Breeders’ Cup Photo ©
Earlier today, the field for the inaugural Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager Pool was announced, and the new wager looks like a very fun and intriguing type of bet!
The wager, which will open at noon EST on November 26th and close at 6:00 pm on November 29th, offers bettors the chance to bet on which stallion will sire the winner of the 2016 Kentucky Derby. Twenty-three individual stallions plus an “all other stallions” option make up the field, and the list of individual stallions includes such well-known names as Awesome Again, Bernardini, Curlin, Giant’s Causeway, Kitten’s Joy, Malibu Moon, Tapit, Unbridled’s Song, and War Front. The complete list of stallions, along with morning line odds and details of their sire records, can be viewed here.
Since this is the first year that the bet is being offered, it’s hard to know what the best strategy might be for playing the wager. One obvious and fun choice is to bet on your favorite stallions–Curlin and Kitten’s Joy would be at the top of my list!–but another option is to examine each stallion’s current crop of two-year-olds and see which ones have the strongest group of Derby contenders at the moment. Of course, this will change as the months pass and up-and-coming young colts rise through the ranks, but for the moment, here are the stallions that I think offer the best value in the pool:
Bernardini (30-1) – Of all the stallions on the list, Bernardini quite possibly has the highest number of well-known Derby contenders at this point in time, led by Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner Greenpointcrusader, Nashua Stakes (gr. III) third-place finisher Sail Ahoy, impressive Aqueduct maiden winners Seymourdini and Shagaf, and Churchill maiden winner Moon Gate Warrior. He also has a large number of two-year-olds in his current crop (107), and has thoroughly proven himself as a sire of top-notch ten-furlong runners, with his notable progeny from years past including the Travers Stakes (gr. I) winners Stay Thirsty and Alpha.
Candy Ride (30-1) – The sire of the 2013 Eclipse champion 2yo colt Shared Belief had a bit of a quiet year in 2015, but looks poised to have a major presence on the 2016 Derby trail as the sire of the unbeaten allowance winner Gun Runner and recent Churchill Downs maiden winner Hand of Power. He’s sired three horses that ran in the Derby, and while none hit the board, the capable Chocolate Candy did finish fifth in 2009.
Curlin (30-1) – He’s had a starter in the Kentucky Derby every year since his first crop of foals turned three years old in 2013, and his three Derby starters (Palace Malice, Ride On Curlin, and Keen Ice) all went on to win or place in the Preakness or Belmont. His top Derby contenders this year include recent Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (gr. III) winner Exaggerator and the unbeaten Secret Passage, who won a Remington Park allowance race in impressive fashion earlier this month.
Harlan’s Holiday (30-1) – Sadly, Harlan’s Holiday passed away near the end of 2013, but his final crop of three-year-olds are a remarkably promising group that includes Futurity Stakes (gr. II) winner Annual Report, Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (gr. III) third-place finisher Harlan Punch, and Champagne Stakes (gr. I) third-place finisher Portfolio Manager. He is also the sire of Denis of Cork, who finished third in the 2008 Kentucky Derby and second in that year’s Belmont Stakes.
Tapit (15-1) – He’s the co-favorite among the individual sires, and for a good reason–his top 2yo progeny this year include Nashua Stakes (gr. III) winner Mohaymen, Churchill Downs allowance winner Synchrony, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) starter Conquest Big E, and Saratoga maiden winner Rafting. He’s also had respectable success as a sire of Derby runners, with his sons Normandy Invasion and Frosted both finishing fourth in the Derby, and he is also the sire of Tonalist, who won the 2014 Belmont Stakes.
Now it’s your turn! Who stallion do you think offers the best value in the 2016 Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager Pool?
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