Finding value in pool 1 of Kentucky Derby future wager

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Ed DeRosa

February 6th, 2013

My strategy in recent future wagers has been to play horses in the 20-to-50-to-1 range that I thought had a good chance of making the gate and showed talent enough to win it. It's a grind having many units tied up for months, but it paid off last year when I got about 3-to-1 on my money when I'll Have Another rewarded my confidence in him early (Derby week I switched my pick to Hansen, ugh) and returned $1,669.50 on $395 wagered.

I think this year's offering (click for FREE Ultimate PPs on the 23 individual horses plus select "field" contenders) requires a different approach, however, because three of the top four horses in my mind are far better than the next tier of horses. If the field and/or the other 20 individual betting interests take too much money, then I wouldn't hesitate to play Itsmyluckyday, Flashback, or Verrazano in the 15-to-1 range.

What would make me shy away from Itsmyluckyday and possibly others as we learn more about their next targets is that they might not even run again before the second (or third!) future pool. It's important to ask yourself how dormancy could affect prices. If individual interests run again, those who run well will be shorter prices in future pools.

In this pool, Itsmyluckyday, Revolutionary, and Shanghai Bobby might not run until Pool 3 weekend or beyond. I.e., there's a very good chance Itsmyluckyday could be 12-to-1 in this pool but 15-to-1 in seven weeks. Nothing will have changed except other horses showing capability (others will drop off, too, of course).

That's not as big a risk with Verrazano and Flashback since they're both more likely to run again, if not by Pool 2 then certainly by Pool 3. Verrazano, in particular, has shown me enough talent that I'm interested in him if the 15-to-1 morning line holds up. Unfortunately, I think he'll be more like 12-to-1.

Which brings us to the field. I can't imagine the super horse it would take for this option not to be favored in pool 1, and we certainly don't have that this year, but I do think we have enough good horses that maybe the field drifts a bit into the $7+ range for a $2 ticket, and I'm definitely interested at 3-to-1.

I've typically shied away from the field because the aforementioned 20-to-50-to-1-range horses offer the most value, but there is a good collection of horses in the field that I suspect will be a part of pools 2 and/or 3 next month, which goes back into the concern I expressed for taking Itsmyluckyday now versus later.