There were no high-profile stakes races for 2-year-olds last weekend, a fact that didn’t prevent high-profile movement in this week’s Kentucky Derby futures odds.
The highest-profile movement came from a new entry to the front rank of Derby prospects, the aptly named Prime Factor. Before his 8-¾-length victory in his Saturday debut at Gulfstream Park, Circa Sports gave you Prime Factor at 200/1. Mere minutes after that victory, Circa Sports Risk Supervisor Paul Zilm hacked Prime Factor’s odds to 30/1.
William Hill Nevada chimed in Sunday, opening Prime Factor at 50/1.
The are many factors behind Prime Factor’s jump into the front row of 2021 Derby prospects. First, there was his six-furlong demolition of his outgunned rivals.,He took command through a 45.33-second half-mile, then left no doubt down the stretch. Even geared down, Prime Factor registered an 85 Beyer Speed Figure in his debut.
Prime Factor Comes with Prime Connections
Then, of course, there are his connections. Todd Pletcher trains Prime Factor, brought to him by the powerful ownership tandem of China Horse Club and WinStar Farm. That tandem, which owned 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, bought Prime Factor for $900,000 as a yearling.
Finally, there’s the pedigree. Prime Factor is the son of Quality Road via a Bernardini mare. This implies the ability to stretch out to two turns – along with getting faster every race.
2021 Kentucky Derby Futures: Top Contenders
|Circa Sports||William Hill Nevada|
|Life Is Good||9/1||10/1|
|Hot Rod Charlie||45/1||50/1|
|Stayin’ Out Late||—||75/1|
|Ten for Ten||—||75/1|
|Sittin’ On Go||70/1||—|
|Get Her Number||75/1||75/1|
Illustrating the eyes on every 2-year-old showing an iota of promise – or losing any promise they might have had – we present you two others from the same race: Bracken and Broadway. Runner-up Bracken moved from 100/1 to 250/1. Fourth-place Broadway had his odds drift to 200/1 from 150/1.
Witsel’s Derby Future Looks Bright at Outset
Prime Factor wasn’t the only would-be Derby prospect taking money after destroying his rivals. Three days earlier and halfway up the state from Gulfstream Park, Witsel tore apart his competition by 13-¼ lengths in a $20,000 maiden race at Tampa Bay Downs. The son of 2016 Derby champion Nyquist, Witsel’s six-furlong time of 1:10.24 was .14 of a second faster than Prime Factor’s over the same distance. It earned the Carlos Munoz-trained Witsel the same 85 Beyer.
It also earned Witsel 75/1 debut odds by William Hill.
Two other candidates rode decisive victories up the futures boards. Manor House rolled to a 12-¾-length victory in a one-turn mile at Laurel Park. That brought the Upstart colt 100/1 odds at Circa. Joining him on the board at 125/1 at William Hill is Excellent Timing. He broke his maiden in an Aqueduct 6-½-furlong race by 7-¼ lengths at odds-on last Thursday.
Two More Baffert Barnstormers Enter the Futures Picture
No Derby futures update would be complete without two Bob Baffert products, Medina Spirit and Democrat. Both debuted in the same Los Alamitos 5-½-furlong maiden race Friday, with Medina Spirit (100/1 at Circa) prevailing by three lengths. Democrat (175/1), the 5/2 favorite, finished a non-threatening fifth.
Back at the top of the futures boards, Baffert’s Life Is Good seized the top spot on Circa’s board. He is 9/1 at Circa and 10/1 at William Hill. Essential Quality jumped to 15/1 at Circa. He remains the 8/1 favorite at William Hill.
Two intriguing juvenile races this weekend will shake boards up more. The first is Friday’s Remington Springboard Mile at Remington Park in Oklahoma. The second is Saturday’s Grade 2, 1-1/16-mile Los Alamitos Futurity. Both offer Derby Qualifying points on a 10-4-2-1 scale for the top four finishers.