Not much separating Kentucky Derby elite

Mar 10, 2009 6:06 PM

Call it the half-mile pole in assessing possible Kentucky Derby winners, but for the moment Old Fashioned and The Pamplemousse head a tightly bunched list at 9-1 in the latest futures odds at Lucky’s Race and Sports Books.

"Right now the Derby is still wide open," said Dan Shapiro, director of marketing for Lucky’s. "Almost all the favorites have holes or question marks. The synthetic racing surfaces in California make it tough to judge the quality of the West Coast 3-year-olds such as The Pamplemousse and Pioneerof The Nile. It’s a guess as to whether their form will hold up on traditional dirt at Churchill Downs."

The Pamplemousse has won two races at Santa Anita – the San Rafael and Sham Stakes. Old Fashioned is off a win last month at Oaklawn Park in the Southwest Stakes. Pioneerof The Nile is part of a Fab Five at 10-1 that also includes Lecomte and Risen Star Stakes winner Friesan Fire, Dunkirk, Hello Broadway and I Want Revenge.

"We saw I Want Revenge run big in the Gotham at Aqueduct coming off synthetics, but that doesn’t mean others will do the same," Shapiro said. "Graded earning will also come into play this year. Some of the top contenders such as Dunkirk, Patena and Theregoesjojo have little or no graded earnings and will need to win their final prep in order to be eligible for the Derby. There’s still a long way to go."

Theregoesjojo is listed at 20-1, while Patena is 22-1. Ahead of them are Quality Road (12-1), Desert Party (15-1), Chocolate Candy (20-1) and Imperial Council. Quality Road beat Theregoesjojo in the recent Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Midshipmen received the most betting action at Lucky’s until an injury forced him out of the Derby. "The handle has been strong on the Derby futures," Shapiro said. "Right now the most money in on Dunkirk."

If you are looking for longshot value, there’s Count Fleet and Whirlaway Stakes winner Haynesfield at 100-1. Lucky’s list of top Derby hopefuls is below:

DERBY FUTURES
horse
open
now
Old Fashioned
100-1
9-1
The Pamplemousse
75-1
9-1
Pioneerof the Nile
60-1
10-1
Dunkirk
75-1
10-1
Friesan Fire
125-1
10-1
Hello Broadway
50-1
10-1
I Want Revenge
125-1
10-1
Quality Road
150-1
12-1
Desert Party
75-1
15-1
Chocolate Candy 
60-1
20-1
Imperial Council
35-1
20-1
Theregoesjojo
100-1
20-1
Patena
75-1
22-1
Westside Bernie
150-1
25-1
Beethoven
75-1
30-1
Danger To Society
100-1
30-1
Free Country
100-1
30-1
Giant Oak
150-1
30-1
Silver City
100-1
30-1
Big Drama
50-1
40-1
Cribnote
40-1
40-1
Flat Out
90-1
40-1
Flying Pegasus
60-1
40-1
Mr. Hot Stuff
125-1
40-1
Stardom Bound (filly)
50-1
40-1
This Ones For Phil
75-1
40-1