The first of what will be three Future Wagers for the 2012 Kentucky Derby closed last Sunday with the field being the favorite once again. Churchill Downs began offering early wagers on the Derby in 1999, and in every year the field has drawn the most interest of the 24 possibilities. The mutuel field includes all three-year-olds that were not among the 23 thoroughbreds that bettors were allowed to place a wager on.
The horse that is considered to be the favorite, according to the Future Wagers, is the Michael Matz trained Union Rags. Union Rags opened the wagering at 10-1 and was down to 7-1 by the time wagering was closed. Matz is expected to run Union Rags in the Fountain of Youth Stakes later this month and then in the Florida Derby before horse racing’s biggest day on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs. Eclipse Award winner, Hansen, saw his stock drop drastically in the wagering as he opened at 12-1 and fell to 26-1. Hansen suffered his first set back, at Gulfstream Park in the Holy Bull Stakes earlier in the month, leaving race fans wondering if he can sustain his early speed for a full mile and a quarter.
Algorithms, who won the Holy Bull Stakes, opened the Future Wager as the top individual horse with odds at 8-1. Those fell throughout the wagering and he finished behind Union Rags at 12-1. Among the other notable individuals were Discreet Dancer (30-1), Gemologist (22-1), Out of Bounds (23-1) and El Padrino at 16-1. The total handle for this year’s first pool was $631,304, which broke the record of $620,362 set in 2005. This record and the excitement surrounding the early wagering has to be another feel good moment for the racing industry, as earlier in the month nominations for this year’s Triple Crown spiked by 33 contenders over 2011.
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