Maximum Security, Game Winner Start as Favorites in Derby Futures Pool

Posted on: April 5, 2019, 03:30h. 

Last updated on: April 5, 2019, 03:30h.

With less than a month to go before the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs has opened its final futures pool for the May 4 race.

After a surprising win in last Saturday’s Florida Derby, Maximum Security finds himself the co-favorite with Game Winner in the Kentucky Derby futures pool betting at Churchill Downs. (Image: Derbe Glass/Gulfstream Park)

Track officials selected 23 horses for the pool, with another option added for the field, or horses not listed. Betting opened at noon ET on Friday and will close at 6 pm ET Sunday evening.

Two horses started off as the morning line co-favorites. One was a horse most expect to be in that position, while the other stormed on the scene in a big way last weekend.

Game Winner, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs last November, and Maximum Security, who won last week’s Florida Derby wire-to-wire, started off at 8-1 odds. By 5 pm ET Friday, both horses dropped to 5-1.

Game Winner will run in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby for his final prep race.

Maximum Security’s standing becomes even more impressive considering how he started his racing career. Trainer Jason Servis started him in a pair of claiming races, where someone could have purchased the colt for $16,000. None did, even as Maximum Security won those by 24-3/4 lengths combined.

“Am I glad I didn’t lose him? Hell, yeah,” Servis told reporters last Sunday. “Is he training good and sound? Yes, but there was a reason why I ran him for $16,000.”

Other contenders

Behind those two is a lightly raced contender who needs a big finish Saturday. Roadster, who has raced just once since September, started at 15-1 but moved to 9-1 in early afternoon betting Friday. However, Roadster needs to win the Santa Anita Derby or finish second to secure his spot.

Improbable, who for most of the prep calendar was considered Game Winner’s leading challenger, held morning line odds of 10-1, but those rose slightly to 12-1.

Omaha Beach, who edged Game Winner in last month’s Rebel Stakes, has remained at 10-1 since the betting window was opened.

Early money went in on Anothertwistafate, who has three wins and a second in his last four starts. The El Camino Real Derby winner started at 30-1 but dropped to 18-1. The same happened with Tacitus, as the Tampa Bay Derby winner, also started at 30-1 and fell to 18-1.

Fountain of Youth winner Code of Honor began the round at 12-1 and moved up slightly to 16-1.

Question Marks

With a month to go, some horses have already run their last race in the prep season. While they may have posted some impressive performances, questions remain whether they’ll be in Louisville in a month.

Bourbon War is one of those horses. After finishing second to Code of Honor in the Fountain of Youth, he followed it up with a fourth-place result in the Florida Derby. With 31 points, he’s currently 14th in the points standings, but with four 100-40-20-10 races taking place over the next two weeks, he could find himself out of the top 20.

Bourbon War started the pool at 15-1, and his odds went to 20-1 by the afternoon.

War of Will impressed many with the way he ran in the Lecomte and Risen Star stakes, but a bad start in the Louisiana Derby has led to some concerns about his health. Last Friday, trainer Mark Casse posted good news on Twitter, with a video of the colt taking to the Keeneland track for training.

“I’m happy to report that WOW went through extensive testing yesterday which included X-ray’s & ultrasound,” Casse tweeted. “He was cleared to start his training regimen which began today.”

A week later, some bettors still have reservations. War of Will started at 15-1, but he rose to 29-1 in the afternoon.

Bettors can place wagers at Churchill Downs,, or any online or satellite racing facility in North America. The full list of entries and current odds can be found here.