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Jon White: Kentucky Derby Future Wager Analysis

by Jon White

April 7, 2022

This week is your last chance to participate in Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW).

Wagering in KDFW Pool 5 begins Thursday (April 7) at noon and concludes Saturday at 4:30 p.m., both ET. Keep in mind betting closes before the Wood Memorial, Blue Grass Stakes and Santa Anita Derby are run.

Pool 5 of the KDFW originally had been scheduled for last week, but Churchill officials made the decision to delay it by one week.

As usual with respect to the KDFW, Pool 5 consists of 23 individual horses, plus an “all other 3-year-olds” option.

Mike Battaglia has been making the official Kentucky Derby morning line going all the way back to 1974. This will be his 49th year in that role.

Battaglia also sets the morning line for the KDFW. He has pegged Epicenter as the 5-1 morning-line favorite in Pool 5, followed by Smile Happy at 6-1. Forbidden Kingdom, Messier and White Abarrio are next, each listed at 8-1.

The “all other 3-year-olds” option is 15-1 on Battaglia’s line.

As I have mentioned previously, what you generally want to do in future wagering is to take a swing at a possible big payoff with a horse at a really nice price. But as the Kentucky Derby gets closer, trying to find a worthwhile future bet becomes harder.

Take Simplification, for instance. He is 15-1 on Battaglia’s Pool 5 line. If you like Simplification, waiting until race day to bet him would seem the prudent way to go. Not only are you likely to get a price in that neighborhood of 15-1 on race day, the important difference is if he’s entered and doesn’t start, you get a refund. That’s not the case in future wagering.

One horse at the morning-line prices in KDFW Pool 5 that looks interesting to me is Japan’s Crown Pride at 50-1. If the UAE Derby winner stays anywhere around 50-1, I definitely will be putting some money on him. Considering Japan’s recent prowess in big races all over the globe, playing Crown Pride at around 50-1 does not seem to be a wacky idea. That’s a big enough of a price to go ahead and bet him despite not receiving a refund if it so happens that he doesn’t start.

Below are the morning-line odds for Pool 5 of the 2022 KDFW:

No. Horse (Morning Line Odds)

1. Barber Road (30-1)
2. Charge It (12-1)
3. Crown Pride (50-1)
4. Cyberknife (12-1)
5. Early Voting (20-1)
6. Emmanuel (20-1)
7. Epicenter (5-1)
8. Ethereal Road (50-1)
9; Forbidden Kingdom (8-1)
10. In Due Time (50-1)
11. Messier (8-1)
12. Mo Donegal (20-1)
13. Morello (20-1)
14. Pioneer of Medina (30-1)
15. Simplification (15-1)
16. Slow Down Andy (50-1)
17. Smile Happy (6-1)
18. Summer Is Tomorrow (50-1)
19. Tawny Port (50-1)
20. Tiz the Bomb (12-1)
21. White Abarrio (8-1)
22. Zandon (20-1)
23. Zozos (30-1)
24. “All Other 3-Year-Olds” (15-1)