Essential Quality turned his Southwest Stakes victory on Saturday into 7/2 favored status for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) Pool 4.

Essential Quality-KDFW 4
Essential Quality is No. 1 in the Kentucky Derby Future Pool 4. The Tapit colt opens at 7/2 when the KDFW’s Pool 4 begins Friday. (Image: Coady Photography)

The KDFW’s Pool 4 runs concurrently with the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager’s sole pool. Clariere opens as the 5/1 favorite for that pool.

The KDFW opens Friday at 9 a.m. PT and runs through Sunday at 3 p.m. PT. The KOFW pool closes 30 minutes later, at 3:30 p.m. PT. Both pools offer $2 win and exacta wagers, but the KDFW pool offers an Oaks/Derby Future Double.

Horseplayers 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 time, we get a true individual KDFW favorite

Unlike in previous pools, line maker Mike Battaglia didn’t make “All Other 3-Year-Olds” (aka “The Field”) the favorite. With the Derby picture crystalizing somewhat, that option opened at 10/1.

Instead, Essential Quality — one of three Brad Cox horses in Pool 4 – opens as a slight favorite over one of Bob Baffert’s five. That would be Life Is Good, who opens at 4/1. He closed as the individual favorite in the first three pools at 5/1, 7/1, and 7/1, respectively. Those odds look pristine, considering Life Is Good runs this weekend as the favorite in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita.

Shug McGaughey brings only one horse, Greatest Honour, who opens as the third-favorite at 6/1. He’ll take plenty of money after his furious rally from eight lengths back captured the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park last weekend.

Baffert brings five into the KDFW pool

The other two Cox entries remain from previous pools: Smarty Jones winner Caddo River (15/1) and Risen Star champion Mandaloun (15/1). Baffert’s four other entries include holdovers Concert Tour (20/1), Medina Spirit (30/1), Freedom Fighter (30/1), and newcomer Spielberg (20/1), who returns after closing at 42/1 in Pool 2. He missed Pool 3, but ran his way back in with his runner-up finish to Essential Quality in the Southwest.

2021 Kentucky Derby Future Wager-Pool 4

Trainer Odds
Caddo River Brad Cox 15/1
Candy Man Rocket Bill Mott 30/1
Collaborate Saffie Joseph Jr. 30/1
Concert Tour Bob Baffert 20/1
Dream Shake Peter Eurton 30/1
Essential Quality Brad Cox 7/2
Freedom Fighter Bob Baffert 30/1
Greatest Honour Shug McGaughey 6/1
Highly Motivated Chad Brown 20/1
Hot Rod Charlie Doug O’Neill 30/1
Hush of a Storm Bill Morey 50/1
Keepmeinmind Robertino Diodoro 30/1
Life Is Good Bob Baffert 4/1
Mandaloun Brad Cox 15/1
Medina Spirit Bob Baffert 30/1
Midnight Bourbon Steve Asmussen 30/1
Prevalence Brendan Walsh 20/1
Proxy Mike Stidham 20/1
Risk Taking Chad Brown 30/1
Roman Centurian Simon Callaghan 50/1
Rombauer Michael McCarthy 50/1
Spielberg Bob Baffert 20/1
The Great One Doug O’Neill 50/1
All Other 3-Year-Olds 10/1

Four other newcomers have joined the pool. Collaborate (30/1) comes in after his 12 ½-length maiden romp last weekend. John Battaglia Memorial winner Hush of a Storm debuts at 50/1. Risen Star and Lecomte Stakes runner-up Proxy debuts at 20/1. And El Camino Real winner Rombauer dives into the pool at 50/1.

The 23 individual choices span the odds spectrum from Essential Quality’s 7/2 to three horses opening at 50/1, including Hush of a Storm, Rombauer, and Roman Centurian. The Simon Callaghan-conditioned Roman Centurian runs in the San Felipe this weekend.

Oaks pool is tight at the top

The lone Oaks pool opens with Clariere holding a slight edge over co-second favorites Travel Column and Malathaat. Both of those fillies open at 6/1. The Steve Asmussen-trained Clariere and Cox’s Travel Column are 1-1 against each other.

Clariere holds the recent edge by virtue of her victory in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds last month. Travel Column beat Clariere in the Grade 2 Golden Rod when both were juveniles.

2021 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager-Pool 1

Trainer Odds
Bow Bow Girl Dale Romans 50/1
Clariere Steve Asmussen 5/1
Coach Brad Cox 30/1
Crazy Beautiful Kenny McPeek 20/1
Dayoutoftheoffice Tim Hamm 12/1
Kalypso Bob Baffert 15/1
Lady Mystify Peter Eurton 50/1
Li’l Tootsie Tom Amoss 30/1
Malathaat Todd Pletcher 6/1
Moraz Michael McCarthy 50/1
Obligatory Bill Mott 30/1
Pass the Champagne George Weaver 50/1
Pauline’s Pearl Steve Asmussen 30/1
Search Results Chad Brown 30/1
Simply Ravishing Kenny McPeek 12/1
Souper Sensational Mark Casse 50/1
Sun Path Brad Cox 30/1
Travel Column Brad Cox 6/1
Vequist Butch Reid Jr. 15/1
Wholebodemeister Juan Avila 12/1
Will’s Secret Dallas Stewart 15/1
Willful Woman Steve Asmussen 50/1
Zaajel Todd Pletcher 15/1
All Other 3-Year-Old Fillies 8/1

Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Vequist opened at 15/1 after her disappointing ninth by 26 lengths in last weekend’s Grade 2 Davona Dale. The winner of that race, 52/1 shot Wholebodemeister, opened at 12/1. “All Other 3-Year-Old Fillies” checked in at 8/1.

The fifth and final KDFW pool is March 26-28.