Fierceness hardens into Kentucky Derby favoritism at 5-2 in Pool 6

April 7th, 2024

With Pool 6 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) closing at 4 p.m. (ET) Saturday, bettors had to lock in on their selections before the results of the last major preps. 

The latest compelling data points had taken place on March 30, especially the 13 1/2-length Florida Derby (G1) romp by Fierceness, who therefore closed as the 5-2 favorite in the sixth and final KDFW pool.

Last year's champion two-year-old male, Fierceness had been the 8-1 individual favorite in Pools 2 and 3, following his Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) victory. But the Todd Pletcher trainee lost that ranking after he was upset in the Feb. 3 Holy Bull (G3), and he drifted up to 16-1 in Pool 4. A strong workout pattern saw Fierceness claw back some support in Pool 5, finishing at 9-1, and he regained favoritism with his Florida Derby conquest. 

Meanwhile, Sierra Leone had taken over the favorite's mantle in Pool 4 (as the 6-1 individual favorite) and in Pool 5 (as the overall 7-1 choice), thanks to his rousing rally in the Feb. 17 Risen Star (G2). After Pool 6 closed, with Sierra Leone as the 7-1 second choice overall, the Chad Brown pupil rolled to another victory in the Blue Grass (G1).

Japan's Forever Young boosted his claims on March 30 with a victory in the UAE Derby (G2), prompting bettors to establish him as the third pick in Pool 6 at 8-1. A 34-1 shot when debuting in Pool 3, he gained some traction at 21-1 in Pool 4, shortened to 12-1 in Pool 5, and continued the 

Two of the three contenders closing at 12-1 were beaten in Saturday's preps. Deterministic was eighth in the Wood Memorial (G2), and Dornoch checked in fourth in the Blue Grass. Sandwiched between them in the Pool 6 wagering was Catching Freedom, hero of the March 23 Louisiana Derby (G2). 

The mutuel field of "All others," favored in the first four pools, floated up to 11-1 in Pool 5, and doubled that price when trading at 22-1 at the end of Pool 6. Next at 22-1 came Just a Touch, the runner-up to Sierra Leone in the Blue Grass.

Also notable among the individual interests who ran on Saturday were Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Stronghold (30-1); the top two in the Wood Memorial, Resilience (76-1) and Society Man (the biggest Pool 6 longshot at 793-1); and Blue Grass third Epic Ride (156-1).

Timberlake was ruled out of the Kentucky Derby, and wagering was accordingly suspended on him as an individual interest.

Here are the final odds for Pool 6:

#1 Be You52-1
#2 Catalytic99-1
#3 Catching Freedom12-1
#4 Common Defense234-1
#5 Deterministic12-1
#6 Domestic Product40-1
#7 Dornoch12-1
#8 El Grande O117-1
#9 Encino63-1
#10 Endlessly37-1
#11 Epic Ride156-1
#12 Evening News147-1
#13 Fierceness5-2
#14 Forever Young8-1
#15 Good Money157-1
#16 Grand Mo the First179-1
#17 Hades92-1
#18 Honor Marie26-1
#19 Just a Touch22-1
#20 Just Steel30-1
#21 Lat Long322-1
#22 Mc Vay194-1
#23 Merit478-1
#24 Mystik Dan35-1
#25 No More Time277-1
#26 Resilience76-1
#27 Seize the Grey42-1
#28 Sierra Leone7-1
#29 Society Man793-1
#30 Stronghold30-1
#31 T O Password135-1
#32 Tapalo294-1
#33 Tessuto516-1
#34 TimberlakeSCR
#35 Top Conor80-1
#36 Track Phantom53-1
#37 Tuscan Sky24-1
#38 Uncle Heavy72-1
#39 West Saratoga121-1
#40 “All Others” 22-1

Pool 6, which ran Thursday through Saturday at 4 p.m. (ET), attracted handle of $376,038 ($268,996 in the win pool and $107,042 in exactas), up from last year’s comparable figures of $369,443 ($271,230 in the win pool and $98,213 in exactas).

With the six KDFW pools in the books, and the lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (KOFW) that was offered alongside Pool 5, Churchill Downs reported total handle of $2,052,391 across all future wagers, surpassing the 2023 total of $1,813,542 by 13%. 

Complete details, including will-pays and exacta probables, will be available on the KDFW page on

The 150th Kentucky Derby will be contested on May 4, 2024.