Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Harlan's Holiday pick in Derby Future wager

The Cincinnati Enquirer and wire reports

        Ohio-bred Horse of the Year Harlan's Holiday and Repent, both trained by Ken McPeek, were made the top two betting choices in the latest Kentucky Derby Future wager. Harlan's Holiday, who's coming off a win in the Florida Derby on March 16, is listed as the 6-1 favorite. Repent, winner of the Louisiana Derby on March 10, is the 8-1 second choice.

        Came Home, the favorite in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby, and 2-year-old champion Johannesburg are among four horses listed at 10-1. The mutuel field is listed next at 12-1.

        “Harlan's Holiday and Repent have done everything that has been asked of them, and depending upon what happens in the next few days in their final prep races, either would be a deserving favorite in the Kentucky Derby,” said Churchill Downs chief oddsmaker Mike Battaglia, who sets the future wager morning line.

        Harlan's Holiday is scheduled to make his next start in the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 13. Repent's next race will be the Illinois Derby on Saturday at Sportsman's Park.

        The Derby will be May 4 at Churchill Downs.

        In the futures bet, Northern Kentuckian Battaglia assigns odds to 23 horses selected by a committee. All 3-year-olds not among those 23 are included in a mutuel field entry and also assigned odds.

        The future wager will be offered three times leading up to the race, each time for four days. For each four-day period, called a “pool,” the odds and horses are reset based on how the horses are performing. The pools coincide with major races for 3-year-olds leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

        Betting on the third future wager pool will open Thursday and close Sunday.

        COOKSEY ON COMEBACK TRAIL: Former Turfway Park leading jockey Patti “P.J.” Cooksey, who spent the winter recovering from cancer and related surgery, plans to begin exercising horses in the next two weeks and return to race-riding in July at Ellis Park.

        “Keeneland and Churchill are such tough meets that there's no sense in trying to make a comeback (there),” Cooksey told the Thoroughbred Times. “I'll just be a big fish in a little pond again, hopefully.”

        Cooksey, 44, underwent surgery for breast cancer in September and later underwent re-constructive surgery and completed a series of chemotherapy treatments.

        Cooksey, who briefly reigned as the all-time leading female jockey, has ridden 2,120 winners and accumulated $19.5 million in purses.

        Her accomplishments include being the second woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby, the first to ride in the Preakness Stakes, the first to ride a stakes winner at Churchill Downs and the first to win a California stakes worth at least $100,000.


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