The Kentucky Derby Future Wager offers four opportunities to bet on the Kentucky Derby field in the first leg of the Triple Crown. These wagers become available at the end of November, January, February and March for only days at a time. Odds for the horses change depending on the results of the races during the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
As the prep races for the Triple Crown season unfold, new three-year-old colts are added to each subsequent pool, while others are removed depending on availability.
First introduced in 1999, the Future Wager originally had three pools.
Racing analyst James Scully remembers betting $20 win on “all Others” in the lone pool in 1999, because Wood Memorial winner Adonis was omitted from the individual interests & was trained by two-time Derby winner Nick Zito. Adonis ran 17th in the Derby but James backed into a $302 payout (14-1 odds) because Charismatic upset the field at 30-1 & was part of “All Others.”
The winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby was 50/1 longshot Mine That Bird and was not featured on the KDFW. The favorite for the 2009 Kentucky Derby was Quality Road at odds of 6/1. Quality Road withdrew a week out due to an injury.
The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager also made its debut in 2008 and was originally a two-pool venture. Since then, it has become a single pool market and is released at the same time as Pool 3 for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
The name of the game is value when it comes to the KDFW. A prime example of this was Nyquist, who would win the 2016 Kentucky Derby as thefavorite. By the time the race began, Nyquist was a 2/1 preference ahead of Exaggerator, who would finish second at 8/1. In November 2015, however, the Kentucky Derby Future Wager allowed you to bet on Nyquist at odds of 9/1.
The fourth pool of wagering was added in 2014, the year that California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby. By the conclusion of the final round for future wagers, California Chrome was a 5/1 favorite. At the beginning of the Kentucky Derby, however, he had dropped to 5/2.
Triple Crown winner American Pharoah opened the 2015 KDFW at 12/1, but summarily lowered to odds of 9/2 by the fourth round of future wagers. Not surprisingly, his value was marked at 5/2 by the time the 2015 Kentucky Derby began.
In 2015, Twinspires.com also introduced the Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager to coincide with the KDFW. This pool allows fans to bet on the Kentucky Derby winner’s father instead of a specific horse. Popular choices in this new market have included Super Saver, Tapit and Curlin. In 2016, Uncle Mo provided three offspring for the Kentucky Derby including Nyquist, who was the eventual winner.
In 2020, yet another pool of wagering was added, bringing the total number of wagering pools up to five.