The 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday, May 6, 2017. The Run for the Roses is the most-attended and most-watched of any of the stakes races, and the qualifying process is almost as exciting. As we get closer to that first Saturday in May, here is what you need to know about those qualifying races and how to get in on the latest Kentucky Derby futures pool.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby
Qualifying for the Kentucky Derby is based on a points system through a series of 35 races called “The Road to the Kentucky Derby.” Only 20 horses will qualify for this iconic race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds.
During the 2017 qualifying season, there are 19 Kentucky Derby Prep races and 16 Kentucky Derby Championship Season races. Each race awards points to the top four finishers, with points and earnings escalating as we move closer to May.
What is a Futures Pool?
You can bet on individual horses during races comprising The Road to Kentucky Derby, but one way to take advantage of more favorable early odds for the Derby itself is to bet in a futures pool. A Kentucky Derby future wager typically offers larger payouts on a horse than if you waited until race day to make the same bet. This is because most of these horses haven’t even earned a spot in the race yet, so the odds are a bit longer. Additionally, if your horse scratches or does not qualify for the Derby, there are no refunds on futures bets.
A future wager gives you 24 opportunities to bet on the Kentucky Derby race outcome. There are 23 individually-named horses in the pool, and the 24th choice is “all others,” meaning a horse not listed will win the race.
A Breakdown of Kentucky Derby Futures Pool 2
The Kentucky Derby Futures Pool 2 is open from January 27-29, 2017. Pool 2 has changed substantially from Pool 1 with ten names added to the list for the three-day run. The ten names added to the list are: Untrapped, American Anthem, State of Honor, Battalion Runner, Sonic Mule, El Areeb, Petrov, Faja, Mont Saint Legame, and Guest Suite.
Horses from Pool 1 that didn’t make the list for Pool 2 include Takaful, Beach Bum, Syndergaard, Hemsworth, Saint’s Fan, Hookup, Running Mate, Just Move On, and Klimt. Also, Not This Time was scratched after a November injury removed him from contention.
The total win pool as of midday January 28th was $78,424. By the time Pool 1 closed (Nov. 24-27), the take was $221,801, and Pool 2 topped $441k in 2016. The record handle for a futures pool this time of year was $631,304, set in 2012.
The best odds in this pool? In an early pool such as this one, the favorite is the “all others” bet, which is currently at 2-1. The top individual picks in Pool 2 are Classic Empire (9-2), Mastery (7-1), McCraken (10-1), American Anthem (15-1), and Gromley (16-1).
If you didn’t get into Pool 2 by Sunday, January 29th at 6 p.m. Eastern, you’ll get your next chance with the Kentucky Derby Futures Pool 3, scheduled for Feb. 24-26 and Pool 4 from March 31-April 2.