Kentucky Derby Futures: Trends to Watch for Feb. 16

Iliad (left) and McCraken made the big moves in the Las Vegas Kentucky Derby future wager books this week after picking up impressive stakes wins. (Eclipse Sportswire)

One of the most exciting pit stops on the Road to the Triple Crown involves laying down some cash on a futures pick for the 2017 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands. For the next several weeks, America’s Best Racing will bring you up to date with the changing odds and new entries at two of the main Kentucky Derby future wager bookmakers in Las Vegas – the books at Wynn Las Vegas and William Hill.

We’ll revisit these odds when new sheets are released and until the group of viable contenders dwindles after major prep races are completed. As for now, dreams remain fresh and achievable for a multitude of owners and gamblers alike to get their horse to the starting gate at Churchill Downs on May 6.

Feb. 16 Odds Leaders:


1.  McCraken (6-1)

2. Mastery (8-1)

2. Classic Empire (8-1)

4. Irish War Cry (10-1)

5. Gormley (18-1)

5. Mo Town (18-1)

William Hill:

1. McCraken (6-1)

2. Classic Empire (8-1)

3. Mastery (10-1)

4. Irish War Cry (12-1)

5. Mo Town (15-1)

Feb. 16 Notable Changes:

McCraken: Assumed the top spot in both future books after his impressive win in the Sam. F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 11, in which he posted a new best Equibase Speed Figure of 108 and once again demonstrated his professional running style. Undefeated in four starts, with sights set on the March 11 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.

Iliad: Odds dropped from 125-1 to 50-1 at Wynn after he romped in the seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 12 at Santa Anita Park. That was not a Kentucky Derby points race, but owner Kaleem Shah and trainer Doug O’Neill say that he’ll target the final two big points prizes at Santa Anita coming up in the next seven weeks, the San Felipe Stakes on March 11 and/or the Santa Anita Derby on April 8. Not listed in William Hill’s Feb. 12 sheet.

Malagacy: He’s moved from 150-1 to 100-1 at Wynn and from 75-1 to 45-1 at William Hill after another dominating performance at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 12, this time taking a 6 ½-furlong optional claimer by seven lengths. That followed a blowout, 15-length win in his Jan. 4 career debut.

Tapwrit (Kenny Martin/Coglianese Photos)

Tapwrit: Made big moves on both sheets, with odds plummeting from 100-1 to 30-1 at Wynn and from 125-1 to 25-1 at William Hill. The new money is obviously impressed with his strong-closing second behind McCraken in the Sam F. Davis, where he came from farther back in the crowd than in his prior two starts, both wins at Gulfstream.

Dabster: Odds moved from 100-1 to 60-1 at William Hill and remained steady at 65-1 at Wynn for this Bob Baffert runner, who grittily won a one-mile maiden at Santa Anita on Jan. 16 by a half-length after being disqualified from first to fourth in his debut race in late December. He worked a half-mile in :47.80 at Santa Anita on Feb. 14.

Irish Freedom: Another change at William Hill, where his odds moved from 150-1 to 75-1 in anticipation (or is it hope?) that he can return from a pastern injury suffered last summer and make a late-developing Derby run. Owned by Jerry Crawford’s Donegal Racing and trained by Baffert, this Pioneerof the Nile colt rallied to edge Royal Mo by three-quarters of a length in his only start to date, a six-furlong maiden at Del Mar in August. He was sidelined shortly after that, but has been working steadily at Santa Anita this month. His odds are unchanged at 50-1 on Wynn’s sheet.

You’re to Blame: Odds dropped from 200-1 to 150-1 at Wynn after this Chad Brown-trained son of Distorted Humor won his 3-year-old debut by three-quarters of a length at Parx Racing on Feb. 11. That seven-furlong race was his first start since finishing fifth in the Remsen Stakes on Nov. 26 at Aqueduct. He’s already got a win at a mile, breaking his maiden in the one-turn variety at Belmont Park on Oct. 15, and it will be interesting to see where he shows up next. His odds remain at 125-1 at William Hill. His dam (mother) is $500,000 earner and multiple stakes winner Bon Jovi Girl, who is a half-sister to multiple champion Gio Ponti.

Feb. 16 New Choices:

Egyptian Hero (Eclipse Sportswire)

Egyptian Hero: A new entry on Wynn’s sheet at 75-1 after making his 3-year-old debut in style at Tampa Bay Downs on the Sam F. Davis undercard, where he won a seven-furlong race by four lengths for the Coolmore partnership and Todd Pletcher. He debuted late as a juvenile, checking in fourth at Gulfstream in December. This Pioneerof the Nile colt is from the family of Grade 1 winners Chaposa Springs and You and I.

Anotador: Finished second to Egyptian Hero (mentioned above) at Tampa, and he was third in his two prior starts. This son of Dialed In is 200-1 on Wynn’s sheet.

Cloud Computing: Another Chad Brown trainee who turned heads in the Northeast last week. He’s a new high-odds entry by Wynn at 200-1 after winning his six-furlong career debut at Aqueduct on Feb. 11 by 1 ¾ lengths. He is from the first crop of Maclean’s Music, who set speed figure circles abuzz in his only start before being retired due to injury. Cloud Computing’s dam placed in multiple stakes and is out of Grade 1 winner Halo America.

En Hanse (Coady Photography)

En Hanse: Added to Wynn’s sheet at 200-1 odds following his sharp 3 ½-length win in the WEBN Stakes on Feb. 11 at Turfway Park. That was his third win in seven career starts, although he’s raced poorly in his two starts longer than 6 ½ furlongs. He’s co-owned by Dr. Kendall Hansen – who bred and co-owned his sire, champion Hansen – and Olympic skier Bode Miller.

Huracan Americo: Group 1 winner and champion in Peru reportedly targeting the April 1 Florida Derby for owners Drs. K.K. and V. Devi Jayaraman, and he’s been added to Wynn’s sheet at 250-1 odds. The Florida-bred is a son of Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer.

Upcoming Derby Prep:

Saturday’s El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields offers Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 sliding scale. Vegas Derby future wager odds for the field in post position order are as follows:

Zakaroff (not listed)

More Power to Him (250-1 Wynn)

Ann Arbor Eddie (125-1 Wynn, 100-1 William Hill)

Tribal Storm (not listed)

Sheer Flattery (125-1 Wynn)

Colonel Samsen (not listed)

Kona Dreams (not listed)

Monday’s Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park offers Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 sliding scale. Vegas Derby future wager odds for the field in post position order are as follows:

Cool Arrow (125-1 Wynn, 100-1 William Hill)

Silver Dust (100-1 Wynn, 85-1 William Hill)

Uncontested (40-1 Wynn, 25-1 William Hill)

Lookin At Lee (35-1 Wynn, 40-1 William Hill)

Rowdy the Warrior (150-1 Wynn)

Cu Rahy (not listed)

Warrior’s Club (175-1 Wynn, 150-1 William Hill)

Petrov (75-1 Wynn, 125-1 William Hill)

Dilettante (200-1 Wynn)

Hence (150-1 Wynn)

One Liner (125-1 William Hill)

P C Cowboy (not listed)

Chief Know It All (250-1 Wynn)

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