When it comes to Kentucky Derby futures, Mandaloun and Rombauer illustrated the differences in weight books and bettors give to various Derby prep races. And Life Is Good illustrated that, if you’re a Bob Baffert product, you don’t even have to run to watch your odds shrink.

Mandaloun-Derby futures
Sporting blinkers and a 98 Beyer Speed Figure, Mandaloun (left) held off Proxy to win Saturday’s Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. That depressed his odds to as low as 16/1 on this week’s Kentucky Derby futures boards. (Image: Hodges Photography)

After finishing third in last month’s Lecomte Stakes, Mandaloun added blinkers for the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds last weekend. That produced a victory over Proxy and Midnight Bourbon. For turning the tables on — and flipping spots with Lecomte winner Midnight Bourbon — Mandaloun’s Derby futures odds shrank from 50/1 to 27/1 at Circa Sports. They dwindled from 35/1 to 22/1 at William Hill Nevada.

On Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3, Mandaloun closed at 16/1. He remains a front-row Derby contender on all three boards.

Rombauer? Perhaps it was the synthetic Tapeta surface. Or, perhaps, it was the weaker field, but bettors weren’t as impressed with his furious, come-from-behind victory in Saturday’s Listed Stakes El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

Rombauer Didn’t Make the KDFW Cut

First off, he wasn’t even among the 23 individual selections on the Kentucky Derby Future Wager board.

Second, Rombauer’s neck victory over filly Javanica may have come out of the clouds; he was seventh at the three-quarters call and third entering the stretch. But his Derby futures odds remained, if not in the clouds, then not far beneath them. He’s 100/1 at Circa and 75/1 at William Hill. Last week, he was 125/1 at Circa and 90/1 at William Hill.

Meanwhile, at the top of the Derby future odds ladder, Baffert’s Life Is Good seized favorite status on two boards. He closed the KDFW as the shortest-priced individual horse (7/1). Life Is Good checks in at 7/1 at Circa and 8/1 at William Hill. Essential Quality, who runs this weekend in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, is 12/1 at Circa. Essential Quality remains William Hill’s favorite – albeit barely – at 7/1.

We’ve Reached the Derby Futures Crossroads

This is the time where Derby contenders either advance their cases or lose them. William Hill cut 46 horses from its board. Circa whittled 19 as both books sliced away dead Derby weight. Their boards contain 244 horses.

At the same time, 10 horses debuted on one board or on both boards. The lowest-priced debut belongs to Rebel’s Romance. Opening at 85/1 at Circa, Rebel’s Romance carries the Middle East banner. The undefeated Godolphin-owned gelding captured the UAE 2,000 Guineas at Meydan Race Course in Dubai last month. He’s likely for this weekend’s Saudi Derby on the Saudi Cup undercard.

2021 Kentucky Derby Futures-Top Contenders

Circa Sports William Hill Nevada Kentucky Derby Future Wager (Pool 3)
Life Is Good 8/1 8/1 7/1
Concert Tour 10/1 10/1 17/1
Essential Quality 12/1 7/1 8/1
Caddo River 15/1 15/1 15/1
Greatest Honour 17/1 12/1 9/1
Prevalence 20/1 15/1 14/1
Dream Shake 25/1 22/1 28/1
Mandaloun 27/1 22/1 16/1
The Great One 27/1 25/1 38/1
Hot Rod Charlie 27/1 35/1 35/1
Keepmeinmind 30/1 32/1 25/1
Medina Spirit 40/1 18/1 25/1
Highly Motivated 40/1 30/1 37/1
Bezos 45/1 20/1
Roman Centurian 45/1 30/1 41/1
Rock Your World 45/1
Fire At Will 45/1 60/1 30/1
Jackie’s Warrior 50/1 40/1 26/1
Risk Taking 50/1 25/1 25/1
Prime Factor 55/1 25/1
Proxy 55/1 50/1
Señor Buscador 55/1 55/1 39/1
Midnight Bourbon 60-1 50-1 41/1
All Other 3-Year-Olds 3/1

Four others came out of the Risen Star to board debuts. The first is O Besos, who opens at 100/1 at Circa after he outran his 21/1 odds to finish fourth. He may be better as a sprinter, however, lacking any of the finishing prowess he showed in a couple of sprint victories.

The second is Rightandjust (350/1 at Circa). This Awesome Again colt probably won’t drop much from this price. Not after he leaped out to set the early pace in the Risen Star, but faded in the stretch and wound up sixth by 7-¾ lengths. This proved the Risen Star was a bridge, or several, too far for Rightandjust after he won two route races at Fair Grounds by a combined 8-½ lengths.

Carillo, Sermononthemount Shot for, Missed, the Star

Then, we have Carillo (200/1 at Circa) and Sermononthemount (400/1 at Circa). Carillo finished a non-threatening 10th out of 11 in the Risen Star. This was the $875,000 colt’s first start for trainer Tom Amoss.

Sermononthemount (400/1 at Circa) had no prayer in the Risen Star, finishing eighth at 196/1. He’s lost his two stakes starts by a combined 29-½ lengths.

On the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3, which closed Sunday, “All Other 3-Year-Olds,” (aka, the field), finished as your overall favorite at 3/1. The longest shot among the 23 individual entries was Nova Rags, at 91/1.