Handicapping the Kentucky Derby Future Wager

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager has grown in popularity each year, as bettors are eager to lock in their odds well in advance of the world’s biggest horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. There are several distinct wagering pools each year as the countdown continues to the First Saturday in May, and if you are looking to get in on the action you might check out this Betamerica review. And if you need a little help figuring out who to be on, let’s look at the contenders for future wager pool 4, with betting available in early March.

The strong favorite in this pool is Essential Quality, and for good reason. The son of Tapit is undefeated in four career starts and was last year’s champion 2-year-old after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Any thoughts of a sophomore slump were quickly extinguished when he romped to an easy win in his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn. Despite all he has going for him, there is one big drawback. At 7-2 on the morning like, there’s not much value in playing this horse two months before the Derby when so many things could happen, namely he could get injured or sick and not even make the race (and there are no refunds in the future wager).

So let’s look for some value.

At 15-1 morning like odds, Mandaloun certainly has some value. The Into Mischief colt has won three of his four starts and he looked very strong winning the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds over a pretty deep field. Like Essential Quality, he’s also trained by Brad Cox.

Hot Rod Charlie, at odds of 30-1, also is intriguing. He ran second to Essential Quality in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at odds of 94-1, and he was beaten less than a length. He has some trouble in his 3-year-old debut but still finished a close third in this prep at Santa Anita, and his trainer Doug O’Neill has already proven he can win the Derby.

Lastly, there might be some value in the playing the field of all other 3-year-olds. This wager gives you every horse except the 23 with individual betting numbers in this future wager pool. With two months to go before the Derby, there is still plenty of time for some of those under the radar horses to pop up and become serious contenders. The morning line on the all others bet is 10-1, so that also offers some value.

No matter which horse or horses you play in the future wager, it gives you a chance to know your odds in advance and start getting excited about the Kentucky Derby well before it’s run!