A bright future
Updated: February 16, 2012, 5:07 PM ETBy Jay Cronley | Special to ESPN.com
How do you make a good future book bet?I have no idea. Refreshing isn't it, like a cool breeze rustling through the pages of the Racing Form, to find somebody who knows exactly the same as you. And I sold stocks and bonds and commodities after college, commodities, a field in which future hopes and dreams were traded as commonly as hunches. A future bet, or investment, locks in a price and a contract date. A contract date is another way of saying a delivery date. People used to deal in future contracts of pork bellies, bacon, basically. If you don't sell the commodity you have bought by a specified date, it can be delivered to the divorce court of your choice. With horse racing futures, the hope is to catch a 30-1 runner that goes off at 5-2 at the Kentucky Derby and win a four-horse photo by a fraction of an inch. Horse race future book odds make no sense. So? Future book bets are all about interesting names and trainers and breeding and long shots. In the first future pool, Algorithms was listed as the favorite at 8-1 based off an inflated Beyer number jacked up by the mud. The investing public corrected this number and made Union Rags the second betting choice at 7-1 at the end of the weekend pool. Union Rags was the one who ran figure 8's and letter Z's at last year's Breeder's Cup to finish an exasperated second. The first pool favorite among the investors was the "field" contract, or all other horses besides the listed 23, at 3-2. A nice-sized "field" wager at such a short price would seem to be around $50,000. The future pools are useful when it comes to getting bettors used to dealing with big numbers. Underdogs have dominated recent wagering worlds, with fat favorites losing in the BCS title game and the Super Bowl. Most of the talk coming from the close of the first future pool had to do with jockey Javier Castellano choosing to ride Algorithms over Union Rags. This would seem to have less to do with which horse is apt to win the Derby and more to do with sound business sense. Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has Algorithms, also seems to have a half-dozen more where that three-year old came from, so if there's an injury, jockey Castellano could find another safe spot in a game of musical mounts. If your future pool horse is injured and doesn't run in the Derby, your Futures bet becomes an IRS receipt. Nine Pool 1 horses have Churchill Downs experience. The sticks are well represented by horses that competed at Delta, Fresno, Santa Rosa and Delaware. People with felines will take a look at Sabercat. Males will have an interest in Alpha. The next futures pool will be early in March. Three months from the Derby, here's all I know. The Oklahoma City Thunder needs inside scoring help. It has to work too hard for its many outside baskets. "Luck" on HBO tries too hard to be edgy. Off-track Beyer numbers seem more inflated than ever. "Parks and Recreation" is the funniest show on TV. Granted, it has little competition. Defeating fields comprised of five or six horses doesn't mean that much. Academy Award contender "Hugo" is too long. Thirty minutes could have been cut without hurting what plot there is. Breeding is easily lost in 24-horse destruction derbies. "Justified" on the FX network is the best show on TV. I played these four in the first pool: Union Rags, Alpha, Gemologist and Sabercat. Why? I had fifty bucks. Write to Jay at email@example.com.
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