Bettors took a wait-and-see approach in first pool of Kentucky Derby Future Wager

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December 14th, 2019

Two weeks after the close of the first pool in the 2020 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), the significant popularity of the "All Other 3-Year-Old Males" option looks even more understandable.

In line with historic trends, the "field" was bet down to 11-10 in pool 1. It's a safe option considering that, in the past three years, the likes of Always Dreaming, Justify, and Country House were at this point all months away from doing anything that would remotely qualify them from being an individual wagering interest. The same would have also been the case with Maximum Security, who was disqualified from first in the Derby last May.

The last two Derby winners to be individual wagering interests in Pool 1 were Nyquist (2016) and American Pharoah (2015), both well-regarded juvenile champions. The opaque nature of the division this year is another reason why the "all others" option proved so appealing.

Although he failed to enhance his championship credentials when third as the heavy favorite in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), Tiz the Law still came out narrowly favored among the individual entries at 11.9-1. Storm the Court, who might win the Eclipse Award by default as the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner, by contrast was a cold 41.3-1 when the pool closed.

Future Wager bettors were a forgiving bunch with respect to Dennis' Moment, who closed at an even 12-1 after his stumbling start in the Breeders' Cup left him at the rear of the field throughout the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile. Breeders' Futurity (G1) hero Maxfield, who will attempt to get back into the Derby chase following recent ankle chip surgery, was well-backed to 13.1-1 despite that fact.

The only other horse under 20-1 was Nashua (G3) romper Independence Hall, who closed at 13.8-1. The decision of connections to bypass the Dec. 7 Remsen (G2) with Independence Hall was generally well known Thanksgiving week and thus his popularity was not going to take much of a hit.

Besides the Remsen, the only interim race contested as of this writing has been the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), where Thousand Words edged Anneau d'Or. On that sole result, Thousand Words' 34.1-1 offering in Pool 1 looks slightly better than Anneau d'Or's 31.5-1.

Answer In, 64.3-1 in Pool 1, figures to be well supported in Sunday's $400,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park, the final 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby series prep of this season. The road to Derby glory has rarely made a pit stop in Oklahoma City, but anything close to a relatively big win would have holders of tickets on Answer In dreaming of a nice payoff come May.

If history is anything to by, though, the Springboard Mile result probably isn't going to make "field" bettors think twice about having settled for the virtual equivalent of a winning hand at blackjack.