2021 Kentucky Derby Predictions
The first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown will be held on Saturday, May 1, with coverage of the 2021 Kentucky Derby starting at 6:30 p.m. ET. Before the 6:57 p.m. ET post, check out our predictions for this year’s Kentucky Derby.
As of Saturday morning, Essential Quality is the current favorite at 2/1, followed by Rock Your World at 5/1. Known Agenda is 6/1, Hot Rod Charlie is 8/1 and Highly Motivated is 10/1. After that the odds fall off a cliff, with Mandaloun and Medina Spirit sitting at 15/1, then O Besos, Midnight Bourbon and Dynamic One listed at 20/1.
To Win: Essential Quality (2/1)
I know, I know – how chalky. Well, Essential Quality is the chalk for a reason: He’s never lost. He’s coming off a victory in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes and also has wins in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes, the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity. He stood atop the division as a 2-year-old and he remains the top horse now. At 2/1, there’s still at least some value despite Essential Quality being the clear favorite at Churchill Downs this evening.
To Place: Rock Your World (5/1)
Tonight will be another step up in competition and the 20-horse field will be a different challenge altogether, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Rock Your World won outright. Still, I’ve got him finishing second after winning the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 3. He’s lightly-run, but I think that works in his favor at the Derby. He’s won all three of his starts, including the Pasadena Stakes on February 27, as well as his first race on dirt in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby. He has the pedigree and talent to finish somewhere in the top 3.
To Show: Midnight Bourbon (20/1)
This 3-year-old is an outright competitor. Assuming he doesn’t get bumped or comes out of the gate poorly, Midnight Bourbon will be among the leaders at some point. He finished second in the Louisiana Derby behind Hot Rod Charlie and third in the Risen Star, but won the Grade 3 Lecomte and finished second in the Grade 3 Iroquois. In fact, he’s never finished lower than third in seven career starts. Ultimately, I think the distance will be his undoing but I still see him finishing in the money tonight at Churchill Downs.