August 15, 2022

Smile Happy, sire Runhappy close as individual favorites in Kentucky Derby future wager pools

Smile Happy wins the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

It’s not every day you hear of a single bettor impacting the odds in a major pari-mutuel pool. But not every bettor is Jim McIngvale, the Gallery Furniture founder better known as “Mattress Mack.”

Over the course of Thanksgiving weekend, Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1 and the Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager offered bettors a chance to lock in early wagers on the 2022 Kentucky Derby (G1). Both pools closed on Sunday, shortly after McIngvale—well known for placing large sports bets—submitted a couple of major wagers that noticeably shifted the odds.

According to Churchill Downs, McIngvale’s first play was a $10,000 win bet on Smile Happy in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1. The presumed reason? Smile Happy, who delivered an impressive victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) on Saturday, is a son of McIngvale’s champion racehorse and young stallion Runhappy.

McIngvale’s sizable wager (representing nearly 4% of the $263,008 total win pool) helped Smile Happy settle as the 8-1 individual favorite behind “All Other Three-Year-Old Males,” which closed as the 3-5 overall favorite. All told, McIngvale’s $10,000 bet represented 45% of the $22,460 wagered on Smile Happy.

Champagne S. (G1) winner Jack Christopher closed as the 10-1 third choice, followed distantly by Breeders’ Futurity (G1) hero Rattle N Roll (21-1). In a decidedly top-heavy pool, Pappacap (23-1), Tiz the Bomb (24-1), and Gunite (25-1) were the only others to close at less than 30-1.

The exacta pool for Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1 attracted $63,440.

McIngvale was also active in the Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager—according to Churchill Downs, McIngvale bet $3,000 to win on none other than Runhappy. This represented almost 8% of the final win pool (which totaled $38,073) and was sufficient to establish Runhappy as the 7-1 individual favorite behind 7-2 overall choice “All Other Sires.” In this instance, McIngvale’s $3,000 wager represented 77% of the $3,917 wagered on Runhappy.

Hot young sire Gun Runner (9-1) was the only other individual stallion to close at single-digit odds. Falling into the 10-1 to 20-1 range were Quality Road (10-1), Into Mischief (14-1), Empire Maker (16-1), Curlin (17-1), Tapit (18-1), Munnings (18-1), and American Pharoah (20-1). Meanwhile, the exacta pool drew $12,132.

The Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager is a unique offering held only once per year, but bettors will have several additional chances to wager on individual Kentucky Derby contenders. Next up is Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2, which opens for betting on Jan. 21 and runs through Jan. 23.

Final odds for Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1 and the Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager can be viewed below.

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1

ProgramHorseOdds
1Ben Diesel66 – 1
2Classic Causeway44 – 1
3Commandperformance31 – 1
4Double Thunder72 – 1
5Epicenter52 – 1
6Forced Ranking99 – 1
7Giant Game37 – 1
8Graphic Detail99 – 1
9Gunite25 – 1
10Howling Time43 – 1
11Jack Christopher10 – 1
12Major General43 – 1
13Mo Donegal37 – 1
14Osbourne99 – 1
15Oviatt Class87 – 1
16Pappacap23 – 1
17Rattle N Roll21 – 1
18Smile Happy8 – 1
19Tiz the Bomb24 – 1
20Trafalgar98 – 1
21Varatti54 – 1
22Zandon56 – 1
23All Other 3yo Fillies41 – 1
24All Other 3yo Males3 – 5

Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager

ProgramHorseOdds
1American Pharoah20 – 1
2Candy Ride37 – 1
3Curlin17 – 1
4Empire Maker16 – 1 
5Giant’s Causeway24 – 1
6Gun Runner9 – 1
7Into Mischief14 – 1
8Mastery76 – 1
9Medaglia d’Oro32 – 1
10Munnings18 – 1
11Not This Time23 – 1
12Nyquist40 – 1
13Pioneerof the Nile53 – 1
14Practical Joke33 – 1
15Quality Road10 – 1
16Runhappy7 – 1
17Speightstown75 – 1
18Street Sense41 – 1
19Tapit18 – 1
20Twirling Candy48 – 1
21Uncle Mo25 – 1
22Union Rags29 – 1
23Violence45 – 1
24All Other Sires7 – 2