The Wonderment of Kentucky Derby Winter Books

What could be better than picking the Derby winner six months before the big race? As someone that has hit a few winter book bets over the years, I can confidently say cashing a ticket on that early pick does indeed make it even better. With only the CashCall Futurity on the horizon between now and 2012, I thought now would be the right time to take a look at the latest Kentucky Derby future book odds on the big board at Lucky’s Race & Sports Book.

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile often produces the change-of-year favorite for the Run for the Roses, and this year will be no different. Although, it is not the winner that is getting the most respect by the Vegas oddsmakers, but rather it is Union Rags whom they favor. Undefeated before the Juvenile, the son of Dixie Union just missed running down the winner Hansen, while running a decidedly more circuitous route. I have to agree that Union Rags deserves to be the early favorite, but as a 14-1 clear favorite, I’ll let you decide if the value is worth the risk.

As for the soon to be awarded Juvenile Champion, and aforementioned, Hansen, there seems to be a bit of disrespect. In three races, he is unbeaten, and has demonstrated speed to burn. If you think he can harness those quick early fractions, 25-1 is not a bad price for an undefeated, two-year-old champion. Interestingly, Hansen is not even the second choice.

Surprisingly it is Ever So Lucky and Secret Circle that are listed as the co-second choices at 20-1. Ever So Lucky was a game second in the Kentucky Jockey Club in only his second career start after dominating a maiden sprint under the Twin Spires. And if there was such a thing as a juvenile sprinter of the year, surely it would go to Bob Baffert’s Secret Circle. The undefeated son of Eddington does have enough staying power in his bloodlines to suggest a stretch-out is a real possibility.

Further sportsbook review shows California’s top juvenile, and Breeders’ Cup third, Creative Cause, has already run two very good races around two-turns and joins Hansen at 25-1. So is Gemologist, who has won all three starts, including a strong victory over the Churchill Downs strip in the Kentucky Jockey Club. Owned by WinStar Farm and trained by Todd Pletcher, he will be looking to complete the same Churchill double for the same connections.

Others being shown major respect at Lucky’s include Delta Downs Jackpot winner, Sabercat, at 30-1 and Remsen winner, O’Prado Again, and Breeders’ Futurity hero, Dullahan are next at 35-1.

Oh yeah, If you think we are ready for another Derby winning filly, and you think My Miss Aurelia is the real deal, you can get the certain champion at a solid 100-1.

Now that I listed all the big names, I can give you my top play as of December 12. His name is Basmati. I liked the looks of this one when I saw him running in the Del Mar Futurity as a maiden. Since then, he has continued to improve, most recently finishing second in the Delta Downs Jackpot. I believe the leggy son of Borrego has a ton of upside when he puts it all together, and should love the added distance to come next spring. You better hurry though, if you want to get him at his current 100-1. If he wins Saturday’s CashCall Futurity, those odds will be long gone.

Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to HRN, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing webcast HorseCenter, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars and is a Vox Populi committee member. He is a voter for racing's Hall of Fame, as well as a weekly NTRA poll voter. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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