LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Churchill Downs will offer pari-mutuel
future wagering on the Kentucky Derby in November for the
first time when Pool 1 for the 2014 Derby opens for a
four-day run Wednesday at noon Eastern. While track
officials readily concede that the 24th or “all others”
alternative to 23 separately listed interests figures to be
a huge favorite when wagering closes Saturday, they still
wanted to explore the marketing possibilities of “being able
to offer a futures pool while we’re conducting a live race
meet for the first time,” according to Churchill spokesman
Darren Rogers, while also simply “seeing what it’s like to
have a futures pool this far out from the Derby.”
The mutuel field (No. 24, all others) has been listed as a
2-5 morning-line favorite by Churchill oddsmaker Mike
Battaglia, and with more than five months until the 140th
Derby is run May 3, 2014, surely there will be a vast chasm
back to the others.
Honor Code, the heavy favorite for the Remsen Stakes on
Saturday at Aqueduct, is listed as second choice on the
Churchill line at 15-1. He is followed by two others at
20-1: Almost Famous, the likely favorite for the Kentucky
Jockey Club Stakes on Saturday at Churchill, and New Year’s
Day, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile earlier this
month. The other 20 horses are all at 30-1 or 50-1.
Pool 1 will close Saturday at post time for the Remsen or
KJC, whichever comes first. Rogers said the traditional
Sunday-evening closings for futures pools have been scrapped
and that Saturday closings linked to post times for prep
races will now be used. This is the first time Churchill has
had a futures pool earlier than February. The standard
offering has been three pools, very similar to the schedule
that will ensue early next year, with Pool 2 set for Feb.
6-8; Pool 3, Feb. 27-March 1; and Pool 4, March 27-29. All
three of those will run from Thursday to Saturday, as
opposed to the Friday to Sunday schedule used in prior
A single Kentucky Oaks futures pool will be offered
concurrent to Derby Pool 3.
Lineups are chosen by John Asher of Churchill, Brad Free of
Daily Racing Form, Ed DeRosa of Brisnet, and freelance
racing writer Gary West.As with any parimutuel wager, odds
are not locked in until the pool closes.
Real-time odds and exacta will-pays are available on
selected monitors at tracks and wagering outlets where
futures are offered, as well as on kentuckyderby.com.
Minimum wagers are $2 to win and $2 for exactas, although $1
boxes or part-wheels may be used to reach that $2 exacta
This is the 16th year for the future wager, which was first
offered in 1999. Exacta wagering was added in 2009. In the
case of field horses filling both exacta slots, the
next-best finish by a separately listed horse will count
toward the winning combination.
Rogers said Churchill continues to explore possibilities to
expand the futures lineups beyond 24 interests and to expand
the wagering types (such as trifectas), but computer
hardware limitations have hindered those efforts.
Rogers said it was difficult to predict what handle might be
on this first November pool. Combined handle on Pool 1 for
the 2013 Derby last February was an all-time single pool
record of $621,493, just shy of the record of $631,304 set
with the first pool in 2012.