Books set for Derby ‘onslaught’

May 1, 2001 11:13 AM

And they’re off! Well, they’re almost off.

But it’s nearing time for the most exciting two minutes in sports, the 127th running of the Kentucky Derby.

The official draw and odds will be posted on Wednesday, but GamingToday has a preview (see chart below).

Whether you like Point Given, Congaree, Millennium Wind, Monarchos or Jamaican Rum, just about all race bettors look at the "two minutes of passion" as a time to unfurl serious betting money.

"It’s definitely the biggest race of the year," said Palace Station race and sports book director Rob Terry. "It’s the Super Bowl of horse racing. The Breeders’ Cup (in October) is perhaps the biggest race day of the year. People who don’t usually bet horse racing like to make that one bet."

This year, that one bet will have more choices. The Derby will no longer couple or offer mutual field betting. All horses, up to 20 of them, will be separate betting interests.

The action in the race books should be intense all day leading up to the 3:04 p.m. post.

"This is the third greatest day for us," said Robert Walker, The Mirage race and sports book director talking about the NCAA tournament’s first two days. "For the casual fans, it’s the greatest day for horse racing. And this year, with it wide open, it should be a great race."

Adding to the excitement will be casino parties, promotions and contests throughout Las Vegas.

"It’s a great party every year. This is one of the best parties (for the Derby) in Las Vegas," said Bally’s race and sports book director John Avello.

Race books also beefed up their staff to accommodate the onslaught of bettors.

"We will have extra ticket writers," said Las Vegas Club race and sports book director Jonathan Jester.

Boulder Station will have 15 betting windows for post time. There will also be additional seating in Boulder’s race book. At Palace Station, "We’ll have every window open," Terry said. "We’ll be at full staff."

Early, early odds 3-year-olds, 11/4 miles

Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY

Saturday, May 5 ”¡ 3:04 p.m. PST NBC-TV

Early GamingToday odds by Mike Battaglia,
official linemaker at Churchill Downs
Point Given 2-1
Congaree 5-1
Millenium Wind 6-1
Balto Star 8-1
Monarchos 8-1
Dollar Bill 10-1
A P Valentine 12-1
Express Tour 20-1
Songandprayer 20-1
Keats 30-1
Jamaican Rum 30-1
Fifty Stars 30-1
Thunder Blitz 30-1
Invisible Ink 30-1
Talk Is Money 50-1
Startac 50-1
Arctic Boy 50-1