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Essential Quality Ends Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 5 Still Favored
Essential Quality (Credit: Coady Photography)

Essential Quality Ends Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 5 Still Favored

LOUISVILLE, KY – Undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) champion Essential Quality, the 3/1 morning line favorite when wagering began Friday, ended up the 4/1 favorite when the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) Pool 5 closed Sunday evening.

KDFW Pool 5 is the final round of $2 Win and Exacta wagering on possible entrants for the Kentucky Derby (G1). The three-day wagering event opened March 26 at 12 PM noon and ended March 28 at 6 PM (all times Eastern).

Essential Quality opened KDFW Pool 4 (held March 5-7) as the 7/2 favorite one weekend after impressively winning the Southwest Stakes (G3) in his 2021 debut and stood a slightly better chance at victory after the Pool 4 closing favorite Life Is Good exited a workout with an injury that will keep him off the Triple Crown trail.

Essential Quality is one of three in Pool 5 from trainer Brad Cox. Caddo River (30/1 start, 36/1 final) won the Smarty Jones Stakes to start the year but finished off the board in the Rebel Stakes (G2) as the 6/5 favorite. A week later, Mandaloun (fell from 30/1 to 36/1) suffered a similar fate in the Louisiana Derby (G2).

Caddo River is expected to return in the Arkansas Derby (G1) April 10 at Oaklawn Park, and while plans for Mandaloun are still pending, a trip to the Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland that same day is considered possible.

Saturday’s Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park and Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park were the weekend’s major prep races, but neither race winner (Known Agenda or Like the King, respectively) was part of KDFW Pool 5. The Pool’s morning line second choice Greatest Honour fell from 4/1 to 9/1 after the Florida Derby’s 6/5 favorite finished third, failing to complete his sweep of Gulfstream Park’s main events for 3-year-olds on dirt.

Here are the final betting odds from KDFW Pool 5:

1Big LakeSteve Asmussen50/1*SUSPENDED*
2Caddo RiverBrad Cox30/133/1
3CollaborateSaffie Joseph Jr.30/136/1
4Concert TourBob Baffert9/25/1
5Crowded TradeChad Brown30/138/1
6Dream ShakePeter Eurton50/145/1
7Essential QualityBrad Cox3/14/1
8Greatest HonourShug McGaughey4/19/1
9HeliumMark Casse30/128/1
10Hidden StashVictoria Oliver50/153/1
11Highly MotivatedChad Brown30/125/1
12Hot Rod CharlieDoug O'Neill6/112/1
13HozierBob Baffert30/144/1
14MandalounBrad Cox30/136/1
15Medina SpiritBob Baffert20/113/1
16Midnight BourbonSteve Asmussen30/127/1
17O BesosGreg Foley50/150/1
18PrevalenceBrendan Walsh20/121/1
19ProxyMike Stidham30/151/1
20Risk TakingChad Brown30/130/1
21Rock Your WorldJohn Sadler50/131/1
22SpielbergBob Baffert50/146/1
23WeyburnJimmy Jerkens30/135/1
24All Other 3-Year-OldsN/A20/15/1

There are no refunds in the KDFW. Should Churchill Downs officials determine during the duration of this week’s three-day pool that one of the wagering interests has experienced an injury, illness or other circumstance that would prevent the horse from participating in the Kentucky Derby, betting on the individual horse will be suspended immediately.

On March 23, Daily Racing Form’s Mary Rampellini reported that Big Lake was out indefinitely, as a condylar fracture was discovered following his third-place finish in the Rebel. As such, betting on Big Lake was unavailable for the duration of the wagering period.

More information and real-time odds are available online at

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