Kentucky Derby 2021
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You have come to the right place for 2021 Kentucky Derby picks.
The Kentucky Derby is the most famous horse race in the United States, and one of the biggest races in the world. Run at a mile and a quarter on dirt, the race features up to twenty of the best American three-year-olds to compete for a $3 million purse and a place in horse racing immortality.
The race will be run on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Essential Quality is projected to be the favorite, though other major contenders include Known Agenda, Hot Rod Charlie, and Rock Your World.
These are the odds on the top contenders at the best online sportsbooks..
Rock Your World
Hot Rod Charlie
Kentucky Derby 2021 Predictions
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Kentucky Derby 2021 Horses
This is the official field for the 2021 Kentucky Derby with post positions, jockeys and trainers:
- Known Agenda: Todd Pletcher/Irad Ortiz, Jr.
- Like the King: Wesley Ward/Drayden Van Dyke
- Brooklyn Strong: Daniel Velazquez/Umberto Rispoli
- Keepmeinmind: Robertino Diodoro/David Cohen
- Sainthood: Todd Pletcher/Jockey TBA
- O Besos: Greg Foley/Marcelino Pedroza
- Mandaloun: Brad Cox/Florent Geroux
- Medina Spirit: Bob Baffert/John Velazquez
- Hot Rod Charlie: Doug O’Neill/Flavien Prat
- Midnight Bourbon: Steve Asmussen/Mike Smith
- Dynamic One: Todd Pletcher/Jose Ortiz
- Helium: Mark Casse/Julien Leparoux
- Hidden Stash: Vicki Oliver/Rafael Bejarano
- Essential Quality: Brad Cox/Luis Saez
- Rock Your World: John Sadler/Joel Rosario
- King Fury: Ken McPeek/Brian Hernandez
- Highly Motivated: Chad Brown/Javier Castellano
- Super Stock: Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana, Jr.
- Soup and Sandwich: Mark Casse/Tyler Gaffalione
- Bourbonic: Todd Pletcher/Kendrick Carmouche
No horses entered on an also-eligible list, so if any horses scratch the week of the race, the Kentucky Derby will be run with fewer than 20 horses.
Kentucky Derby Handicapping
When handicapping the Kentucky Derby, it is important to know the Kentucky Derby contenders.
Essential Quality will be the Kentucky Derby favorite. He is undefeated after five starts. He was the two-year-old champion last year, and in two starts this year he has proven he trained on. He has the versatility to handle a big field. Though, his trainer Brad Cox has never had a Kentucky Derby starter.
The best bet to beat Essential Quality is Known Agenda. The Todd Pletcher trainee won one of the best Kentucky Derby preps, the Florida Derby. He should be able to stay off of a hot pace without dropping too far back, and he is bred beautifully for the stretch out to 1 1/4 miles. His trainer, Todd Pletcher, has already won the Kentucky Derby twice as well.
Other horses who came in off of wins in major prep races are Lousiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie, Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World, and Arkansas Derby winner Super Stock. The consistent and well-traveled Hot Rod Charlie is the best of this next tier, and he drew very well for the Derby though Louisiana Derby winners rarely win in Kentucky, making him questionable at the short odds.
The best bets are to play Known Agenda and Essential Quality alongside longshots.
King Fury won the Lexington Stakes as his prep for the Derby. It was his first start of the year for trainer Ken McPeek, whose horses typically get better second off the lay. He is bred nicely for the stretch out, he can pass horses well, and he is already a stakes winner at Churchill Downs.
The winner of the Tampa Bay Derby is another live longshot: Helium. Helium won twice at Woodbine last year, and then proved he was even better on dirt when he won the Tampa Bay Derby this year. He is still lightly raced, but he won his three races with three different running styles, which should help him get a trip in a crowded Derby.
Other longshots to consider are Midnight Bourbon, a horse with tactical speed who ran consistently well in all three Fair Grounds preps, and Dynamic One, a midpack-to-closing type who is bred well to stretch out for top-flight trainer Todd Pletcher.
Free Kentucky Derby Expert Picks
Here are your free Kentucky Derby expert picks for the 2021 Kentucky Derby:
- $30 Win: Known Agenda
- $5 Win/Place/Show: King Fury, Helium
- $1 Exacta Key: Known Agenda with Essential Quality, King Fury, Helium
- $5 Trifecta Key: Known Agenda with Essential Quality, King Fury, Helium, Midnight Bourbon
- $1 Trifecta Box: Known Agenda, King Fury, Helium, Midnight Bourbon, Dynamic One
- $1 Superfecta Key: Known Agenda with Essential Quality, King Fury, Helium, Dynamic One, Midnight Bourbon
Kentucky Derby Undercard Picks
There are six other major stakes races on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Make sure to use these horses when you are building out your tickets in the Pick 6 and other rich multi-race wagers:
- $500,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2): Zofelle, She’s Got You
- $500,000 Derby City Distaff (G1): Gamine
- $500,000 Pat Day Mile (G2): Whiskey Double, Jackie’s Warrior, Defunded
- $500,000 American Turf (G2): Scarlett Sky, Annex
- $500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (G1): Flagstaff, Hog Creek Hustle, Basin
- $1 million Old Bourbon Forester Turf Classic (G1): Smooth Like Strait, Colonel Liam