By Dick Downey
Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager heads into its third and final day on
Saturday. Odds on All Others rose from the first day's 3-5 to 6-5 at the close of the second day.
Handle is down year over year. According to kentuckyderby.com, the official Kentucky Derby website, $124,673 has been wagered so far in Pool 2. Last year's Pool 1, set at a comparable time on the calendar, attracted $333,279 the first two days.
Pool 2's Thursday-through-Saturday schedule is a departure from previous years when the pools have run Friday through Sunday. Last year at this time, the first day drew $178,437 in wagers, and the second day drew $154,842. This year, day one attracted $62,082, and day two $62,591.
The comparable pool in 2012 drew a record $631,304 and in 2013, a near-record $621,493 was wagered.
Last November, the first time Churchill Downs has held a Future Wager pool so early, handle was $273,174. Another change the company made this year was to eliminate the popular Road to the Roses contest, but whether that decision has dampened the enthusiasm of bettors is best left to experts on the subject. It hasn't helped that the New York Racing Association is not accepting the bet, blaming a contract dispute with Churchill Downs according to a report by David Grening of Daily Racing Form.
The top three horses in wagering so far in Pool 2 include two that have yet to race this year. Shared Belief stands at 12-1, and Cairo Prince and Honor Code are both 15-1. Cairo Prince won the Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 25.
Top Billing, a recent allowance winner, follows at 17-1. Strong Mandate, set to make his 2014 debut in the Southwest Stakes, is 18-1. Midnight Hawk, the morning line favorite for today's Robert B. Lewis Stakes, is 22-1. Commissioner is 24-1, California Chrome and Indianapolis are 26-1, and Havana is 27-1. Everything else is 30-1 or greater after the first two days of wagering.
For more facts and figures about present and past future wager pools, please click here.