The Brock Talk

Friday, March 4, 2011

Swing For The Fences When Betting Kentucky Derby Future Wagers

Looking at Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. 1) lists from the Associated Press to the Horse Racing Nation website, it’s appears there is somewhat of a consensus on the top contenders. Nearly every list has Uncle Mo, Dialed In, Soldat, and To Honor and Serve in their top five. Jaycito and Mucho Macho Man are getting their recognition as are Brethren and Santiva.

It would not be a great handicapping feat to pick any of these horses to win the Run for the Roses – even in early March – and most future book odds reflect that. According to the Kentucky Derby future odds from the Wynn Las Vegas Race & Sports Book as published in the Louisville Courier-Journal, Uncle Mo is currently 7-2, followed by Dialed In at 8-1, To Honor and Serve at 10-1, Soldat at 15-1, Mucho Macho Man and Jaycito at 18-1, Brethren at 20-1 and Santiva at 22-1. The realistic odds of Uncle Mo (or any other horse for that matter)even starting in the Derby are may not be too far away from 7-2 at this point. On must certainly factor in the inherent risk any 3-year-old Thoroughbred colt faces in the last two months leading up to the first Saturday in May. Consider the fact that last year’s Derby favorite, Lookin at Lucky, went to the gate at odds of more than 6-1. This time last year, Lookin at Lucky was also on the same level of promise as Uncle Mo currently. So 7-2 on Uncle now isn’t practical.

Almost the same analogy can be applied to the current second and third choices in the future book this year. Super Saver went to the post at 8-1 in the Derby last year and Dialed In is currently 8-1 in the future book at Wynn Las Vegas Race & Sports Book. Sidney’s Candy was the third betting choice in Kentucky last year at 9.5-1. If To Honor and Serve was to be third choice in the Derby this year, it is feasible he will also be in the 10-1 range. Why bet those same odds now?

But if one likes to bet the Kentucky Derby future books, there are horses that have some promise with equally intriguing odds.

So far the Rodney Dangerfield of the sophomore class of 2011 is Archarcharch, winner of the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The last seven runnings of the Arkansas Derby have given us Papa Clem, Curlin, Lawyer Ron, Afleet Alex and Smarty Jones. Currently Archarcharch sits atop that potential Arkansas contingent and he comes from the rising star stable of Bret Calhoun. At 85-1 on the future book, he may present some value.

Another future book bet that may capture your attention is Comma To The Top, listed at 50-1 on some future books. Among the leading Derby contenders after ending his 2-year-old season with five straight wins including the CashCall Futurity (gr. 1) at Hollywood Park Dec. 18, the son of Bwana Charlie flopped in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. 3) Feb. 12, finishing fourth behind winner Silver Medalion. He has since trained well in the morning for trainer Peter Miller, working :58-4/5 at Hollywood Park (2nd fastest among 34) Feb. 28. So if you think the El Camino Real was an aberration, Comma to the Top has the odds to bet the future book.

A little further down the line of potential returns is Sway Away at 30-1. He came from last to second behind The Factor in the seven furlong San Vicente Stakes on a track that was favoring speed. Also second to J.P.’s Gusto in the grade 2 Best Pal Stakes last year, Sway Away may make his next start in the Rebel Stakes (gr. 2) at Oaklawn Park Mar. 19, the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. 3) Mar. 26 or the Sunland Derby (gr. 3 Mar. 27.

Whether it be Sway Away at 30-1 or Archarcharch at 85-1, if wagering on the Kentucky Derby future book, one must certainly look for attractive prices. Don’t be lured in by marginal odds at 25-1 or less. There is a good chance those odds will be very similar on a given horse on the first Saturday in May. Remember too that Old Man Time and his associates - injury and racing luck – are standing smack in the path between your selection and the Kentucky Derby two months away.

There is nothing more deflating than holding a future book ticket on a Kentucky Derby starter on Derby day, looking at the tote-board and seeing current odds looking eerily similar to those on your future book stub. Just as there is nothing more exhilarating than cashing a future book bet on a Derby winner at 85-1 as he crosses the finish line at 10-1 or thereabouts.
So if you’re compelled to bet a future book – swing for the fences my friend.

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