Wynn Las Vegas has opened their futures betting book for the 2014 Kentucky Derby, catching the attention of gaming enthusiasts across the U. K. Although it is almost nine months until “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” horse racing fans with an eye on the long term are already queueing up to place their bets on early favorites.
Nine Months Before The Race There Is A Hundred Horse Field
Johnny Avello, the director of Race and Sports Operations at Wynn Las Vegas, has used his expertise to exhaustively comb through years of race data and give odds on the still-distant race. There are about a hundred horses in the 2014 futures betting book, most of which have odds between 100-1 and 200-1. At this distance there are only seven horses that stand out far enough from the pack for Mr. Avello to give them better odds than that. D. Wayne Lucas’s colt Strong Mandate was the favorite in the opening odds, starting at 40-1. He has since been passed by veteran trainer Shug McGaughey’s new horse, Honor Code, who has already come down to 35-1. McGaughey trained the winner of last year’s Derby, and many bettors hope that he will repeat the victory.
What Makes A Horse A Good Bet Right Now?
With so much time before the race Mr. Avello can only be guided by experience, instinct, and statistics. His primary data comes from the other races that prospective Derby horses ran. Races such as Saratoga and Iroquois are examined closely, which is why Strong Mandate was an early favorite. Although the trainers are also an integral part of the equation, the track record remains the surest guide.
Avello’s Track Record
Interestingly, the winner of the 2013 Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown, McGaughey’s colt Orb, was only given 200-1 starting odds by Mr. Avello in his 2013 futures betting book. A great number of factors came together to influence the outcome of the 2013 race, especially the unexpected rain and the mud that it created. Golden Soul, the runner-up, was also at 200-1 odds, while the third and fourth place horses opened at 100-1 and 175-1 respectively. The horse that he gave the single best odds to, Bob Baffert’s Power Broker with 45-1, did not even participate in the Derby last year. This demonstrates that, even for the most experienced oddsmaker, there are severe difficulties to long-range predictions of the future.