2021 Kentucky Derby Betting Preview
The 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby returns to its traditional first Saturday in May date after being postponed to September in 2020 due to Covid-19. A 20 horse field will compete for the coveted prize of winning the first jewel in the Triple Crown Series.
A 36 race qualifying series produced a leader in points, but very little else was sorted out among the many prospective entries for the Kentucky Derby. Essential Quality swept his four races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, but no other horse was able to record multiple victories.
With 140 points, Essential Quality led the way, followed by the winners of the races that awarded points on a scale of 100 points for a win, 40 for the runner up, 20 for third, and 10 points for fourth place. There were several upsets, including 72/1 longshot Bourbonic’s historic victory in the 100-40-20-10 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Park, which followed Weyburn’s stunner in the 50-20-10-5 Gotham Stakes at the same track a month earlier.
Without any horse other than Essential Quality generating much prep race momentum, there are a number of choices behind him in the field that could take advantage if he struggles. Since the Brad Cox trained colt will start at 2/1 odds from the 14th post position, he could experience some trouble working through traffic early in the race.
Known Agenda is at 6/1 odds in the early line, but he gets to start from the inside post position, which could prove to be advantageous. He won the 100-40-20-10 Florida Derby after bouncing back from a disappointing fifth-place finish in the 10-4-2-1 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs seven weeks before.
The surprise winner of the 100-40-20-10 Santa Anita Derby, Rock Your World, is also undefeated but didn’t break his maiden until New Year’s Day and only ran in one Kentucky Derby prep race. He outran a solid field at Santa Anita, but his lack of experience could be a problem at 51 odds, especially when starting from the 15th post position.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and former Triple Crown winner with American Pharoah in 2015 ended up with just one horse in this year’s Kentucky Derby, due to a number of his potential entries being withdrawn for a variety of reasons. Medina Spirit is down the list a bit at 15/1, but he picked up points in four prep races and could be a factor starting from the eighth post position.
Longshots with a chance
Another Hall of Fame trainer, Steve Asmussen, brings 100-40-20-10 Arkansas Derby winner Super Stock, another horse to collect points in four qualifying races, to the Kentucky Derby at 30/1 morning line odds. He surprised the favorites at Oaklawn Park with an impressive stretch run after breaking from the inside post position at 12/1 odds.
Like the King earned a trip to the Kentucky Derby with a victory in the 100-40-20-10 Jeff Ruby Steaks on the synthetic surface at Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. The Jeff Ruby doesn’t carry the same weight as races like the Wood Memorial or the Arkansas Derby, but Like the King at 50/1, odds will be starting from the second post position, where he can keep an eye on Known Agenda.
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