While most people don’t consider December to be the best month for betting on Kentucky Derby prospects that hasn’t stopped several of the biggest sports books in Vegas from offering odds on hundreds of horses who may or may not be the next Secretariat.
The Wynn Race & Sports Book kicked off the fun by opening their 2012 Kentucky Derby future book in September. The vast majority of horses are going off at astronomical odds between 200/1 and 500/1, but a select few have taken plenty of early money – especially if they put in a strong perforce at the Breeders’ Cup.
The two obvious leaders and fan favorites are Union Rags who opened up at 60/1 and now stands at 10/1 and Hansen who started at 250/1 and has been bet down to 18/1. Hansen’s break out performance by winning the BC Juvenile on his first start on a dirt surface proved that he can be a real contender as a 3-year-old. Union Rags went off as the favorite and ran a great race but had to deal with a lot of lost ground and a terrible trip.
The mid priced contenders are other winners such as Algorithms, Alpha, Consortium, Dullahan, Ever So Lucky, Liaison, and O’Prado Again with odds ranging from 20/1 to 40/1. Of this group Liaison looks to be on the most solid ground going forward. His win in the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity gave him his 3rd consecutive overall win and second straight route win going 1 1/16 miles. Liaison is trained by Bob Baffert, the king of Synthetic to Dirt conversions and looks like he’ll be the one to beat wherever he shows up next.
With hundreds of horses to choose from the odds are at least 100/1 for most of these contenders just to make it to the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. That is why if you’re going to make a future bet this early in the game you need to look for value. Luckily there are one or two horses that could have a legitimate shot at huge future book prices.
My Miss Aurelia trained by Steve Asmussen is now sitting at 100/1 a bit below her opening price of 125/1. This filly is certainly the best of the 2-year-old crop and with filly’s dominating the top tier of US racing over the past few years – why can’t she take on the boys? My Miss Aurelia is a perfect 4 for 4 at Saratoga, Belmont, and Churchill and if anyone can get her ready to face the colts it’s Mr. Asmussen and Stonestreet Stables, the same team that brought us Rachel Alexandra for her historic season in 2009.
For those who really want to go out on a limb check out Shkspeare Shaliyah who has two wins at 1 1/16 miles including the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park. While he is a proven threat on the turf – he still has much to prove on the dirt. After a ninth place finish (out of 14 starters) in the Breeders’ Cup Juveniles Turf some have written this horse off hence a price of 225/1 if he wins the 2012 Kentucky Derby.