Just like investing in the stock market, horseplayers can make early investments for the biggest races. The most popular of them all is the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which is conducted by Churchill Downs starting in February each year.

There are three pools, staring with the second week of February, the second is the first weekend of March, and third and final pool is toward the end of March.

Churchill Downs offers 23 separate betting interests during each pool, with the 24 option being “all others” covering all other horse nominated for the Triple Crown.

There is also future wagering for the Kentucky Oaks, as well as future Exacta wagering on the Run for the Roses.

In 2012, Kentucky Derby winner I’ll have Another paid $32.60 to win. His backers that wagered on him in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager in February were paid $60.20. His Pool 2 price was $46.20, and those backing him in Pool 3 were rewarded with $45.60.

In 2011 Animal Kingdom pulled off the upset on Derby Day, paying $43.20. The colt was part of the “all others” in the first two Pools of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, returning his backers just $6.20 and $9.40. In Pool 3 the colt was a separate betting interest and returned his backers $64.40.

Super Saver showed just how attractive future wagering could be for a sharp horseplayer. On Derby Day the Todd Pletcher trainee returned $18.00. In the three future pools the colt returned $43.20, $51.20 and $73.00.

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager is a pari-mutuel pool, meaning the final price is not known until wagering closes. The Pools open on Friday and close on Sunday. It is a good idea to wait until Sunday (after any Derby preps are run on Saturday) to look for wagering value when playing futures.