Betting the 2021 Kentucky Derby: Post Positions, Odds and Profiles for Every Horse

Essential Quality draws post No. 14 and is the 2/1 favorite in the 147th Run For The Roses
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Following Tuesday’s post-position draw, the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” is now set for Saturday. The 147th Kentucky Derby, following some key deflections in the past few weeks, drew a full field of 20 entrants.

NBC will televise live coverage of the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 1. The Kentucky Oaks will be televised one day prior, Friday, April 30 on NBC Sports Network.

On Saturday, we learned that one of the potential speed factors, Caddo River, has been scratched due to a temperature. This follows last week’s loss of Bob Baffert’s highly touted three-year-old, Concert Tour, who disappointed in the Arkansas Derby. Concert Tour will not race in the Derby and will instead be pointed for the Preakness Stakes on May 15. 

Those two talented colts have joined undefeated Life Is Good and Greatest Honour as key contenders who are off the Triple Crown trail after suffering injuries.

The undefeated Essential Quality drew favorably into the race for trainer Brad Cox and has been anointed a 2/1 morning-line favorite. At first look, the odds appear short for a full field but as always we will have a full betting breakdown on Friday here at SI Gambling.

Let’s take an early look at the potential hopefuls bettors will be treated following Tuesday’s official post position draw which also assigned morning-line odds ahead of the illustrious race.


2021 KENTUCKY DERBY BETTING PROFILES

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TOP CONTENDERS

Essential Quality (2/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 14

JOCKEY: Luis Saez / TRAINER: Brad Cox

RECORD: 5 starts: 5-0-0

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 109

RUNNING STYLE: Presser (Prefers to press the pace)

Essential Quality drew the No. 14 position and was quickly tabbed as the morning-line favorite for the 2021 Kentucky Derby. This son of Tapit, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as a two-year old, enters the race off wins in the Southwest Stakes and Blue Grass Stakes. Brad Cox will have a strong chance to earn his first Kentucky Derby win with a horse who is undefeated in five career races.


Rock Your World (5/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 15

JOCKEY: Joel Rosario / TRAINER: John Sadler

RECORD: 3 starts: 3-0-0

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 103

RUNNING STYLE: Presser (Prefers to press the pace)

John Sadler has done a great job with this colt evidenced by his impressive win in the Santa Anita Derby. His victory in that Grade 1, followed up two wins earlier this year at Santa Anita. This son of Candy Ride, with a clean break, is expected to be among the early pacesetters as he will most likely look to take the field wire-to-wire like he did in the Santa Anita Derby. 


Known Agenda (6/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 1

JOCKEY: Irad Ortiz Jr. / TRAINER: Todd Pletcher

RECORD: 6 starts: 3-1-1

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 112

RUNNING STYLE: Closer

The top connections of jockey Irad Ortiz Jr and trainer Todd Pletcher drew the dreaded rail for the Kentucky Derby. After adding blinkers, this son of Curlin, has responded with two impressive wins capped off by his victory in the Florida Derby back on March 27. Known Agenda actually holds the best speed figure of any Kentucky Derby hopeful. Todd Pletcher has found previous Derby success with Super Saver (2010) and Always Dreaming (2017) but he will be up against it after Tuesday’s unlucky draw.


Hot Rod Charlie (8/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 9

JOCKEY: Flavien Prat / TRAINER: Doug O’Neill

RECORD: 7 starts: 2-1-2

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 100

RUNNING STYLE: Pace Presser

Trainer Doug O'Neill, who won the Kentucky Derby with I’ll Have Another (2012) and Nyquist (2016), is back in 2021 with Hot Rod Charlie. The son of Oxbow was last seen winning the Louisiana Derby on March 20. Although he shocked many people when he finished second to Essential Quality in the Breeders Cup Juvenile at odds of 94/1, I do not envision him pulling off the upset in the Kentucky Derby. Hot Rod Charlie has only found the winners circle twice in seven career starts and my early lean is that despite drawing well he could struggle.


Highly Motivated (10/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 17

JOCKEY: Javier Castellano / TRAINER: Chad Brown

RECORD: 5 starts: 2-2-1

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 108

RUNNING STYLE: Pace Presser

Chad Brown’s entry, by Into Mischief, was last seen losing by ‘a neck’ to undefeated Essential Quality in the Blue Grass Stakes. Highly Motivated initially peaked my interest as a value play who could pull off the upset with a clean trip. However, after drawing No. 17 jockey Javier Castellano may not find a comfortable stalking spot now. Highly Motivated (2-2-1) still could find a way to make it six consecutive times successfully hitting the board, but his chances took a hit after Tuesday's draw.


BY THE NUMBERS: EQUIBASE TOP SPEED FIGURES

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LONGSHOTS

Medina Spirit (15/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 8

JOCKEY: John Velazquez / TRAINER: Bob Baffert

RECORD: 5 starts: 2-3-0

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 109

RUNNING STYLE: Stalker

With Concert Tour and Life is Good out of the Derby bettors are now left with Medina Spirit as Bob Baffert’s shot at another Kentucky Derby win. Baffert, who has six career wins in the Run for the Roses, has won three of the last five runnings with American Pharaoh in 2015, Justify in 2018 and Authentic last year. This son of Prontico will likely be gunned to the lead by John Velazquez who will look to be among the top flight from the opening gate. Drawing post No. 8 is an ideal spot and my lean is Medina Spirit could take enough money to go off at single-digit odds considering these connections won last year's Derby. 


Mandaloun (15/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 7

JOCKEY: Florent Geroux / TRAINER: Brad Cox

RECORD: 5 starts: 3-0-1

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 97

RUNNING STYLE: Stalker

Easily the biggest ‘forgotten’ horse in the Kentucky Derby field is one of Brad Cox’s three entrants - Mandaloun. The son of Into Mischief, has been inconsistent as a three-year old this year, with a win in the Risen Star sandwiched in between a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby and third-place effort in the Lecomte Stakes. He has been training superbly in his morning workouts and at potential double-digit odds Mandaloun is a value underlay if he can run back to his potential.


Midnight Bourbon (20/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 10

JOCKEY: Mike Smith / TRAINER: Steve Asmussen

RECORD: 7 starts: 2-2-3

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 99

RUNNING STYLE: Pace Presser

This son of Tiznow looked great in his win in the Lecomte Stakes and is as consistent as they come hitting the board in all seven of his career races. Trainer Steve Asmussen adds Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the irons for the Kentucky Derby. Smith, as we know, has found the winners circle twice in his career in the Kentucky Derby. This colt seems to always be up to the task and is not a horse that bettors should easily look to toss off any trifecta or superfecta tickets.


O Besos (20/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 6

JOCKEY: Marcelino Pedroza / TRAINER: Greg Foley

RECORD: 5 starts: 2-0-1

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 96

RUNNING STYLE: Deep Closer

Hard to endorse this son of Orb who was last seen finishing third behind Hot Rod Charlie and Bourbonic in the Louisiana Derby back on March 20. He has shown improvement of late but his running style dictates that he will need to come from the clouds to find a way to hit the board on Saturday. 


King Fury (20/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 16

JOCKEY: Brian Hernandez Jr. / TRAINER: Ken McPeek

RECORD: 6 starts: 3-0-0

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 103

RUNNING STYLE: Deep Closer

Following all the deflections from those ahead of him in the points leaderboard Ken McPeek finds his colt King Fury drawing into the 2021 Kentucky Derby. The son of Curlin looked impressive in his win in the Lexington Stakes at odds of 18/1 as well as also recording two of his three career victories over the Churchill Downs surface. King Fury is easily my favorite bomb longshot to use on all exotic tickets.


Dynamic One (20/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 11

JOCKEY: Jose Ortiz / TRAINER: Todd Pletcher

RECORD: 5 starts: 1-2-0

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 103

RUNNING STYLE: Mid-Pack, Closer

He ran well in the Wood Memorial before fading in the stretch finishing runner up to Bourbonic. This son of Union Rags is sure to get attention on Derby Day as an exotic target who would be a massive upset to find the winners circle.


Super Stock (30/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 18

JOCKEY: Ricardo Santana Jr. / TRAINER: Steve Asmussen

RECORD: 8 starts: 2-2-2

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 106

RUNNING STYLE: Closer

This horse shocked horse players when he rolled past Caddo River and Concert Tour in the Arkansas Derby back on April 10 at odds of 12/1/. The son of Dialed In has improved in each of his last three races and according to my formula his recent form tells us he projects as one of the top closers in the race who could pick off tired runners deep in the lane - but the No. 18 hole makes it tough now to envision potentially hitting the board at healthy odds.


Soup and Sandwich (30/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 19

JOCKEY: Tyler Gaffalione / TRAINER: Mark Casse

RECORD: 3 starts: 2-1-0

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 108

RUNNING STYLE: Pace Presser

He joins Helium for trainer Mark Casse as a longshot entrant who only has one stakes race in his career - finishing runner-up to Known Agenda in the Florida Derby on March 27. His morning works at Churchill Downs leading up to the Derby have been quite impressive, but his draw of the No. 19 position makes him likely a toss for me.


Bourbonic (30/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 20

JOCKEY: Kendrick Carmouche / TRAINER: Todd Pletcher

RECORD: 6 starts: 3-1-0

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 100

RUNNING STYLE: Closer

Bourbonic shocked the racing world in his last start when he won the Wood Memorial at odds of 72/1 beating both Derby hopefuls Dynamic One and Brooklyn Strong. The son of Bernardini closed from the clouds to edge out his stablemate Dynamic One who also comes from the highly respected Todd Pletcher barn. 


PACE MAKES RACE: PREFERED RUNNING STYLES

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BOMBSHOTS

Like the King (50/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 2

JOCKEY: Drayden Van Dyke / TRAINER: Wesley Ward

RECORD: 6 starts: 3-2-1

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 95

RUNNING STYLE: Mid-Pack, Closer

Won the Jeff Ruby Stakes back on March 27 at odds of 7/1 beating Sainthood by a head at the wire. This son of Palice Malice most likely was a target of the superfecta position at best but after Tuesday's draw is likely a toss who will go off at higher odds than 50/1.


Sainthood (50/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 5

JOCKEY: Corey Lanerie /TRAINER: Todd Pletcher

RECORD: 3 starts: 1-2-0

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 93

RUNNING STYLE: Pace Presser

Sainthood is always a horse that can be found among the top finishers in his three career races. According to those trackside Pletcher has been very happy with his training leading up the Kentucky Derby. He is a horse who offers moonshot value to use on the bottom rung of exotic tickets, but this draw did him no favors to accomplish that.


Helium (50/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 12

JOCKEY: Julien Leparoux / TRAINER: Mark Casse

RECORD: 3 starts: 3-0-0

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 94

RUNNING STYLE: Closer

One expected ‘wise guy’ horse could very well be Mark Casse’s lightly raced Helium who won the Tampa Bay Derby back on March 6. At attractive longshot odds this son of Ironicus could really spice up exotic payouts if he could find a way to hit the board.


Hidden Stash (50/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 13

JOCKEY: Rafael Berarjano / TRAINER: Victoria Oliver

RECORD: 7 starts: 2-1-2

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 94

RUNNING STYLE: Deep Closer

Hidden Stash’s record shows a runner-up finish to Helium in the Tampa Bay Derby followed by a fourth-place finish behind Derby favorite Essential Quality in the Blue Grass Stakes. Don’t see his running style or speed figures making him usable on Saturday.


Keepmeinmind (50/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 4

JOCKEY: David Cohen / TRAINER: Robertino Diodoro

RECORD: 6 starts: 1-2-1

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 98

RUNNING STYLE: Closer

Posted a solid third in the Breeders Cup Juvenile last November but his two races this year as three-year-old have been disappointing, to say the least. He finished fifth in the Rebel Stakes and sixth in the Blue Grass Stakes. His running style coupled with his recent form and drawing inside at No. 4 makes him hard to endorse.


Brooklyn Strong (50/1)

POST NUMBER: No. 3

JOCKEY: Umberto Rispoli / TRAINER: Daniel Velazquez

RECORD: 6: starts: 3-0-1

TOP EQUIBASE SPEED FIGURE: 99

RUNNING STYLE: Up close, Stalker

Brooklyn Strong draws into the race despite only earning 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points thanks to all those who have been removed above him on the leaderboard. Being a Brooklyn native, my heart will be rooting for him but my wallet will not be supporting him.

Be sure to check back on Derby Week here at SI Gambling as we will have our picks for the Kentucky Derby!


Over the course of 2020 and into 2021, our Senior Gambling Analyst and Vegas Insider- Frankie Taddeo - has shared his horse racing handicapping formula which has correctly predicted the following winners at SI Gambling:

Travers Stakes - Exacta (8/1), Trifecta (36/1)

Blue Grass Stakes - Exacta (12/1), Trifecta (60/1) and Superfecta (443/1)

Frizette Stakes - Exacta Cold

Desi Arnaz Stakes - Exacta (31/1)

Ontario Derby - Trifecta (72/1)

Tropical Turf Stakes - Trifecta (37/1) - 2021*

Rebel Stakes - Concert Tour - Winner

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