Honor Code is at 15-1 but Havana, who beat him in the Champagne Stakes, is opening at 30-1 (Photos courtesy of Adam Coglinese/NYRA).
Today is the start of the first of four future pools for the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Seem early? It is.
This is the earliest the bet has ever been offered and the first time the bet has even been offered before February! It’s also the first time there have been four pools.
The pool runs today through Saturday and will close just before the Remsen and the Kentucky Jockey Club, two races that will feature some of the propositions in this race.
The fact that bettors won’t have the benefit of seeing the horses run in those Kentucky Derby prep races, combined with the fact that most of the offerings haven’t run more than a couple of races in their lives, makes this a hard one to handicap.
Even last year’s first pool, which happened in February, didn’t include the eventual winner Orb. (Technically it did, he was part of the “all other 3 year olds” option, which paid $4.40)
The good news is that even though it’s hard to pick ‘em, if you do happen to have high hopes for any of the 23 horses entered in Pool 1, you’re likely to get a nice price on them. Most of the horses are opening today at 50-1. Honor Code, the favorite in Sunday’s Remsen, is the 15-1 favorite among the 23 horses in the pool, despite running second to Todd Pletcher’s Havana in his last race.
HONOR CODE IN HIS IMPRESSIVE MAIDEN VICTORY
Havana, however, is opening at 30-1 and it’s hard to see that horse staying there. In addition to beating Honor Code, Havana ran a decent second in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile to New Year’s Day, who is also among the favorites at 20-1.
Beware, however, the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Curse! 18 of the last 20 Kentucky Derby winners didn’t even run in the race, let alone finish in the money!
Me? I’m saying to Hell with the curse and betting on Havana, so long as he stays above 20-1. I was impressed with the last two races, and what a wonderful city. So beautiful and still trapped in 1960 - the streets filled with Michigan-made cars that have held up for many decades through the embargo. Cars back then were built strong and made to last, so long as you took care of them. Horses, too, were all-muscle and built to last. Perhaps Havana has a similar spirit? Perhaps he can make it through this year still as fast and powerful as a well-oiled 1958 GTO? Probably not. But lay me the right price, pal, and we’ll see.