The Wynn Race & Sports Book in Las Vegas beats all other outlets every year when it comes to posting the widest range of Kentucky Derby win futures. Each fall they offer odds on as many as 300 different two year olds who have the potential to be on the Triple Crown trail. The risk is obviously incredibly high, but it’s a chance to secure some much higher odds on some horses than you’ll be able to by the time May rolls around. If nothing else, it’s a whole lot of fun to look at what odds are available, pick your favorites, and dream of a huge payday — and the bragging rights of picking a winner many months before the Derby.
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Here’s a look at some of the highlights of the Kentucky Derby futures odds on offer after the Breeders’ Cup along with some betting predictions:
Shanghai Bobby (18/1)
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile made a big-and-not-surprising drop from 40/1 to this level after his win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. I’m skeptical of his ability to handle the Derby distance, but his effort in the Juvenile was incredibly impressive. As a general rule once a horse is passed in the stretch he’s done. Horses are herd animals, so when they are passed they feel as if they have been dominated, and they let up their effort. Shanghai Bobby was passed in the stretch, and it very much looked like his race was done. He dug in, though, and fought back to win impressively. That says that this horse has tremendous heart — and no shortage of talent to go with it. I see no value in this price, but I sure am excited to see what he can do in the spring.
Doug O’Neill won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness last year with I’ll Have Another, and this horse may represent his best chance to win it again. After the Breeders’ Cup he won the Delta Jackpot, a million dollar race at Delta Downs. He did it in impressive fashion as well, wiring a pretty solid field and holding up nicely down the stretch. There are concerns — he represents the first winner for sire Into Mischief, so his capabilities are unproven. We know he’s maturing nicely, though, so he’ll be one to watch the rest of the way.
He’s Had Enough (25/1)
O’Neill has a strong stable this year, and this horse may even be stronger than Goldencents. He shares the same connections — owner and jockey — as I’ll Have Another. He was a solid second in the Juvenile, and he seems to be maturing before our eyes. Can lightning strike twice?
This Mark Casse trainee sure passes the visual test. He won the Iroquois in very impressive fashion, and he looked to have a whole lot in reserve. I really believe in Lion Heart, his sire, and Casse is going to break through on the biggest stage at some point. He’s definitely one to watch.
Bern Identity (100/1)
Compared to the others on this list, there is value here. He was the favorite in the Delta Jackpot that Goldencents won. He didn’t win, but he made a very nice move down the stretch, and he looked like he would have gotten stronger the longer he was asked to run. He’ll need to be able to run further than he has to win the Derby, so his stamina is a big benefit. I like this horse.
Power Broker (35/1) and Title Contender (85/1)
These two Bob Baffert trainees were massive disappointments in the Juvenile. They were my top two choices in the race, and I was far from alone. Neither one was even remotely relevant in the race, though, and there was no clear excuse for either. Despite the setback, the talent both horses have is massive, and they aren’t done yet. Remember, Mine That Bird was dead last in the Juvenile before winning the Derby. Power Broker in particular is one that I don’t want to give up on. He may be a better sprinter ultimately, but his sire Pulpit was great, and he has a much better race in him.
Capo Bastone (40/1)
He opened up a lot of eyes with his second-place finish in the Juvenile, and he has dropped to this price from the heights of 225/1. I’m not buying him, though. I’m not crazy about the breeding, and I think he was running out of gas just when you don’t want to. He may prove me wrong, but I doubt it, and I won’t be betting on him.
Todd Pletcher is always loaded with three year olds, and even with Shanghai Bobby in the stable this horribly-named colt may turn out to be his best. He has been very impressive in two races, and his pedigree is perfectly suited to the race. They are being patient with him, but patience has proven to be far from a bad thing with Derby horses in recent years.
Calgary Cat (150/1)
I know very little about this Canadian-bred, Mark Sasse-trained, Woodbine-based runner. I live in Calgary, though, and my wife always bets on horses with Cat in their name — and does very well at it — so I obviously have a date with destiny here. It’s not much of a reason, but this far before the Derby it’s as good as any.
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