out there, chances are his odds have dropped significantly in the past few weeks.
Of course, if we look hard enough, there are still a few horses in Pool 1 who are intriguing. As I wrote in my last blog, I shelled out my major cash on Mr. Fantasy at 75-1 in Vegas (He's not on the Pool 1 list), but I am willing to wager a few more bucks on a pair of horses who seem to offer some nice value.
Remember, unless you are wagering some serious cash, my one rule in these future pools are never to wager on a horse less than 30-1.
1. Chocolate Candy (59-1) - Right off the bat, this colt jumped out at me more than any other. The Cal Derby winner faces a relatively average field of 7 in the El Camino Real Derby on Saturday and if he takes home the $120,000 in earnings he will virtually be guaranteed a spot in the starting gate on May 2. He is bred to run 1 1/4 and has probably the most underrated trainer in the country in Jerry Hollendorfer, who is overdue to have make a legit run at the Derby. I don't think we have seen the best of this horse yet, although he has not run on dirt as of yet. Only other problem is, if he wins convincingly this weekend his odds might drop significantly by the end of Pool 1. Even with a win, I'm hoping to get 35-1 or more. I'll wager $25 on him.
2. Hello Broadway (56-1) - I am still impressed with his Hutcheson runner-up, where he took all the heat and still finished gamely. I actually thought his race was better than the winner, Capt. Candyman Can, especially since it was only his fourth start. He has a nice 10-furlong pedigree, is in the barn of former Derby winner Barclay Tagg and I expect more his next race to be even better, wherever that may be. I'll also put $25 on him. As always, I look forward to seeing your Future Pool thoughts and where your money will be going.
I am not going to bet him, but I'll also mention that Friesan Fire is probably worth a shot at 24-1, considering he has already qualified with enough earnings.
As for this weekend's races, my selections are Chocolate Candy in the El Camino and Atomic Rain in the Sam Davis. Good luck!