by Jeremy Plonk
March 11, 2019
All the Kentucky Derby top-20 lists got put to the public test this past weekend. We learned more about the class of 2019 from $282,199 actually wagered in pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager than all the editorial ideas put together. Mine included.
Here are some interesting takeaways from the actual real polling (done with more than $600,000 wagered in the win pools of the KDFW 2 and 3):
Game Winner is slightly less fancied now ($14.20 return) than he was in pool 2 ($13.40) and pool 1 ($13.80). Yet, he hasn’t run since any of those wagering offerings. Meanwhile, stablemate Improbable also hasn’t run since pool 2, yet is more fancied now ($14) as the slight individual favorite than he was then ($17.60). If you’re reading the XBTV workout tea leaves, you can tell people have been paying attention to the morning drills as Improbable has earned slightly better reviews.
Hidden Scroll was co-second choice at $17.60 in pool 2, but his Xpressbet Fountain of Youth loss has inflated his price to $25.40 though still third choice. In other words, they still haven’t found anyone better after the loss, but confidence has waned some on the horse himself.
War of Will dropped from $36.80 in pool 2 to $27 this time around, a slight sign of increased appreciation since winning the Risen Star in-between, but not a full buy-in. He’s a 2-time graded stakes winner in the 2019 calendar year and fourth choice behind a trio of horses 1: 0-0-0 in stakes this season. Further evidence that the public hasn’t fondly treated Fair Grounds is Risen Star runner-up Country House let go as a $61 offering.
Bourbon War has gone from $64.80 in Pool 2 to now a $27.80 fifth individual choice on the back of his Xpressbet Fountain of Youth runner-up. Like his running style, he’s picking up steam the farther we go.
Code of Honor beat Bourbon War and Hidden Scroll in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth, but that didn’t carry over to the KDFW confidence meter. He’s the $31.60 sixth choice in the individual ranks, circling back his reputation in some fashion. He was taken off the roll for KDFW Pool 2 after running fourth as the odds-on favorite in the Mucho Macho Man in January. Last fall, he was fifth wagering individual choice at $39.40 in Pool 1. So you can see he’s almost regained that status, but there’s not a total buy-in for the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth result.
The biggest reputation restoration was Roadster. A $66.60 proposition in KDFW Pool 1 in the fall, and sort of written off out of sight, out of mind in Pool 2 when not offered as a betting interest. He’s all the way down to $35.60 now and seventh choice in Pool 3 after his March 1 allowance return win. Without a doubt, the public spoke that they liked this. At $56.40, it’s clear that Baffert stablemate Mucho Gusto, the Lewis winner headed to Sunland, hasn’t won the minds of the public as much as the flashier Roadster.
A bit more surprising to me than what we saw with Hidden Scroll’s Xpressbet Fountain of Youth loss not being much of a public deal-breaker, so, too, remained their confidence in Instagrand after finishing third in Saturday’s Gotham at a short price. That Instagrand is only a $36.40 return is a sign the public will likely bet him back next time he runs with some forgiveness. It would seem the ‘needed-the-race’ and ‘pace casualty’ crowd are in greater numbers than those ready to bail.
The individual favorites around $14 now are par for the course. Justify was a $14.40 favorite at this point last year (before the Santa Anita Derby) and dropped to $8.40 in pool 4 (after). McCraken, yes him, led the way 2 years ago at this stage at $15.60. You could have gotten American Pharoah as a very lukewarm favorite at $18.20 at this point in 2015.
The all-others at $11.80 also is very representative and normal. It’s been $10, $12.40, $13.20 and $10.60 in most recent years. That tells us the public has the same defensive feel about this crop as any other; nothing abnormal to see here.
Here’s the complete KDFW Pool 3 final odds. Horses in order of favoritism in the three-day March 8-10 KDFW Pool 3 (Odds and $2 Win Will Pays):
#24 “All Other 3-Year-Olds” (9-2, $11.80)
#11 Improbable (6-1, $14)
#7 Game Winner (6-1, $14.20)
#10 Hidden Scroll (11-1, $25.40)
#21 War of Will (12-1, $27)
#2 Bourbon War (12-1, $27.80)
#3 Code of Honor (14-1, $31.60)
#16 Roadster (16-1, $35.80)
#12 Instagrand (17-1, $36.40)
#6 Galilean (22-1, $47.40)
#15 Mucho Gusto (27-1, $56.40)
#4 Country House (29-1, $61)
#9 Harvey Wallbanger (33-1, $69.40)
#23 Win Win Win (34-1, $71.40)
#18 Spinoff (36-1, $74.40)
#20 Vekoma (37-1, $76.40)
#1 Anothertwistafate (38-1, $78.80)
#17 Signalman (38-1, $79.60)
#8 Gunmetal Gray (43-1, $89)
#14 Mind Control (55-1, $113.60)
#5 Dream Maker (56-1, $114.40)
#19 Tax (59-1, $120.60)
#13 Intrepid Heart (63-1, $129.80)
#22 Well Defined (216-1, $435.40)