Jeremy Plonk: Kentucky Derby Future Wager Analysis

The first of five 2022 Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools will be held Thursday-Sunday this holiday week, adding more than leftovers to the Thanksgiving menu. The pari-mutuel offering once again will include 22 individual betting interests with a pair of multiple-horse interests for all other 3-year-old fillies and all other 3-year-old males. Xpressbet will offer KDFW wagering all four days.

The “all other males” category tends to dominate the earliest KDFW annual action, and this year should be even more so. That’s because of Churchill Downs’ current ban of trainer Bob Baffert and its subsequent impact on horses that he trains. Baffert’s current 2-year-olds include Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Corniche as well as graded stakes winners Pinehurst, Rockefeller and Messier. That 10-1 leading individual option Jack Christopher is currently on the mend from surgery (and not expected back into training until after the New Year) raises even more doubt about the solo entries.

Baffert’s absence leaves only the Keith Desormeaux-trained Oviatt Class representing California among the individual entrants. Instead, the lineup is stuffed with New York and Kentucky-based runners, many of which will wind up wintering in Florida, Louisiana and Arkansas. This far out, it’s difficult to accept anything less than 50-1 odds in my estimation. Given the weight the “all other males” option will take, that mathematically pushes prices up on the others in this pari-mutuel exercise and makes 50-1 a possibility.

As always in KDFW pools no matter the time of year, important stakes held that same weekend typically have a major underlay and overlay impact. Horses who run well in Saturday’s Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs are likely to be overbet; those who are defeated with a reasonable excuse are worth a glance at what should be an inflated price. My most interesting price plays among the individuals are horses expected to be competing Saturday, which could work against a price pursuit.

Keep your eyes on:

18-Smile Happy (50-1 ML) | One of the most impressive Keeneland Fall Meet maiden breakers I’ve seen in a decade, if not the most impressive.

10-Howling Time (20-1 ML) | Finish in the Street Sense Stakes indicated he’ll handle more.

The KDFW also includes a sire wager in the same application as a 24-option, pari-mutuel bet. The respective sires of our horses to watch are Runhappy/Smile Happy (20-1 ML) and Not This Time/Howling Time (15-1 ML). It may be beneficial to watch those price fluctuations in the event a sire could go off higher than those individual horses in their respective pools and potentially provide more value.


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