Kentucky Derby Odds 2021 Racing Preview & Tips

Rock Your World could be the one to follow at Churchill Downs

Horse Racing Betting

We take a look at Kentucky Derby odds 2021 as one of the biggest races in the world gets its annual outing on the weekend.

It will be all eyes on the Churchill Downs on Saturday for this fascinating contest, bringing an elite crop of three-year-olds together for what is dubbed “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”.

This is the first leg of the famous American Triple Crown, with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes to follow on.

But this is our full racing guide to the Kentucky Derby Odds 2021.

In it, we will take a look at some of the history surrounding the race. We will also cast an eye over the latest odds, some trends and

Kentucky Derby odds 2021

Essential Quality 2/1
Rock Your World 9/2
Known Agenda 8/1
Hot Rod Charlie 10/1
Highly Motivated 9/1
Medina Spirit 16/1
Mandaloun 16/1
Dynamic One 20/1
Super Stock 16/1
Midnight Bourbon 25/1
Bourbonic 20/1
O Besos 33/1
Soup And Sandwich 25/1
King Fury 33/1
Like The King 33/1
Helium 33/1
Brookly Strong 40/1
Sainthood 40/1
Hidden Stash 40/1
Keepinmind 50/1
* (odds record at 04:04 GMT on April 30th, 2021 at Coral)

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Where is the Kentucky Derby held?

The Kentucky Derby is hosted at the famous Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It is the highlight of the Kentucky Derby Festival. That is a two-week festival.

The running of the Kentucky Derby gets its usual slot on the calendar is the first weekend of May each year.

The race is a 1 1/4 mile fixture on the dirt on the left-handed track. It is an amazing spectacle which is open to 3-year-olds only.

What is the Triple Crown?

The Kentucky Derby is the opening leg of the American Triple Crown. It is basically the elite thing that any horse can achieve in North America.

Along with the Kentucky Derby, the Triple Crown consists of the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes.

They all bring a very different challenge to each of the runners and that is why it has been such a tough thing to achieve.

History of the Kentucky Derby

The 2020 Kentucky Derby was moved from its usual May slot to September. That broke a run of 144 consecutive years of it being run on the first Saturday of May.

The race is otherwise known as “The Run for the Roses”, and that comes from the blanket of roses that the winner is adorned with after the race.

The first-ever Kentucky Derby was hosted in 1875, taking its inspiration from the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamps.

The race started off at 1 1/2 miles but was dropped to the current 1 1/4 miles in 1896.

The first-ever horse to land the Triple Crown was Sir Barton in 1919.

Some of the most famous names in the history of not only the Kentucky Derby, but the Triple Crown include the astonishing Secretariat, War Admiral, Justify and perhaps the most well-known, American Pharoah.

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Leading Trainers

There is little doubt about who the leading trainer in recent times of the Kentucky Derby is. That is Bob Baffert.

He had guided three of the last six winners of the Kentucky Derby Home, including American Pharoah and Justify who have both gone on to win the Triple Crown.

The only other two trainers to have had multiple winners in the last 20 editions of the Kentucky Derby are Todd Pletcher and Doug O’Neill with two wins each.

Leading Jockeys

The leading jockey at the Kentucky Derby in the last 20 years is John R Velasguez. He has brought home three of the last ten winners, the most recent of those being last year’s winner Authentic.

Victor Espinoza has won twice in the last ten years as well, and he was on the back of American Pharoah in 2015.

On the other side of things, Javier Castellano has not had a winner in 13 previous attempts, while Julien R Leparoux has failed also from twelve previous attempts.

Biggest Kentucky Derby Trends

  • 14 of the last 15 winners had NOT run at Aqueduct, Fair Grounds or Keeneland last time out
  • Only one of the last 15 Kentucky Derby winners had been bigger than 8/1 last time out
  • Just one of the last 15 winners have carried 8-11 last time out
  • All but one of the last fifteen winners of the Derby had won a Group race previously
  • All but two had run a Group 1 race last time out
  • 13 of the last 15 winners had claimed a race win within the last three starts
  • Of the last 15 Kentucky Derby winners, 14 had finished in the first three last time out
  • 5 of the last 20 winner shad ran at Gulfstream Park last time out

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Essentially Quality the 2/1 FAV in Kentucky Derby Odds

Heading up the Kentucky Derby odds market at the moment and by a fair way is ESSENTIAL QUALITY. He is a quote of 2/1* (odds record at 04:04 GMT on April 30th, 2021 at Coral).

It has been win after win that he has racked up. The most recent of those victories was at Keeneland on a 1m 1f trip last month. That was in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes.

He did have to dig deep to get that score, winning by a neck in the end over HIGHLY MOTIVATED who is re-opposing on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

There was a win in a maiden run here at Churchill Downs, so he has that experience of a win here. Brad Cox’s colt has jumped forward quite a bit in terms of ability in his last two.

Those scores were both at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Futurity and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He is definitely a scrapper which could hold him in good stead with supporters.



Can Highly Motivated turn the tables?

Another strong run should be coming from HIGHLY MOTIVATED who is at 9/1 in Kentucky Derby odds* (odds record at 04:04 GMT on April 30th, 2021 at Coral).

He pushed Essential Quality well at Keeneland. He too showed a fair bit of grit at the Blue Grass Stakes. Highly Motivated was keen to set a good pace that put the field under a bit of pressure in that one.

Even when he himself then came under pressure later in the race, he didn’t buckle. So those are some decent qualities that could see him stick in this one.

Highly Motivated won very well at Belmont on his final effort as a 2-year-old, really projecting his ability up a notch or two.

Aside from getting a bit wrong footed on his reappearance at Aqueduct this season, he looks primed for a decent challenge.

Can Rock Your World claim the honours?

ROCK YOUR WORLD warrants some respect on the weekend in Louisville. He is the current 9/2 second favourite in Kentucky Derby odds and that’s understandable* (odds record at 04:04 GMT on April 30th, 2021 at Coral).

He has won three on the spin and the latest of those was a very good one. Rock Your World got a win at the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby last time out, which was about a month ago.

In it, Rock Your World got the better of Medina Spirit by four and a half lengths.

No question about the direction that he is heading in at the moment. The extra on the trip at Churchill Downs could bring even more from him. He’s a big player.


Last 10 Supreme Novices’ Winners (horse, trainer, jockey)

  • 2020 Authentic, Bob Baffert, John R Velazquez
  • 2019 Country House, William Mott, Flavian Prat
  • 2018 Justify, Bob Baffert, Mike E Smith
  • 2017 Always Dreaming, Todd Pletcher, John R Velazquez
  • 2016 Nyquist, Doug O’Neill, Mario Gutierrez
  • 2015 American Pharaoh, Bob Baffert, Victor Espinoza
  • 2014 California Chrome, Art Sherman, Victor Espinoza
  • 2013 Orb, Claude R McGaughey III, Joel Rosario
  • 2012 2012 I’ll Have Another, Doug O’Neill, Mario Gutierrez
  • 2011 2011 Animal Kingdom, H Graham Motion, John R Velazquez


Hot Rod Charlie

HOT ROD CHARLIE could be another to keep a keen eye on for the Kentucky Derby racing odds. There has been a good showing from him this season.

He brings winning form to the table after claiming a success at the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in March. That was over a 1m 1f trip, so a little shorter than this one.

But the extra distance at Churchill Downs could provide a little more for him to get his teeth into. Hot Rod Charlie scored at Fair Grounds by a couple of lengths over Midnight Bourbon.

He has since switched stables as he has moved to Doug O’Neill. He looks to be shaping well for a decent run at the Kentucky Derby.

Hot Rod Charlie is highly exposed to most of the other, and place claims are not unreasonable at all from 10/1* (odds record at 04:04 GMT on April 30th, 2021 at Coral).


There is an outsider threat to come from MANDALOUN in Kentucky Derby Odds. He is a longer 16/1 option for the race* (odds record at 04:04 GMT on April 30th, 2021 at Coral).

He was last seen at the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds 42 days ago. He was a long way back from winner Hot Rod Charlie in that one, 12 lengths back actually.

Mandaloun wasn’t disgraced in the effort at all, but he had gone as the 13/10 FAV on the day. So on the other side of the coin, more was expected.

Mandaloun picked up a win on his penultimate race at Keeneland and doesn’t look the worst option to consider for an each-way punt to haul himself into the frame.

Soup And Sandwich

We would consider SOUP AND SANDWICH for the shortlist. He has won two of three runs this season. He just missed out on the hat trick on his latest run.

That last effort was in the Florida Derby Stakes at Gulfstream in March. He found only KNOWN AGENDA too good for him on the day there.

That Group 1 win puts him on the radar and while he is a 25/1 shot in Kentucky Derby odds, he’s not without a chance* (odds record at 04:04 GMT on April 30th, 2021 at Coral).

Soup And Sandwich looks like one of the best longer-priced options in the field to go after.

Others to note

KNOWN AGENDA has a poor draw in his one from Stall 1. That’s not ideal but he looks like a slow burner who has been working up to something big.

He’s won his last two, the most recent being at the Florida Derby Stakes at Gulfstream.

MEDINA SPIRIT, trained by Bob Baffert, has taken a win and three runners-up finishes this season.

He found Rock Your World too good for him in the Santa Anita Derby last time out. Each way considerations are there, but for the win, he is going to have to find a little more.

SUPER STOCK isn’t without hope either in the Kentucky Derby betting odds. He enters following a win at the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

That was last month and it was comfortably scored by more than two lengths. He will need to find more to get the win.

Predictions & Tips for Kentucky Derby Odds 2021

This doesn’t actually look like a particularly strong Kentucky Derby line up this year. There is no apparent superstar in the field that we can see at all.

But, for Kentucky Derby odds we have to work with what we have.

Our first pick is going to be ROCK YOUR WORLD at 9/2* (odds record at 04:04 GMT on April 30th, 2021 at Coral).

He looks to have plenty of scope for further improvement to come and he won very well in the Santa Anita Derby against one of these rivals, which puts him slap-bang among the frontrunners for the Derby.

We can’t look past ESSENTIAL QUALITY as the 7/2 favourite either* (odds record at 04:04 GMT on April 30th, 2021 at Coral).

It’s not an exciting pick, but he showed great spirit to win by a head at Keeneland last time out over Highly Motivated. He does look like the class act in the field.

We would have to go with HOT ROD CHARLIE at 10/1 as our other selection* (odds record at 04:04 GMT on April 30th, 2021 at Coral).

He produced a good win at Fair Grounds last time out and is for a new stable today, so that could be an extra little unknown spark in his favour.

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