Uncle Mo closes Future Wager at 7-2

CLOSING ODDS: Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- For the 13th time in as many years, the mutuel field is the favorite in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which closed Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern following a three-day betting window that attracted a substantial increase in handle over recent years.

The field, the 24th or "all others" alternative to 23 separately listed interests, closed as the 2-1 favorite in the first of three futures pools offered by Churchill Downs. Uncle Mo, the unbeaten divisional champion, was a close second choice at 7-2, followed by Dialed In (8-1), To Honor and Serve (10-1), Brethren (15-1), and Soldat (18-1). The 137th Derby will be run May 7.

Combined win and exacta handle was $592,492, second-highest in Futures history and a 27 percent increase from last year, when $466,048 was handled. Win handle for the 2011 Pool 1 was $480,375, and exacta handle was $112,117.

"We're extremely happy with the fans' response," said Churchill spokesman John Asher. "It was kind of roaring from the get-go this time around. I think there's a lot of anticipation with the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown campaign this year, with Uncle Mo and a lot of other attractive wagering interests. It might also reflect the economy getting a little better. This was very encouraging to see, for us and for anybody in our business."

The record handle for a Pool 1 was $620,362 in 2005, the same year the record of $1,665,990 for the highest three-pool aggregate handle was established.

The lowest $2 will-pay for a Pool 1 exacta is the combination of the field over Uncle Mo (Nos. 24-23), worth $27. There are numerous five-figure will-pays, topped by a $30,271.60 payoff for Stay Thirsty over Decisive Moment (18-6).

Exactas were first offered during Pool 2 of 2009.

Only one Derby prep race was contested while the Pool 1 window was open: the Risen Star Stakes, which was won Saturday by Mucho Macho Man at Fair Grounds. The odds on Mucho Macho Man were 66-1 at the close of business Saturday but had dropped to 30-1 by the close of the pool.

Pool 2 is set for March 11-13 and Pool 3 for April 1-3. Only one futures pool is being offered on the May 6 Kentucky Oaks; it will coincide with Derby Pool 2 and will include exactas for the first time.

Five Pool 1 field horses have wound up winning the Derby in the 12 years since Churchill started parimutuel futures in 1999, the latest being Mine That Bird in 2009.