(Essential Quality / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:

Godolphin’s undefeated champion colt Essential Qualitywas made the 3-1 morning line favorite in the field of 24 betting options for Pool 5 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) that will span Friday-Sunday.

Pool 5 of the KDFW is the final pari-mutuel opportunity for bettors to get early action prior to the 147thrunning of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) on Saturday, May 1. The three-day pool opens Friday at noon (all times Eastern) and will close Sunday at 6 p.m. Wagering will be available on www.TwinSpires.com and other outlets.

Trained by Brad Cox, Essential Quality is currently based at Fair Grounds and is preparing for the April 3, $800,000 Blue Grass Stakes (GII) at Keeneland. The Tapit colt most recently defeated six rivals, including fellow KDFW entrant Spielberg, in the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (GIII) at Oaklawn. Essential Quality is one of three Cox trainees in Pool 5. The others are Shortleaf Stables’ $150,000 Smarty Jones winner Caddo River andJuddmonte Farm’s $400,000 Risen Star (GII) hero Mandaloun.

One of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s top Derby contenders, Life Is Good, was removed from contention for this year’s race because he is scheduled to undergo surgery March 26 to remove a small chip in his left hind ankle. Baffert is still well-stocked for the Kentucky Derby with Gary and Mary West’s undefeated colt Concert Tour. The son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense is targeting the $1 million Arkansas Derby (GI) on April 10 following his victory in the $1 million Rebel (GII). Along with Concert Tour, the Baffert army also includes Zedan Racing Stables’ $100,000 Robert B. Lewis (GIII) winner Medina Spirit along with SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet Stables, Golconda Stable, Siena Farm and Robert Masterson’s Rebel runner-up Hozier and Southwest runner-up Spielberg.

Another horse likely to garner attention in Pool 5 of the KDFW is Courtlandt Farm’s $300,000 Fountain of Youth (GII) winner Greatest Honour. Campaigned by 2013 Kentucky Derby winning trainer Shug McGaughey III, Greatest Honour is the likely favorite in Saturday’s $800,000 Florida Derby (GI).

The complete field for Pool 5 of the KDFW (with trainer, morning line odds): #1 Big Lake (Steve Asmussen, 50-1); #2 Caddo River (Cox, 30-1); #3 Collaborate (Saffie Joseph Jr., 30-1); #4 Concert Tour (Baffert, 9-2); #5 Crowded Trade (Chad Brown, 30-1); #6 Dream Shake (Peter Eurton, 50-1); #7 Essential Quality (Cox, 3-1); #8 Greatest Honour (McGaughey, 4-1); #9 Helium (Mark Casse, 30-1); #10 Hidden Stash(Vicki Oliver, 50-1); #11 Highly Motivated (Brown, 30-1); #12 Hot Rod Charlie (Doug O’Neill, 6-1); #13 Hozier (Baffert, 30-1); #14 Mandaloun (Cox, 30-1); #15 Medina Spirit (Baffert, 20-1); #16 Midnight Bourbon(Asmussen, 30-1); #17 O Besos (Greg Foley, 50-1); #18 Prevalence (Brendan Walsh, 20-1); #19 Proxy (Mike Stidham, 30-1); #20 Risk Taking (Brown, 30-1); #21 Rock Your World (John Sadler, 50-1); #22 Spielberg (Baffert, 50-1); #23 Weyburn (Jimmy Jerkens, 30-1); #24 “All Other 3-Year-Olds” (20-1).

 There are 10 races remaining on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The remaining race schedule can be found at www.kentuckyderby.com/horses/prep-races.

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which features $2 Win and Exacta wagering, provide fans of Thoroughbred racing with opportunities to place bets on possible entrants in the Kentucky Derby at odds that could be far greater than those available on the day of the race.

There are no refunds in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Should Churchill Downs officials determine during the duration of this week’s three-day pool that one of the wagering interests has experienced an injury, illness or other circumstance that would prevent the horse from participating in the Kentucky Derby, betting on the individual horse will be suspended immediately.

More information and real-time odds are available online at www.KentuckyDerby.com/FutureWager.