by Dustin Fabian
February 11, 2018
We’re into the final day of wagering the Second Pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager and this could be a nice opportunity for you to lock in on a decent price for a horse you’ve had your eye on for the First Saturday in May. Twenty three horses are up for your consideration, including the three heavy hitters – Bolt d’Oro (6/1), Good Magic (7/1) and McKinzie (7/1). Prices are as of first thing Sunday morning. Wagering closes Sunday at 6PM ET.
That introduction brings me to my first piece of advice. Avoid those low-priced horses if you can. Add Audible (10/1) to that list. Sure, those horses look great right now. But you aren’t betting a race being run today. Those prices would be relatively appropriate for a 20-horse race at Churchill Downs being run this afternoon – not one contested three months from now. A lot can happen in three months to those particular horses, and just about all of it is bad. Plus, Good Magic and Bolt d’Oro haven’t even raced in 2017! And let’s not forget, Bolt d’Oro already had a minor setback.
Since 2000, the average Kentucky Derby favorite started at odds of 3.86/1, with a median price of 4.1/1. So is it really worth it to tie up your money for three months for such a small profit? Food for thought. To me it isn't.
But now that I’ve told you what bets to avoid, here are three horses that jump out at me at relatively decent prices (again, all prices as of Sunday morning):
Instilled Regard (Hollendorfer) – 18/1
He’s entered to run next Saturday in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds, so the timing of this pool is perfect for his backers. You avoid the reactionary handle on him if he were to win that race. And with a win or a second in the Risen Star, he’s probably secured his spot in the Kentucky Derby regardless of what happens in his final prep. And hopefully I don’t jinx him, but he should probably win next week. That field is similar to the one he beat by 3 ¾-lengths in the G3 Lecomte on January 13. His 18/1 price makes him bettable, but I’d steer clear if he drops below 15/1.
Solomini (Baffert) – 19/1
Bob Baffert has a plethora of regarded three-year-old colts (McKinzie, Mourinho, Solomini, Restoring Hope, Zulfikhar, Ax Man, Nero) and separating them isn’t easy. But I’ve always liked Solomini. He crossed the wire first against both McKinzie and Instilled Regard in the G1 Los Alamitos Futurity and was second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Maybe he’s the next in the line of ‘always a bridesmaid’ horses, but at around 20/1, there’s decent upside in backing him for Louisville.
Sporting Chance (Lukas) – 34/1
Layoffs are brutal this time of the year, and the fact that Sporting Chance hasn’t raced since winning the G1 Hopeful at Saratoga on September 4 is a major concern. There’s good news, though. He’s working like a sports car in the mornings, with bullet works on 2/4 (best of 4), 1/22 (best of 46) and 1/15 (best of 113). That tells me he’s getting back to form. Plus, you know Wayne Lukas is going to do what it takes to get him to the ‘Derby, and he’s targeted to start in the G3 Southwest on February 19, which would put him on track for as many as three races prior to the Derby.
Looking to bet the Field?
The field is currently 7/2, and that’s a little high based on the last three years. Look for the odds to be bet down to 5/2 before the pool closes.
Based on historical results from to the folks at the Downey Profile (a heck of a resource this time of the year – bookmark it), there’s about a 60/40 chance that this year’s Derby winner is among the 23 individual horses listed and is not part of the Mutuel Field.