The second of five pools for the Kentucky Derby Futures Wager (KDFW) opens Friday at noon ET with All Other 3-Year-Olds (aka the field), carrying 7/5 favorite odds. Meanwhile, the individual Pool 2 favorite comes from a trainer not usually seen with Derby favorites.

Smile Happy-KDFW 2
Kentucky Jockey Club winner Smile Happy opens as the 8/1 individual favorite for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2. That pool opens Friday and runs through Sunday. (Image: Coady Photography/Churchill Downs)

That would be Kenny McPeek, whose Smile Happy enters the three-day KDFW Pool 2 as the 8/1 individual favorite. The colt, expected to make his 2022 debut at the Feb. 5 Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park, embodies McPeek’s deep 3-year-old crop.

Smile Happy, who closed as the 8/1 individual favorite in November’s KDFW Pool 1, is one of four McPeek charges in the 23-horse individual pool. Joining him are stablemates Dash Attack (20/1), Tiz the Bomb (20/1), and Rattle N Roll (30/1).

Smile Happy won the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club on Thanksgiving weekend — the same weekend as the KDFW Pool 1. But it was a $10,000 bet by Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale that knocked Smile Happy’s odds down to 8/1. McIngvale owns Smile Happy’s sire, Runhappy.

Familiar names debut on KDFW

Dash Attack, who won the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park, is one of nine new Pool 2 entries. The others are first-level allowance winner Chasing Time (20/1), Jerome Stakes winner Courvoisier (30/1), debut maiden winner Emmanuel (50/1), Saratoga Special winner High Oak (50/1), Remington Springboard Mile winner Make It Big (50/1), Mucho Macho Man winner Simplification (30/1), Los Alamitos Futurity winner Slow Down Andy (15/1), and Kentucky Jockey Club third-place finisher White Abarrio (50/1).

Once again, the likes of Corniche, Messier, Pinehurst, Newgrange, and Rockefeller are conspicuous by their absence. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert trains that quintet. He is currently suspended by Churchill Downs from competing in the 2022 and 2023 derbies.

Corniche, meanwhile, remains the futures favorite at both Circa Sports (15/1) and Caesar’s-William Hill (6/1). At 19/1 (Circa) and 35/1 (Caesar’s-William Hill), Newgrange is the second favorite among Baffert charges. He won the Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita earlier this month for his second victory in as many races.

Bettors refuse to abandon Baffert

This explains not only the heavy 7/5 favoritism for “All Other 3-Year-Olds” for this pool, but the 3/5 price that wager closed at in Pool 1. Bettors remain convinced that Baffert’s sophomores will find a barn more hospitable to Churchill Downs officials prior to the Derby.

After the KDFW pool opens on Friday, bettors can make $2 win and exacta bets on the horses or combos in the listed field. Horseplayers can wager at Churchill Downs, online, and at satellite wagering centers across North America.

2022 Kentucky Derby Future Wager-Pool 2

Trainer Odds
Chasing Time Steve Asmussen 20/1
Classic Causeway Brian Lynch 30/1
Commandperformance Todd Pletcher 50/1
Courvoisier Kelly Breen 30/1
Dash Attack Kenny McPeek 20/1
Emmanuel Todd Pletcher 50/1
Epicenter Steve Asmussen 15/1
Giant Game Dale Romans 30/1
High Oak Bill Mott 50/1
Jack Christopher Chad Brown 10/1
Major General Todd Pletcher 50/1
Make It Big Saffie Joseph Jr. 50/1
Mo Donegal Todd Pletcher 12/1
Pappacap Mark Casse 20/1
Rattle N Roll Kenny McPeek 30/1
Simplification Antonio Sano 30/1
Slow Down Andy Doug O’Neill 15/1
Smile Happy Kenny McPeek 8/1
Tiz the Bomb Kenny McPeek 20/1
Trafalgar Al Stall Jr. 50/1
Varatti Todd Pletcher 50/1
White Abarrio Saffie Joseph Jr. 50/1
Zandon Chad Brown 12/1
All Other 3-Year-Olds 7/5

The track doesn’t allow KDFW refunds. Churchill Downs officials maintain that if one of the pool horses experiences an injury, illness or other circumstance that prevents participation in the 2022 Derby, betting on that horse will be immediately suspended.

The total handle for Pool 1 (Nov. 25-28, 2021) was $326,448 — a 30.9% increase from 2021’s opening pool.

The remaining KDFW dates are Feb. 11-13 (Pool 3), March 11-13 (Pool 4), and March 31-April 2 (Pool 5). The lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager coincides with Pool 4.