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Best bets for 2018 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1

The first 2018 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool runs from Thursday through Sunday with win and exacta wagering available from the 24 betting interests that include 23 individual horses and the #24 “All Others” consisting of every other 2-year-old.

Last year, only six of the 23 individual runners from Pool 1 actually made the Derby field: Lookin At Lee finished second, Classic Empire fourth, Practical Joke fifth, Gunnevera seventh, McCraken eighth, and Irish War Cry 10th

The November Pool debuted in 2014. In the years since, twice the Derby winner was listed as an individual wager with
Nyquist in 2016 and American Pharoah in 2015. Keep in mind that in November of their juvenile years, 2017 Derby winner Always Dreaming had run twice but was still a maiden and 2014 winner California Chrome had two wins from six starts.

Chrome paid $7.00 as the Derby Day favorite but only $3.60 in KDFW Pool 1 because he was part of the mutuel field. Always Dreaming paid $11.40 at the track on the first Saturday in May, but returned only $4.40 from KDFW Pool 1.

As for Nyquist, he paid $6.60 as the Derby favorite and $21.80 from KDFW Pool 1. Remember in November of 2015, he was unbeaten in five starts with the last three coming in Grade 1s. American Pharoah paid $7.80 at Churchill Downs, but $27.80 from KDFW Pool 1 when he had won the two grade ones at Santa Anita. Those are great returns when you can get them.

The KDFW Pool 1 exacta wager can be more complicated because it is possible for the first- and second-place finishers to come from the mutuel field. In that event, states, “the calculation of the $2 exacta payout will be conducted in accordance with Kentucky Horse Racing Commission rules on coupled entries. For example, if horses in the mutuel field (No. 24) occupy the first five spots in the Derby’s order of finish and No. 9 finishes sixth, the winning exacta numbers will be 24/9.”

This was the case in 2014 when the mutuel field (#24, All Others) was the winner, but to complete the exacta Candy Boy was used. Candy Boy finished 13
th, but was the highest non-field finisher from KDFW Pool 1. That $2 exacta paid $203.

Last year, Always Dreaming came from the mutuel field, but second-place finisher
Lookin At Lee was individual betting interest #11. That 24-11 exacta paid $161.40 for $2 compared to the $336.20 return the day of the race. Both Nyquist and Exaggerator were individual betting interests in the 2016 KDFW Pool 1 and that combination paid $194.20, which was more than six times the $30.60 track payoff. In 2015, American Pharoah and field horse Firing Line paid $58 for the KDFW Poll 1 exacta, while race day, the exacta was $72.60. In three out of four years of the KDFW Pool 1, the mutuel field #24 made up at least one spot in the exacta.

I particularly like to play this first KDFW, but I don’t play it for very much money because the pitfalls faced by the individual runners face are so significant. Regardless, I find the challenge definitely provides a few bucks worth of fun. You can track the changing prices while the wagering is open on

Suggested wagers for KDFW Pool 1...

I do like to use the mutuel field in Pool 1 exactas just because of the huge number of horses that you get. This year I will try:

exacta box including #2-Bolt d’Oro and #10-Good Magic with the #24-mutuel field. In that wager, I get the following four combinations: 2-24, 24-2, 10-24, and 24-10.

In the win pool, I’ll go with 
win bets on the following promising 2-year-olds: #5-Engage, #6-Enticed, #15-Mendelssohn, #16-Montauk, and #17-Principe Guilherme expecting to get big odds on them.


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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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