Derby fever starts when the BC Juvenile winner crosses the finish line as aspirations abound as if this is the “next great one”, most of those have just been dreams as only Street Sense was able to double back on the first Saturday in May.
The rest of us feel the Derby trail begins when they start taking wagers in the futures Pool which the first pool closed today.
The Derby format for eligibility changed this year, merit is now based on a point system that is heavily laden towards future preps such as the Santa Anita Derby, Florida Derby, Wood Memorial, etc…
In past years, it was based on money earned in Graded events making virtually 2 year old champion races having minimal value.
Last year’s freshman champ, Shanghai Bobby has currently earned 24 points, victories include the Grade I’s Champagne & Breeders Cup, Grade II Hopeful, and a runner-up finish in the Grade III Holy Bull.
A new runner who might have only raced in Maiden races or Allowance ranks who gets entered in the Wood Memorial with no prior graded races could run 2nd (40 points) and be ahead of Shanghai Bobby in the pecking order to go to the starting gate. Is this fair? I am not to judge and certainly the old system had it’s critics as well, but I am here to contrast opportunity.
As of the publishing, the first Future Pool closed a few hours ago. With so much uncertainty of the new rules, I wasn’t surprised to see the field bet hammered down to 8/5. In fact, your’s truly sent a Benjamin in on it right before the bell. No other individual betting interest was single digits. I also played the exacta top and bottom with doctor ALL.
The next pool is slated for March 1-3rd. Only a handful of preps will take place on or before that weekend which means you will be offered another wagering opportunity similar to Pool I.
Typically the field bet odds go up in each pool, here is how I would advise playing the next pool:
-Play the field at 9 to 5 or better, I expect over half the 20 runners come May 4th will be in your arsenal and of that group 5 of them will be the top 8 wagering propositions Derby day.
-Only play a single entrant if his odds are at or above 40 to 1
The math is pretty simple, races from March 3rd on will dictate who enters the gate and with trainers slowly prepping many new faces who haven’t even been considered yet, they might be first in-line to the gate while many of the 23 listed might be on the outside looking in.
May your future bet cross the wire first