Kentucky Derby Futures: Trends to Watch for March 23

Malagacy (left) and Tapwrit were big movers in the most recent Las Vegas Kentucky Derby future wager books. (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. 

March 23 Odds Leaders:


1. McCraken  (6-1)

2. Tapwrit (7-1)

3. Gunnevera (8-1)

4. One Liner (11-1)

5. Classic Empire  (12-1)

5. Malagacy (12-1)

5. Practical Joke (12-1)

William Hill:

1. McCraken (5-1)

2. Tapwrit (6-1)

3. Classic Empire (7-1)

3. Gunnevera (7-1)

5. One Liner (12-1)

March 23 Notable Changes:

Tapwrit: Odds dropped from 50-1 to 7-1 at Wynn and from 16-1 to 6-1 at William Hill as his stature among Kentucky Derby contenders continues to rise following his visually impressive win in the Grade 2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 11.

Malagacy: Two weeks ago, you could have had him at 100-1 odds via Wynn’s book, but now he’s 12-1 following his third career win without a loss in the Rebel Stakes on March 18 at Oaklawn Park. His odds at William Hill dropped from 45-1 to 16-1. Like Tapwrit, he’s trained by Todd Pletcher. This colt, who did not race at age two, is facing the famed “Curse of Apollo” as he points to the Kentucky Derby – as ABR’s Mike Curry writes.

Iliad: He may have ascended to the top of the standings for California-based horses after finishing a clear second in the San Felipe Stakes on March 11, which was his first start around two turns. The horse who beat him, Mastery, is off of the Triple Crown Trail, and the three other highly touted California runners – American Anthem, Gormley, and Royal Mo – all disappointed in their Derby preps. Accordingly, his Vegas future odds slipped from 40-1 to 25-1 at Wynn and from 50-1 to 22-1 at William Hill.

Term of Art: After finishing third in the San Felipe behind Mastery and Iliad, this colt’s odds plummeted from 350-1 to 100-1 at Wynn and dropped from 175-1 to 100-1 at William Hill. Like Iliad, he’s trained by Doug O’Neill, and he could join Iliad and possibly another O’Neill trainee, So Conflated, in the Santa Anita Derby on April 8.

Untrapped: Loomed a threat to Malagacy at the top of Oaklawn’s stretch in the Rebel Stakes, but he could only muster third at the finish, albeit in a very tight photo with two other horses. His odds dropped from 50-1 to 35-1 at Wynn, although they actually rose slightly from 30-1 to 40-1 at William Hill. He already has 34 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, which should be enough to secure a spot in the starting gate.

State of Honor: After running second to Tapwrit in the Tampa Bay Derby, this Mark Casse-trained colt’s odds dropped from 75-1 to 28-1 on Wynn’s sheet, and he was added back to William Hill’s sheet at 40-1 odds. He’s accrued 22 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

Wild Shot: Odds dropped 75-1 to 40-1 at both Wynn and William Hill after he finished third in the Tampa Bay Derby behind Tapwrit and State of Honor. A possible contender for the April 8 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, as he finished a good third on Keeneland’s main track last fall in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity.

Epicharis: This Japanese colt currently leads that country’s points standings to gain one reserved spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. He has 50 points via the Japan qualifying races, and will be seeking 100 more against 15 international opponents Saturday in the United Arab Emirates Derby at Meydan Racecourse. His future odds dropped from 125-1 to 75-1 at Wynn and from 75-1 to 25-1 at William Hill.

Battle of Midway defeats Reach the World on March 9. (BENOIT photo)

Battle of Midway: Odds went from 150-1 to 50-1 at William Hill (but remained steady at 60-1 on Wynn’s sheet) following his neck win over Reach the World (see next entry) in a March 9, 1 1/16-mile allowance/optional claiming race at Santa Anita Park. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee drilled a half-mile at Santa Anita in :47.60 on March 19, and we very well could see both him and Reach the World in the April 8 Santa Anita Derby.

Reach the World: Was closing stoutly in the March 9 allowance but ran out of real estate against Battle of Midway. This well-bred son of Tapit may end up being Bob Baffert’s top Kentucky Derby horse if he runs well and picks up enough qualifying points in the Santa Anita Derby. He posted his own sharp workout at “the Great Race Place” on March 17, going five furlongs in :59.80.

Bronson: Odds dropped from 200-1 to 150-1 at Wynn in advance of this colt’s planned start in Saturday’s JACK Cincinnati Casino Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. Unlike many of the starters in the Spiral, he has some good dirt form, wining his most recent race on a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park back in January at 1 1/16 miles. He’s got a good pedigree, too, as he’s by Medaglia d’Oro out of Grade 3 winner Cambiocorsa, and he is a half-brother to three stakes winners.

Conquest Wildcat: Kentucky Derby odds for this Wildcat Heir colt dropped from 200-1 to 150-1 after he won a six-furlong allowance/optional claiming race at Oaklawn Park on March 17. He did not impress in his only route race among five career starts at Oaklawn on Feb. 18, tiring to finish fifth at 1 1/16 miles. He’s not offered on Wynn’s latest sheet.

Hence: A maiden winner at Oaklawn Park, this Steve Asmussen-trained colt did not impress as a longshot entry in the Feb. 20 Southwest Stakes, finishing seventh. But he gets another shot at Derby points in Sunday’s Sunland Derby. Still an outsider, his odds dropped from 250-1 to 200-1 at Wynn; he’s not offered by William Hill.

Multiplier: This son of The Factor broke his maiden on March 18 in his third start – all coming this year, and all at Fair Grounds. He won by 1 ¾ lengths going a mile and 70 yards for trainer Brendan Walsh after just missing in his prior start against highly regarded Souper Tapit, and his future odds dropped from 100-1 to 60-1 at Wynn. He’s not offered at William Hill.

Resiliency: His odds dropped from 250-1 to 200-1 at Wynn and from 150-1 to 130-1 at William Hill as he’s most likely headed toward a start in the April 1 Louisiana Derby. This Malibu Moon colt has not raced since winning a one-mile and 70-yard maiden at Fair Grounds on March 5, his second win in four career starts. From the family of Breeders’ Cup Turf winner and Canadian champion Chief Bearheart and Cigar Mile winner Private Zone, he’s another one of Steve Asmussen’s group of very intriguing horses, none of whom has fully realized his talent yet to emerge as a top-level Kentucky Derby contender.

West Coast: His odds dropped from 125-1 to 40-1 at Wynn after he graduated in his second career start by 3 ¼ lengths in a 1 1/16-mile Santa Anita maiden. One would assume that the Santa Anita Derby is being considered by owners Gary and Mary West and trainer Bob Baffert. Not offered at William Hill.

Bronze Age: This Mineshaft colt has not raced since defeating West Coast in a Feb. 18 one-mile maiden race at Santa Anita. Like West Coast, he’s trained by Bob Baffert. He’s slated to start in Sunday’s Sunland Derby, and re-enters Wynn’s book at odds of 200-1.

Colonel Samsen: Set for a start in the Spiral Stakes on Saturday, he ships in from California for trainer Eoin Harty. In his last start, he finished fifth in the El Camino Real Derby on Feb. 18. He’s won two of nine career starts, including the one-mile Gold Rush Stakes over Golden Gate Fields’ synthetic main track. Added back to Wynn’s sheet at 175-1 odds.

Giant Payday: Also vying for Derby points in the Spiral Stakes, this Ian Wilkes-trained son of Giant’s Causeway finished fifth at long odds in his last start on March 4, the 1 1/16-mile Palm Beach Stakes on turf. He has kept pretty good company in six career starts, running competitively against the likes of Guest Suite and Action Everyday. He’s back on Wynn’s sheet at odds of 125-1.

Glacier: Added back to Wynn’s sheet at 200-1 odds after breaking his maiden in a one-mile race at Santa Anita on March 12. He earned a 100 Equibase Speed Figure in that race, and prior to that he was a well-beaten third behind Bronze Age and West Coast in the aforementioned Feb. 18 maiden race.

Honor and Courage: Back on Wynn’s sheet at 125-1 odds, he’s not raced since finishing second to Reach the World in a 1 1/16-mile Feb. 4 maiden race at Santa Anita. May be Santa Anita Derby-bound, but he’s still a maiden through five starts.

Hot Dad: Added back to Wynn’s sheet at suitably high 250-1 odds. He’s trained by Mike Maker and finished a nonthreatening fifth in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park in his most recent start. Before that, though, he was just a neck behind Girvin, finishing third overall in the Keith Gee Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds. A possible Louisiana Derby longshot?

Kitten’s Cat: Most likely will be one of the favorites in Saturday’s Spiral Stakes for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. He could give them a fourth winner in that race and another Kentucky Derby longshot who prefers turf and synthetic over dirt. He’s back on Wynn’s sheet at 85-1 odds, and he already has earned more than $246,000 with three wins from seven starts, including two stakes wins on grass.

Montu: Back on Wynn’s sheet at odds of 200-1, he’s slated to start in Saturday’s Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds that is generally regarded as the “B” race to the Spiral Stakes. He’s won twice at Turfway from three starts, but both of those were at 6 ½ furlongs.

Parlor: Another contender in the Spiral Stakes, he returned from a five-month layoff in February at Tampa Bay Downs and impressively won a one-mile allowance/optional claiming race on turf for trainer Eddie Kenneally. He’s 2-for-3 in his career, with his only loss coming by a neck last September at Kentucky Downs, but like most other Spiral starters, he hasn’t raced on dirt. Wynn brought him back as a Derby future option at odds of 100-1.

Sailing Home: Another Rushaway contender, this son of Mast Track will vie for post-time favoritism in that race. Trained by Mark Casse, he hasn’t won in three starts since breaking his maiden last fall over Woodbine’s Polytrack, but those three all came in stakes races, where he’s finished third twice and fourth once. Added back to Wynn’s sheet at 225-1 odds.

Sonneteer: Easily the most high-profile re-addition to Wynn’s Kentucky Derby future book, this son of Midnight Lute earned 20 Derby points with his late-closing, rail-running second in the Rebel Stakes at odds of 112.30-1. He’s still a maiden through nine starts, but could very well sit on the qualifying tightrope for the May 6 Derby as it stands right now. Thus, he’s offered at 40-1 odds by Wynn now – but he’s not on William Hill’s sheet.

Star Empire: Added back to Wynn’s book at 175-1 odds, this British-bred colt made his previous two starts at Turfway in preps for the Spiral Stakes (finishing second and third, respectively, in the WEBN and John Battaglia Memorial Stakes), but he did not draw into Saturday’s race for trainer Wesley Ward.

Total Tap: Picked up a game win in a Feb. 18 allowance/optional claiming race going one mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds for Steve Asmussen and Winchell Thoroughbreds, and he’s now slated to contest Sunday’s Sunland Derby. His win in February was the first in four starts since his career debut score last fall at Churchill Downs. Brought back at 175-1 odds by Wynn.

Warrior’s Club: Added back by Wynn at odds of 175-1 after winning a one-mile allowance/optional claiming race at Oaklawn Park on the March 18 Rebel Stakes undercard. Prior to that, he’d run in four consecutive stakes races for Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas. He won a stakes last fall at Churchill Downs and then ran third behind McCraken in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes but subsequently finished well back in both the Smarty Jones Stakes and Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn.

March 23 New Choices:

American Pastime: Added to Wynn’s sheet at 125-1 odds, he won his career debut going six furlongs at Santa Anita by 4 ½ lengths on March 11. From the first crop of Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar, and trained by Robert Hess Jr.

Convict Pike: He’s running in Saturday’s Spiral and will enter the race off of a runner-up finish to UAE Derby hopeful Master Plan in the 1 1/16-mile OBS Championship Stakes on Jan. 24 (the abovementioned Sailing Home finished third). Trained by Rusty Arnold, he’s 1-for-6 in his career but has finished in the money in all four of his starts on turf or synthetic surfaces.

Fast and Accurate: This Spiral Stakes contender joins Wynn’s Derby futures party at 200-1 odds. He’s won his last two starts, the last in a turf stakes at Gulfstream Park, and races for owner Kendall Hansen. Fast and Accurate’s sire, Hansen (co-owned by Kendall Hansen), first emerged as a stakes winner on the Polytrack at Turfway Park in fall 2011 before winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on dirt and eventually running in the 2012 Kentucky Derby.  

Impressive Edge: Added to Wynn’s sheet at 150-1 odds, this Dale Romans-trained son of Harlan’s Holiday rebounded from a fourth-place finish in the Swale Stakes on Feb. 4 by posting a dominant, eight-length win in a seven-furlong allowance/optional claiming race at Gulfstream on March 5. He’s offered at the same 150-1 odds by William Hill. He has two wins in five career starts but has yet to race beyond seven furlongs.

Soglio: A live Spiral Stakes contender for trainer Graham Motion, this Scat Daddy colt was added to Wynn’s sheet at odds of 150-1. He’s 1-for-6 in his career, with two seconds and two thirds, all on turf. Motion made the synthetic-to-dirt transition successfully with Spiral Stakes and Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in 2011 and may attempt it again if Soglio wins the Spiral.

Upcoming Derby Preps:

This weekend has three prep races that offer qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby: the $500,000 JACK Cincinnati Casino Spiral Stakes on Saturday at Turfway Park; the $2 million UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, also on Saturday; and the $800,000 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park on Sunday. The Spiral Stakes and Sunland Derby offer qualifying points on a 50-20-10-5 scale to the top four finishers; and the UAE Derby offers points on a 100-40-20-10 scale to the top four spots. Vegas Derby future wager odds for the field in post position order are as follows:

UAE Derby Sponsored by the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group

Qatar Man (150-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Master Plan (150-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Lancaster Bomber (175-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Midnight Chica (not offered)

Top Score (not offered)

Fawree (300-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Bee Jersey (not offered)

Vettori Kin (not offered)

Fly At Dawn (not offered)

Epicharis (75-1 Wynn, 25-1 William Hill)

He Runs Away (not offered)

Spirit of Valor (150-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Thunder Snow (not offered)

Nomorerichblondes (not offered)

Cosmo Charlie (150-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Adirato (150-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

JACK Cincinnati Casino Spiral Stakes:

Blueridge Traveler (125-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Soglio (150-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Fast and Accurate (200-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Convict Pike (150-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Colonel Samsen (175-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Giant Payday (125-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Shiraz (not offered)

Kitten’s Cat (85-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Parlor (100-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Bronson (150-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

King and His Court (not offered)

En Hanse (150-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Sunland Derby:

Shareholder Value (175-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Hedge Fund (250-1 Wynn, 75-1 William Hill)

Bronze Age (200-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Oxford Lane (100-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Irap (65-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Dilettante (250-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Kimbear (not offered)

Wine N Divine (not offered)

Hence (200-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Balandeen (275-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Total Tap (175-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

Conquest Mo Money (150-1 Wynn, not offered William Hill)

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