LOUISVILLE, KY – Four weeks in advance of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, the lightly-raced and unbeaten Justify closed as a resounding 3-1 favorite in Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW).
Four-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert’s late-blooming Justify improved his record to a perfect three-for-three on Saturday with a three-length victory over seasoned Grade 1 winner Bolt d’Oro in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby.
Ireland-based Mendelssohn, the 18 1/2-length winner of the Group 2 UAE Derby for Coolmore and trainer Aidan O’Brien, closed as the 5-1 second choice.
All told, six horses finished with single-digit odds. The Todd Pletcher-trained Grade 1 Florida Derby winner Audible was the 7-1 third choice. The Grade 2 Rebel Stakes winner Magnum Moon, also trained by Pletcher, closed fourth in the betting at 8-1 odds and will run in next Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes winner Good Magic closed at 9-1, slightly ahead of Bolt d’Oro, also at 9-1.
Justify, winner of his 7-furlong career debut on February 18, is attempting to buck one of the last so-called Derby “rules” that is rarely challenged. Apollo, champion of the 1882 Kentucky Derby, is the only horse to win the “Run for the Roses” without racing as a 2-year-old. The record of horses in the Derby without a race at age 2 since 1937 is 61-0-3-5. During that span, the only horses to finish in the Derby Top 3 without racing at 2 were runner-ups:
- Coaltown (1948)
- Strodes Creek (1994)
- Bodemeister (2012)
and third-place finishers:
- Hampden (1946)
- Agitate (1974)
- Reinvested (1982)
- Curlin (2007)
- Battle of Midway (2017)
Results of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 are as follows (in alphabetical order):
|#||HORSE NAME||ODDS||GROSS WIN POOL||FINAL $ ODDS||$2 PAYOFF|
|7||Free Drop Billy||47||$5,790.98||47.20||$96.40|
|17||My Boy Jack||27||$9,694.58||27.80||$57.60|
|24||Mutuel Field (All Others)||17||$15,131.78||17.40||$36.80|
Others that closed as 3-1 favorites in recent Pool 4s of the KDFW were Nyquist (2016), Uncle Mo (2011) and Big Brown (2008). Nyquist and Big Brown won the Derby. Empire Maker, the runner-up to Funny Cide in the 2003 Kentucky Derby, was a 5-2 favorite in the final pool that year.
The Kentucky Derby Future Wager, offered for a 20th consecutive year, enables bettors to wager on possible Kentucky Derby contenders in advance of America’s greatest race at odds that could be more attractive than those available on the day of the race. The $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds will be run for the 144th consecutive year on Saturday, May 5.
Total handle for the KDFW pool – the final of four wagering pools in advance of the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby – was $543,010 ($339,036 in the Win pool and $203,974 in Exactas), a 23.3% increase from last year’s $440,511 ($294,665 in the Win pool and $145,845 in Exactas). This year, Churchill Downs handled $1,893,353 in future wagers since November – a significant 25.4% jump from last year’s total future wager handle of $1,510,195.
For more information about these future pools or past pool results, visit our official Kentucky Derby Future Wager page.