When Mike Battaglia installed Forte as the 5-2 morning line favorite in Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool 6, he made a bold stand on just how likely the reigning champion 2-year-old male is to win the world's most famous horse race.
It also calls into question just how likely Forte is to win the Grade 1 Florida Derby on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, his final prep for the Run for the Roses. After all, the only way he is a 5-2 favorite on Kentucky Derby day is if he wins the Florida Derby. He is an imposing figure in this race, thanks in part to his imposing speed figures. So for the first time this prep season, I see a horse more likely to win than the rest of the field (i.e. odds on).
Arkansas Derby fair odds: Rocket Can ships in for the win
Oh, but as always in this tricky game, there's a rub. I have his fair odds at 4-5 (for every nine races, I expect him to win five times), but his actual odds might be as low as 2-5 or 1-2, so there's no value in a win bet.
As Angela Hermann and I discuss in the video below, there is opportunity in other pools perhaps. Based on morning line, No. 6 Nautical Star might be the best option for a win bet, as I have the recent Oaklawn Park winner at 21-1 versus a 30-1 morning line. If that extends to the exacta pool, then I'd rather bet Forte over Nautical Star with a small reverse/Nautical Star on top than put a lot in the win basket.
No. 10 Fort Bragg is interesting, too, but at 5-1 morning line I'm getting no value off my 9-1 fair odds. This is another instance where I'll watch the exacta pools because I could see where any of No. 4 Mage, No. 9 Cyclone Mischief and No. 12 Dubyuhnell take more money than Fort Bragg. If that's the case, then there's opportunity with my second-most likely winner.