Essential Quality opened Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager as the favorite. Now, the undefeated Tapit colt opens the fifth and final KDFW pool as the 3/1 favorite.

Essential Quality-KDFW Pool 5
Essential Quality follows up his Southwest Stakes victory here with next week’s Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. He opens as the 3/1 favorite in the final Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool Friday. (Image: Coady Photography)

Pool 5 of Churchill Downs’ plunge into the Derby futures market opens Friday at 9 am PT and closes Sunday at 3 pm PT.

Bettors can wager on the pools at simulcast centers and on automatic deposit wagering (ADW) apps. All wagers constitute action. If any horse in either pool suffers an injury during the duration of the pool, Churchill Downs officials said they will take the horse down and suspend betting.

This happened already, with Big Lake. The third-place horse in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, behind Bob Baffert’s duo of Concert Tour and Hozier, suffered a condylar fracture in one of his legs. Line maker Mike Battaglia put 50/1 odds on Big Lake, including him for the first time after his show finish in the Rebel.

With 10 races left, The Field comes in at 20/1

That cuts betting options to 22 individual horses and “All Other 3-Year-Olds,” aka “The Field.” That opens at a lofty 20/1.

As for Baffert, his customary Derby armada shrank by one when favorite Life Is Good suffered an ankle injury during a Saturday workout. He closed as the 2/1 favorite in Pool 4, but was left out of the final KDFW pool. He’ll undergo surgery Friday to remove an ankle chip.

Baffert also lost Freedom Fighter from Pool 4. He was not selected for this pool. The Hall of Fame trainer, however, comes well-armed as usual. He brings four into this final pool: Concert Tour (9/2), Medina Spirit (20/1), Hozier (30/1), and Spielberg (50/1). Hozier makes his debut after that runner-up to his stablemate.

Spielberg, meanwhile, is one of five carrying top odds of 50/1. Those could fluctuate wildly this weekend since the $1 million colt will run in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on Saturday.

Greatest Honor goes on display this week

The likely favorite for that race, Greatest Honour, is the KDFW’s second favorite. He opens at 4/1 and could have his odds flutter somewhat, depending on if he becomes the first horse to pull off the Gulfstream Park Kentucky Derby hat trick. The Shug McGaughey-conditioned colt goes for his fourth consecutive victory, after winning the Grade 3 Holy Bull and Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.

Cox returns to the KDFW with his three Derby mainstays, two of which open at loftier odds than they did in Pool 4. While Essential Quality opened Pool 4 at 7/2 and this one at 3/1, stablemates Caddo River and Mandaloun enjoyed no such favor. After Caddo River finished a pedestrian fifth in the Rebel, he opened Pool 5 at 30/1. He was 15/1 coming into Pool 4.

2021 Kentucky Derby Future Wager-Pool 5

Trainer Odds
Caddo River Brad Cox 30/1
Collaborate Saffie Joseph Jr. 30/1
Concert Tour  Bob Baffert 9/2
Crowded Trade Chad Brown 30/1
Dream Shake Peter Eurton 50/1
Essential Quality Brad Cox 3/1
Greatest Honour Shug McGaughey 4/1
Helium Mark Casse 30/1
Hidden Stash Vicki Oliver 50/1
Highly Motivated Chad Brown 30/1
Hot Rod Charlie Doug O’Neill 6/1
Hozier Bob Baffert 30/1
Mandaloun Brad Cox 30/1
Medina Spirit Bob Baffert 20/1
Midnight Bourbon Steve Asmussen 30/1
O Besos Greg Foley 50/1
Prevalence Brendan Walsh 20/1
Proxy Mike Stidham 30/1
Risk Taking Chad Brown 30/1
Rock Your World John Sadler 50/1
Spielberg Bob Baffert 50/1
Weyburn Jimmy Jerkens 30/1
“All Other 3-Year-Olds 20/1

Mandaloun suffered the same fate, falling to 30/1 from 15/1. That, after his miserable sixth in last weekend’s Louisiana Derby.

Along with Hozier, six newcomers join this final pool. They are Chad Brown’s Crowded Trade (30/1), Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium (30/1), Hidden Stash (50/1), Louisiana Derby third-place finisher O Besos (50/1), Rock Your World (50/1), and Gotham winner Weyburn (30/1).

With returners Highly Motivated (30/1) and Risk Taking (30/1), Brown is fielding three contenders in this final pool.