5 keys to betting Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool 1

November 26, 2019 10:51am
5 keys to betting Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool 1
Photo: Benoit

Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager opens at noon ET on Thanksgiving Day and runs until 6 p.m. Sunday, offering the first of four early betting opportunities leading up to the 2020 Run for the Roses.

Here are five things to keep in mind as you consider placing a few dollars on what marks the seventh year of a Future Wager being held in November. You'll also find my strategies and recommended plays toward the end of this piece.

1) Few horses from Pool 1 actually make it to the Derby

Last year, only five of the individual betting interests from Pool 1 ran on the first Saturday in May, with runner-up Code of Honor leading the way. He was followed by Improbable (fourth
), Game Winner (fifth), Vekoma (12th) and Roadster (15th).

In 2018, eight individuals from Pool 1 ran in the Derby, again with the runner-up, Good Magic, already offered for betting.
2) Only two from the November pool have won a Derby

In 2015, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah finished with Pool 1 odds of 12-1, and at this point in 2016, Nyquist was 9-1.

The other Derby winners since Pool 1 was established as a November opportunity first appeared in the Future Wager as follows: 2019 (Country House, Pool 3); 2018 (Justify, Pool 3); 2017 (Always Dreaming, Pool 3); and 2014 (California Chrome, Pool 2).

Taking a look at the 19 horses from last year’s Derby field, five made their initial appearance in Pool 1; four debuted in Pool 2; two appeared in Pool 3; six in Pool 4; and two were never offered in the Future Wager.

3) “All Others” will be the favorite

The past six years, the mutuel field bet, or #24 for “All Others,” has been the overwhelming favorite with the shortest-priced Pool 1 individual far higher in odds.

 Year Pool 1 Favorite Top Individual
 2013 "All Others" (4-5) New Year's Day (15-1)
 2014 "All Others" (3-5) Dortmund (9-1)
 2015 "All Others" (3-5) Nyquist (9-1)
 2016 "All Others" (6-5) Classic Empire (6-1)
 2017 "All Others" (6-5) Bolt d'Oro (7-1)
 2018 "All Others" (6-5) Game Winner (5-1)

4) Watch the Kentucky Jockey Club before you bet

Tiz the Law
and South Bend from the Pool 1 are expected to be part of the field for Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. It would be prudent to wait to make a wager on them until after the race given this is a pari-mutuel endeavor.

If Tiz the Law stays unbeaten with a win in that race, he will likely become the individual favorite and sink far below his 20-1 morning line odds.

South Bend, meanwhile, is 3-for-3 while ascending the ranks from maiden to allowance to minor stakes company with a last out win in the Street Sense. His 30-1 morning line is attractive, but a strong performance in the Kentucky Jockey Club will do away with any value.

5) How I'll play Future Wager Pool 1

There is so much that can go wrong over the next six months with the 22 individual horses listed in Pool 1 that it just does not make sense to bet on any of the shorter prices to win.

Here are the horses that I will consider betting with their trainer and pool 1 morning line odds...

Anneau d’Or (Blaine Wright, 20-1): His second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile showed a talented and versatile horse.

Dennis’ Moment (Dale Romans, 15-1): There is a chance that he could get ignored a bit, especially if Tiz the Law wins on Saturday.

Green Light Go (Jimmy Jerkens, 50-1): Those are big odds for a horse with a physical presence who flashed talent this summer.

Honor A. P. (John Shirreffs, 20-1): Remember that Shirreffs won the 2005 Kentucky Derby with the longshot Giacomo.

Structor (Chad Brown, 20-1): The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner will try the Derby trail as Brown seeks his first Derby win.

The presence of “All Others” in the Derby exacta is an angle that should be used when you take a closer look at the results from five of the past six years.

In 2019, Country House (“All Others”) with Code of Honor paid $109.40.

In 2018, Justify (“All Others”) with Good Magic paid $52.40.

In 2017, Always Dreaming (“All Others”) with Lookin At Lee paid $161.80. 

In 2015, American Pharoah with Firing Line (“All Others”) paid $58.00.

In 2014, California Chrome (“All Others”) with Candy Boy paid $203.00.

$2 exacta key box including seven horses with #24 (“All Others”): 2, 6, 10, 12, 16, 18, 21 with 24 = $28.


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Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Recently, Matt helped launch Derby Day Racing, a new 2-year-old racing partnership, that just purchased a promising Lookin At Lucky filly named Sooner Schooner.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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