It seemed only a matter of time before daily fantasy operator DraftKings expanded further into horse racing once it plucked the Wynn Las Vegas' well-regarded race and sports book manager, Johnny Avello, last fall.
This week, DraftKings listed Avello's expansive odds for the first time on the 2019 Kentucky Derby with Game Winner, the 2-year-old champion in waiting, the 10-1 favorite on a board including 285 interests. Wagers can be placed at the Scarlet Pearl Sportsbook, opened in November at the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville, Miss.
It's possible pending regulatory approval that Avello's Derby futures could be made available elsewhere, too, following last year's repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PAPSA). With sports betting now a state-to-state issue, DraftKings has opened online and mobile wagering in New Jersey, plus announced in December an agreement to do so in West Virginia.
Avello set the standard for Derby futures for more than a decade at the Wynn Las Vegas, making his sports book a winter destination for horse players looking to get action well ahead of the first Saturday in May.
While 2018 Derby winner Justify and 2017's Always Dreaming came onto the scene late, recent heroes Nyquist and American Pharoah were both 15-1 at the Wynn as the calendar turned to their respective 3-year-old seasons.
Here's a first look at Avello's odds for the 2019 Derby, with Improbable (16-1), Gunmetal Gray (30-1), Signlaman (40-1) and Maximus Mischief (45-1) his other top early choices. The viewing window can be expanded at the lower right.