Earlier today, the second future wager pool for the 2017 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) opened for betting, and as usual, there are plenty of horses to choose from. With 23 individual horses in the field (plus the all-others mutuel field option), there’s bound to be good value on many talented horses. (You can view the full field here.)
Since the most enjoyable part of the future wager pool is trying to find a longshot with a chance to win the Derby (there’s not much fun in betting Classic Empire at 5-1 when he should get at least 5-2 on Derby day), here are four horses at 20-1 or higher that have caught my eye…
Faja (50-1 morning line odds)
You can usually count on Todd Pletcher to get a couple of horses to the Kentucky Derby, and Faja looks like one of Pletcher’s better prospects for 2017. The son of Bodemeister has only run once, but looked great winning a one-mile maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park on December 17th, romping to victory by 8 3/4 lengths. With plenty of tactical speed and an affinity for Gulfstream Park, it would come as no surprise if Faja wins or runs well in a significant Derby prep this winter, earning a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. When it comes to these future wagers, getting your horse to the gate is half the battle!
Guest Suite (50-1)
Although he got an excellent pace setup and didn’t record a very fast final time, Guest Suite looked strong winning the LeComte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds with an eye-catching wide rally. He’s already proven himself at Churchill Downs, winning an allowance race and running third in the Street Sense Stakes, and his LeComte effort was his best yet and suggests he’s progressing in the right direction. Time will tell if he’s good enough to win a race like the Kentucky Derby, but if he stays near his morning line odds of 50-1, I think he’s worth a play.
Irish War Cry (30-1)
Readers of my Bloodhorse.com blog Unlocking Winners know that I am a huge fan of this New Jersey-bred colt, who is 2-for-2 following a determined win in the Marylander Stakes at Laurel Park. A son of Curlin that is bred to thrive in two-turn races, Irish War Cry has shown flashes of brilliance in his brief career, unleashing an eye-catching rally to win his debut at Laurel and running the final furlong of the Marylander in :11.99 after setting the pace. Trained by Graham Motion, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom, Irish War Cry is currently training at Palm Meadows in Florida and could be bound for a Derby prep in the near future, perhaps even the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) on February 11th at Tampa Bay Downs.
Mont Saint Legame (50-1)
This colt is undoubtedly a wild card, since he is based in Japan and is unlikely to run in the United States before the Kentucky Derby. He’s 2-for-2 so far and won the Cattleya Sho (the first of two Derby prep races in Japan) on November 26th at Tokyo Racecourse. That victory has put him in the position to qualify to the Kentucky Derby if he runs well in the Hyacinth Stakes on February 19th, so if you think a Japanese horse has a shot to win the Derby, now might be a good time to lock in a big price on a colt that doesn’t need to do much more to qualify to the race.
Who do you like in the second Kentucky Derby future wager pool?
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