By Dick Powell

The second of four pools, Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager runs Friday-Sunday this weekend and offers intriguing value. 

Let’s start with last Sunday’s Super Bowl LII. When the conference championships were finished two weeks before, the New England Patriots were immediately made a six-point favorite. Instead of going up, the number came down and with injuries to Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady, it was expected that the point spread would go back up when New England bettors saw their two stars were physically fit. 

Never happened! The point spread dropped down to four or 4 ½ at game time in most markets so if you liked the Eagles, you were better off betting them early instead of late. If you were real shrewd, you could have taken the Eagles plus six then bet the Patriots minus four to try to get a middle if the Pats won by five. 

So the early line is not always a bad line. In the Future Wager bet, I would wait until Sunday afternoon to decide who to play. And remember, we are picking a horse to win the Kentucky Derby (G1), not a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race

Thus, Dosage Index and birthdays become important to know now instead of finding out a week from the Derby that the horse you have on a ticket doesn’t have the pedigree or is too young to win.  

To have a frame of reference, I went back to 2000 for each Kentucky Derby winner’s foal date and dosage index. Two things stick out. First, the dosage index, the ratio of speed to stamina in a horse’s pedigree, is nearly irrelevant. The last three winners of the Derby were over 4.00 and five of the last 18 as well. 

Second, the foal date seems much more important. The only May foaling date was MINE THAT BIRD on May 10, 2006.

Second, the foal date seems much more important. The only May foaling date was MINE THAT BIRD on May 10, 2006. The list, as you can see, is tilted towards favoring early foal dates. 

Year

 

Kentucky Derby Winner

 

Foal Date

 

Dosage Index

2017

 

Always Dreaming

 

02/25

 

5.00

2016

 

Nyquist

 

03/10

 

7.00

2015

 

American Pharoah

 

02/02

 

4.33

2014

 

California Chrome

 

02/18

 

3.29

2013

 

Orb

 

02/24

 

3.21

2012

 

I’ll Have Another

 

04/01

 

2.11

2011

 

Animal Kingdom

 

03/20

 

1.67

2010

 

Super Saver

 

03/18

 

3.00

2009

 

Mine That Bird

 

05/10

 

4.33

2008

 

Big Brown

 

04/10

 

1.67

2007

 

Street Sense

 

02/23

 

2.14

2006

 

Barbaro

 

04/29

 

2.41

2005

 

Giacomo

 

02/16

 

4.33

2004

 

Smarty Jones

 

02/28

 

3.29

2003

 

Funny Cide

 

04/20

 

1.53

2002

 

War Emblem

 

02/20

 

3.40

2001

 

Monarchos

 

02/09

 

1.40

2000

 

Fusaichi Pegasus

 

04/12

 

3.67

             

So let’s look at the 23 horses that are listed in Kentucky Derby Future Wager-Pool 2 

#

 

Horse

 

Foal Date

 

Dosage Index

 

M/L

1

 

AUDIBLE

 

02/19

 

5.00

 

12-1

2

 

AVERY ISLAND

 

04/06

 

2.64

 

20-1

3

 

BOLT D’ORO

 

03/17

 

3.00

 

10-1

4

 

CATHOLIC BOY

 

04/12

 

2.08

 

20-1

5

 

COMBATANT

 

05/02

 

2.60

 

50-1

6

 

COPPER BULLET

 

03/07

 

3.00

 

50-1

7

 

ENTICED

 

03/23

 

3.00

 

30-1

8

 

FIRENZE FIRE

 

03/17

 

4.14

 

30-1

9

 

FREE DROP BILLY

 

05/03

 

1.74

 

20-1

10

 

GOOD MAGIC

 

03/01

 

3.40

 

10-1

11

 

INSTILLED REGARD

 

04/06

 

1.59

 

30-1

12

 

MASK

 

02/02

 

3.33

 

12-1

13

 

MCKINZIE

 

02/25

 

2.33

 

8-1

14

 

MENDELSSOHN

 

05/17

 

1.80

 

30-1

15

 

MONTAUK

 

04/13

 

3.00

 

20-1

16

 

MOURINHO

 

05/21

 

3.00

 

12-1

17

 

PRINCIPE GUILHERME

 

02/20

 

3.00

 

30-1

18

 

RETIREMENT FUND

 

04/02

 

1.57

 

30-1

19

 

SOLOMINI

 

04/29

 

3.00

 

20-1

20

 

SPORTING CHANCE

 

02/21

 

2.20

 

50-1

21

 

STRIKE POWER

 

04/27

 

3.67

 

20-1

22

 

TIZ MISCHIEF

 

05/06

 

3.00

 

30-1

23

 

UNTAMED DOMAIN

 

04/02

 

1.46

 

30-1

                 

So, there is a 1-in-18 chance to be a late foal and win the Derby and a 5-in-18 chance to have a dosage index above 4.00. It might be anecdotal due to the small sample but four of the five Derby winners that had high dosage indexes were very early foals so maybe physical maturity can overcome a gene pool tilted towards speed.

And, the one Kentucky Derby winner that had both a high dosage index and a late foaling date, MINE THAT BIRD, paid $103.20 so if you like someone that is bred for speed and is a late foal, make sure you get a good price.  

Trying to balance those two factors with the morning line odds, I can throw out MOURINHO and MENDELLSOHN. TIZ MISCHIEF is not worth it even at 30/1 as he will still be a 2yo when the race is run. 

My plan is get a longshot to at least make the Kentucky Derby starting gate. The perfect horse in pool 2 is to have a longshot win his next start and go to Kentucky as one of the favorites. Then you have a great chance to hedge your bet and lock in a profit. You want to avoid horses that will not see much of an odds drop between now and then. A 12/1 shot that goes off at 8/1 in the Derby is not worth the risk. I can always wait until the day of the race and get the 8/1.  

The horse that fits the bill for me is COMBATANT. At 50/1 in the morning line, he was second in the Smarty Jones Stakes last out at Oaklawn Park and has the benefit of Steve Asmussen to get him to the first Saturday in May. If he runs well in his next two starts, Combatant will be worth it.

If Combatant wins one of his final preps, he will be really worth it. 

By the way, Combatant is not my pick to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby. He’s the horse I’m playing in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.