Fans can now back their opinion on the prospects for next year's Kentucky Derby sooner rather than later. For the first time, Churchill Downs will add a fourth pool to its popular Kentucky Derby Future Wager and it will coincide with closing week of the racetrack's 25-day Fall Meet: November 27-30.
The special four-day pool will open November 27 at noon (EST) and close November 30 prior to post time of either the $400,000 Remsen at Aqueduct or $175,000 Kentucky Jockey Club -- which ever race comes first. Both events for two-year-olds are part of the "Kentucky Derby Prep Season" that offer points -- 10 to first, 4 to second, 2 to third and 1 to fourth -- that will ultimately determine the 20 participants for "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" next spring.
The dates for the four Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools are:
- KDFW Pool 1: November 27-30 (4 days)
- KDFW Pool 2: February 6-8 (3 days)
- KDFW Pool 3: February 27-March 1 (3 days)
- KDFW Pool 4: March 27-29 (3 days)
The date for the only Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool is:
- KOFW Pool 1: February 27-March 1 (3 days)
The fields for the four Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools and the single Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool will be selected by a panel of racing officials and journalists. Individual horses included in Pool 1 will be announced on November 25.
The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Future Wagers are innovative pari-mutuel wagers that allow racing fans the opportunity to wager on potential contenders well in advance of those races at odds that could be significantly more attractive than those available on the days the races are run.
For example, Orb paid $12.80 to win on race day of the 2013 Kentucky Derby, but returned $26.20 in Pool 2 and $29.60 in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
More than $1.4 million was wagered on the Kentucky Derby Future Wager in 2012 and 2013, respectively -- the highest totals since 2006 when the wager was offered in a three-pool, four-day format. Another $126,039 was bet on the 2013 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which was a record for the single-pool format.
The Kentucky Derby Future Wager – the first pari-mutuel wager of its kind when launched in 1999 – will be offered for the 16th consecutive year. The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, introduced in 2003, is entering its 12th year and sixth straight year as a single-pool wager.
Each pool will feature 24 wagering interests that include 23 individual horses and a mutuel field, known by many fans as the "All Others" bet. The mutuel field, listed as No. 24 on the betting menu, will feature all foals of 2011 other than the 23 individual Thoroughbreds in the pool regardless of whether those horses have been nominated to the Kentucky Derby, the Triple Crown or the Kentucky Oaks.
Both wagers offer $2-minimum win betting and exacta wagering, which is available in the form of $2 minimum straight exacta bets or $1-minimum exacta boxes and part-wheels. No scratches or betting refunds are permitted in either wager, but wagering on a Derby or Oaks Future Wager horse will be suspended immediately if Churchill Downs determines that injury, illness or other circumstance revealed during a pool would prevent a horse from competing in their respective race.
All winning payouts are determined by the odds in place at the end of each respective betting pool.
Wagering on the Kentucky Derby and Oaks Future Wager will be offered at Churchill Downs and racetracks throughout North America; via TwinSpires.com, the official online wagering site of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs Inc.; other advance deposit wagering sites; and simulcast centers and off-track wagering sites.
KDFW Pool 2, Pool 3 and Pool 4 -- along with KOFW Pool 1 which coincides with KDFW Pool 3 -- will be three-day pools that open at noon (ET) on Thursday. But in a change this year, each pool will close on Saturday afternoon prior to post time of a designated race on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" or "Road to the Kentucky Oaks." Previously, the KDFW pools opened on a Friday and closed on Sunday at 6 p.m.
"Our intent is to present pools that are more true to the future wager concept," said John Asher, Churchill Downs' Vice President of Racing Communications. "Two years ago, we made adjustments to our schedule. Rather than offer pools concurrent with major prep races, we moved them to a week or two in advance of those races and we saw increases in betting. Horseplayers are looking for optimum value, and we feel that closing the pools just before a major race is run is worth exploring. Those bettors with the 'right horse' in advance of the race could potentially receive the most advantageous odds."
The $2 million Kentucky Derby will be run for the 140th consecutive year at Churchill Downs on May 3. The $1 million Kentucky Oaks will be run in its traditional calendar location on May 2, the eve of the "Run for the Roses."