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California Chrome closed as one of the individual favorites in the final Kentucky Derby Future Wager (Photos by Eclipse Sportswire).

The fourth and final pool of this year’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed Saturday, and the favorite among the betting choices was none other than the “all others” option.

For only the third time in the 16-year history of the bet, the bettors preferred the option of every other horse other than the 23 individual horses offered in the pool.

“All others” is naturally the favorite in the early pools, and rightfully so. The “all others” choice in the first pool has paid off seven times in the past 15 years. One might be tempted to say this is a bad bet, however, given that six out of those seven times the “all others” future bet paid off less than the winning horse paid in the Derby. But when you consider that having an “all others” future means you have a bet on a very large number of horses - and usually multiple horses in the actual Kentucky Derby field - it starts to look like a really great bet.

BE THERE: See Wynonna Judd & The Big Noise LIVE at the 1st Annual Fillies and Lilies Party at the Kentucky Derby Museum on Oaks Night.

Sure, you could have bet Mine That Bird in the Derby and won $103 instead of winning $5 in the future pool. But let’s be honest, you were never going to bet Mine That Bird in the Derby.


Mt BNumbers Inside Eclipse

In the second pool, “all others” has won six times in the past 15 years. So the results aren’t much different. The payoffs in those cases tick up quite a bit, though. In 2009 and in 2004, two of the years the “all others” wager paid off in both the first and second pools, the payoff was almost double in the second pool.

Is there a betting angle here? Probably.

The point is that the closer we get to the first Saturday in May, the more races people have seen from the Derby hopefuls and the more confident the public grows on individual horses.

By the time the third pool comes around, not only have we seen enough races from the 3-year-old class to settle in on our picks, the folks at Churchill Downs have seen enough to drop the pretenders out of the pool and to install the horses that are putting up impressive numbers.

This year, Churchill added a fourth Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool, so for comparison we’ll take a look at the final pools from previous years and this year’s last future wager.

This change in the lineups in the pool are reflected in the results. In the third pool, “all others” has only paid off twice in 15 years. Mine That Bird in 2009 and Charismatic in the first year of the bet, 1999. Even 2005 longshot winner Giacomo was offered in the third pool of the future wager, albeit at 25-to-1, having placed second in the San Felipe Stakes that year and heading into the Santa Anita Derby as one of the top choices. (He would disappoint in that race, finishing fourth and helping pump his Derby odds up to 50-1!)

The last time the “all others” choice closed as the favorite in the final pool was in 2010. That year’s Derby winner, Super Saver, was offered in the third pool at 35-to-1. The favorite among the individual choices that year was Lookin At Lucky, who closed the pool at 9-to-2 but disappointed in the Derby by finishing 6th.


Super Saver Inside

Before that, the only other time that “all others” was the final favorite was in 2004. That year’s Derby winner, the unbeaten Smarty Jones, was a new addition to the future pool in Pool 3 and closed at 10-to-1, while the “all others” choice finished at 6-to-1.

What’s the point of all this? I suppose it’s to say that the “all others” bet is historically a loser in the final pool. Having a bet on an individual horse in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool, even in the third pool, is a smart bet, however. Ten out of 15 times the winner of the Kentucky Derby has paid better in the final future pool than on race day. The two times the field bet from the final pool hit, the payoff on race day was nearly triple!
If you really hated all the future wager entries that much, chances are on Derby day you’ll be able to toss them all and get amazing prices on the remaining horses. That should probably reap you better rewards. Chances are, after taking a hard look at the field, you might find something about these 23 horses you like after all.

My advice - it’s fine to play the field for the first two pools, especially in Pool 2. But by the final pool, it’s best to settle down and commit. 

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David Hill

David Hill is a writer, an agitator, a comedian and a gambler. He grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas near the Oaklawn Park. Today he lives in New York City. Further reading at

Image Description

David Hill

David Hill is a writer, an agitator, a comedian and a gambler. He grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas near the Oaklawn Park. Today he lives in New York City. Further reading at

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