Pool 4 of the 2020 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), kicks off a three-day run starting on Friday and closing on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.
With this year's Kentucky Derby being postponed until Sept. 5 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, horseplayers find themselves in uncharted territory as far as the future wagers go.
Many bettors who placed wagers in the first three KDFW pools have complained about not having their action refunded because of the race being scheduled for four months later than planned.
Churchill Downs Inc. provided a response to such criticism.
“We took into account precedents and how other sports betting outlets handle similar wagers on future sporting events such as the NBA,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack spokesperson Darren Rogers. “The final consensus is all bets are ‘action’ as long as a winner is declared in 2020. The majority of tickets possessed have promising prospects and high potential. At the time of the rescheduling of the Derby, more than 75 percent of the money in the three Win pools of the previous Future Wagers was on well-meant horses within many Top 20 lists.”
The pool will be open for win bets and exacta wagering. Here are the morning line odds for the win pool:
|19||Storm the Court||50-1|
|22||Tiz the Law||6-1|
|24||All other 3-year-olds||5-2|
With the Derby still five months away and there being plenty of uncertainty regarding what racing will look like during the tough times ahead, any wagers made into this pool should fall into the "go big or go home" category.
I definitely would not advocate taking a short, single-digit price on any interest in this pool. If we were a month away from the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs in May, a firm strategy would be to lock in odds on the horse of your choice, trying to get a much better return than one would expect on the first Saturday in May.
But with so much uncertainty, and the fact that this year's edition of the Derby will feature much more mature 3-year-olds, any wager in this pool has to look for maximum return.
All future wagers come with relative uncertainty, but this one seems to be much more of a gamble. With larger risks come higher rewards.
It's difficult to envision each Derby contender's projected path to the 2020 Kentucky Derby at this time. I'm fairly certain the Arkansas Derby (G1) will be contested on May 2, but the major Derby prep races that have been postponed thus far might be a lost cause. The postponed Santa Anita Derby is one such race.
We will have no spring Blue Grass Stakes or Wood Memorial. The Road to the Kentucky Derby is under construction.
For these reasons, my best advice for betting this pool would be: Don't.
But I'm tasked with providing insight as a horseplayer, and here's how I would go about betting the KDFW.
• Focus on 3-year-olds that got off to a late start following a promising freshman campaign. Maxfield (20-1 morning line) won his only two starts as a 2-year-old, including the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. He's yet to start in 2020. Basin (30-1 morning line) is probably a better value. He also won a Grade 1 in 2019 and finished third in the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park last month.
• Take a shot with some 50-1 morning line horses. A few that catch my eye are Enforceable, trained by Mark Casse; Linda Rice's Max Player; and Three Technique, trained by Jeremiah Englehart. How these horses will look in September is anyone's guess, but I'd rather have 50-1 on an unknown than 8-1 on a horse that looks good in the early spring.
• Play exactas with "all other 3-year-olds" on top over all of the above-mentioned horses. Over the years I've listened to bettors who play their KDFW top choices on top and put the "field" underneath. I haven't heard as many horseplayers use that option on top. The exacta payouts tend to be very juicy in these pools.
My $100 mythical bankroll for the pool would look like this:
$30 win #12 Maxfield
$20 win #2 Basin
$10 exacta key #24 "all other 3-year-olds" over #2, #4, #11, #12 and #21 (Basin, Enforceable, Max Player, Maxfield, Three Technique)
Bets for the KDFW can be placed at online wagering outlets across North America. There are no refunds in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Should Churchill Downs officials determine during the duration of the three-day pool that one of the wagering interests has experienced an injury, illness or other circumstance that would prevent the horse from participating in the Kentucky Derby, betting on the individual horse will be suspended immediately.