|Upstart winning at Saratoga on Travers Day|
(Photo Credit: NYRA)
With the Run for the Roses less than three months away and live Kentucky Derby wagering available, we'll take a rundown below of some of the top competitors in Pool 2 and where they finished in the final odds tabulation. I made two small wagers, action bets if you will, a $5 win bet on Khozan, who finished at 25-1 (will pay $131 with a win), over his morning line odds of 20-1. The second bet was a $1 exacta wager, boxing All Others with American Pharoah, Dortmund, Khozan and Upstart.
The key in making a future wager is betting on horses that you believe will be at a higher price now than they will be when they leave the gate on May 2. Of course, most of the 23 horses in Pool 2 may never even see a Derby gate, it makes the wager all the more riskier. In 2014's second pool only five of the 23 horses included in the wager actually made the Derby starting gate. There is still a third Future Wager Pool that will run Feb. 27 to March 1.
Here are some of the top competitors and some preliminary thoughts on each (in alpha order):
American Pharoah (final odds 10-1). This son of Pioneerof the Nile, a second place finisher behind Mine That Bird in 2009, has the pedigree to handle the mile and a quarter and has been described as one of the best 3-year-olds Bob Baffert has ever trained. He missed the Breeders' Cup Juvenile due to injury and has not raced since last September, and had his first recorded workout of 2015 on Feb 2.
Carpe Diem (final odds 12-1). The second place finisher in the BC Juvenile, and son of Giant's Causeway has not raced since the Breeders' Cup for trainer Todd Pletcher, who has 34 nominees to the Triple Crown. He will likely start next in the Tampa Bay Derby. Had some betting behind him in the Futures pool finishing several notches under his 15-1 morning line odds. Has a Grade 1 under his belt, winning the Breeders' Futurity last fall at Keeneland. He had a sensational workout on Saturday morning drilling five furlongs in 59 2/5, best of seven workers that morning.
Dortmund (final odds 10-1). A son of the 2008 Derby winner, Big Brown, he impressed this weekend in the Robert Lewis rallying in deep stretch after being overtaken by Firing line (final odds 35-1) to overtake his rival and win for Baffert and rider Martin Garcia. An imposing looking horse who should thrive as the distances get longer, like Pharoah is also on the west coast Derby trail.
Khozan (final odds 25-1). Another Pletcher trainee who has only an impressive maiden win under his belt at Gulfstream. I love his breeding with Distorted Humor on top and his dam sired by Belmont winner A.P. Indy. Pletcher is pointing him either to an allowance or a stake with eyes squarely on the Florida Derby, a path that Commissioner, this weekend's Donn winner took last spring winning Gulfstream's premier 3-year-old race.
Ocean Knight (final odds 18-1). This horse was listed on the morning line at 50-1, but took some big money after his win in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa two weekends ago. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said to be thinking about shipping him to New York for the Gotham next. The son of Curlin's speed figures aren't quite up to what some of his competition has been running, but the thing about 3-year-olds is they develop over the course of the early spring. He could be one to keep an eye on.
Texas Red (final odds 9-1). He finished as the second choice behind the field at 9-1, after the BC Juvenile winner finished second in his 2015 debut in the 7-furlong Grade 2 San Vicente last weekend, losing by a neck to Lord Nelson. The Juvenile winner has only won the Derby once in the history of the Breeders' Cup when Street Sense performed the feat in 2007. This son of Afleet Alex should continue to blossom as the trail winds towards Louisville.
Upstart (final odds 12-1). This New York-bred (pictured above) shined in the Grade 2 Holy Bull on Jan. 24 at Gulfstream. Could see him right back in the Fountain of Youth for trainer Rick Violette, Jr. Was third in the BC Juvenile, a race that is shaping up to be one of the better ones in recent memory.
Quite a bit can happen between now and the first Saturday in May, but it sure seems like more than five of the 23 horses listed in Pool 2 will be in the gate when they spring the latch in Louisville.