Unless you played the Kentucky Derby Future Pool #1just for fun - which is really the only way to play 12 weeks away from the big dance - here are your chances to cash as I see it.
Smart money = take a shot at entries that already have enough graded earnings to make the Derby gate or are on the verge of guaranteeing their shot with just a few more graded stakes bucks. These entries include: Hansen (26-1) , Union Rags (7-1), Sabercat (34-1), Creative Cause (17-1), Liaison (56-1), Dullahan (40-1), Algorithms (12-1). Unless any of these get hurt, they'll go on May 5 giving their backers something to route for at very nice prices. Others likely to make it: Alpha (19-1) with $180,000 and light competition in New York and Rousing Sermon (71-1) just needing to beat a handful of others in typical small-field Left Coast Derby preps. All others are a crap shoot, pure and simple.
Some will need a graded stakes win or at least two top-three finishes to make it to Louisville, which include zero stakes dollars won by El Padrino (20-1), Fed Biz (21-1), Junebugred (58-1), Midnight Transfer (67-1) and Discreet Dancer (30-1). All have won in allowance company or ungraded stakes, but have yet to make a stakes placing splash. These three-years-olds have a very short window to make up a lot of ground and maybe one or two will...then, again, maybe not.
The middle of the pack are those that just may have peaked at two, made a minor showing this year and just maybe will be here and gone by the end of the month: Take Charge Indy (42-1), Empire Way (33-1), Ever So Lucky (55-1), Gemologist (22-1) and Longview Drive (141-1).
Finally, there are the three that got into Pool 1 by winning the first of the major prep races: Out of Bounds (23-1) winning the Grade 3 Sham Stakes, Mr. Bowling (85-1) winning the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes and Battle Hardened (46-1) winning the Grade 3 Sam Davis. Can they continue their winning ways? We'll see, but I say it's doubtful that any of these make it to the first Saturday in May.
Of course there's "All Others" that came in at 3-2. If you had $5,000 to invest with the likelihood of a 150% return, you'd take it. As I touted all week this was the bet to make, which means of course I didn't make it. Who did I take?
First off, I took the longest shot on the board Longview Drive. Why? He did all the dirty work in the Sham by setting a very fast pace at :22.66, :45.89, 1:09.78, yet still held well to finish third only a length behind the top two finishers. He's got stamina on top with Pulpit and on bottom with a mare out of Wild Again - winner of the initial Breeder's Cup Classic. If he can rate in the Southwest Stakes, he could be very dangerous and live. And if you're taking a future bet, the longest shot is the place to go.
My other choice was Fed Biz, an easy one-turn mile allowance winner who is likely to start next in the San Felipe Stakes. Sired by Giant's Causeway and like Longview Drive is out of a Wild Again mare. Following his almost 6-length win, jockey Rafael Bejarano claimed that Fed Biz was his Derby horse - heady stuff for a February win.