Thanksgiving weekend racing fans looking for deals on contenders for the 140th Kentucky Derby have a chance to do their earliest shopping ever as Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager opens a four-day run Wednesday.
The first Thanksgiving weekend Future Wager pool will close Saturday, just before a pair of major early Kentucky Derby prep races.
Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia has installed the "all others" wagering interest as the 2-5 favorite.
The special four-day Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool — the first ever offered before Derby contenders enter their 3-year-old seasons on New Year's Day — will open Wednesday at noon and close Saturday before whichever Derby prep comes earliest, the Grade II, $400,000 Remsen at Aqueduct or Churchill Downs' Grade II, $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club.
Both events for 2-year-olds are part of the "Kentucky Derby Prep Season" and offer points that will determine the 20 participants for the 2014 Kentucky Derby.
The Future Wager allows fans to bet on potential Derby contenders well in advance of the race at odds that could be significantly more attractive than those available on the day of the race.
For example, Orb paid $12.80 to win on Derby Day in 2013 but returned $26.20 in Pool 2 and $29.60 for a $2 bet in Pool 3 of the Future Wager.
With "all others" expected to attract heavy fan support in this weekend's pool, attractive odds could be available on highly regarded young stars that include:
■ Honor Code (15-1), the anticipated favorite in Saturday's Remsen for trainer Shug McGaughey, who won the 2013 Derby with Orb.
■ New Year's Day (20-1), winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and Tap It Rich (30-1), a pair of colts trained by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert.
■ Trainer Pat Byrne's probable Kentucky Jockey Club favorite Almost Famous (20-1).
■ Strong Mandate (30-1), the top hope to provide legendary Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas with his fifth Kentucky Derby victory.
■ Unbeaten Cairo Prince (30-1), the exciting winner of the Nashua Stakes for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
■ Shared Belief (30-1) and Tamarando (50-1), a pair of young stars with potential to provide Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer with his first Kentucky Derby win.
■ Todd Pletcher's trio of Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Havana (30-1), Commissioner (50-1) and Misconnect (50-1), any of which could earn a second Derby win for their champion trainer.
The dates for the remaining three Future Wager pools are Feb. 6-8, Feb. 27-March 1 and March 27-29.
Future Wager, Pool 1
Morning Line odds by Mike Battaglia
Almost Famous 20-1
Bobby's Kitten 50-1
Cairo Prince 30-1
Coup de Grace 50-1
Financial Mogul 50-1
Honor Code 15-1
In Trouble 50-1
Kobe's Back 50-1
New Year's Day 20-1
Noble Moon 50-1
Pablo Del Monte 50-1
Ride On Curlin 50-1
Rise Up 50-1
Shared Belief 30-1
Strong Mandate 30-1
Tap It Rich 30-1
All other 3-year-olds 2-5