Kentucky Derby Handicapping Picks
Horse racing gamblers are you looking for 2021 Kentucky Derby Free Pick & Handicapping Odds…plus some predictions? Need some advice on who to take? The 2021 Kentucky Derby is set for May 1 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Here’s a preview of our top contenders.
Kentucky Derby Preview and Prediction
- Race: Kentucky Derby
- Purse: $3 million
- Track: Churchill Downs
- Date: May 1
- Post Time: 6:57 PM (ET)
- Live: Kentucky Derby Odds: Click Here
2021 Kentucky Derby Handicapping
While many things in the pandemic-stricken world are still far from normal, some degree of normalcy returns to horse racing with the (G1) Kentucky Derby back on the traditional first Saturday of May following last year’s shift to September. As usual, the Derby offers lots of betting value with a 20-horse field and big pools in the exotic bets.
Derby Handicapping Fast Facts:
- In the eight years since the introduction of the Derby qualifying points system, the post-time favourite has won five times.
- Of those eight winners, seven have been at odds of 8-1 or less. The only double-digit winner was Country House (65-1) in 2019, who gained the win with the disqualification of Maximum Security (4-1).
- Early speed and position is key. Over the past 10 years seven of the horses hitting the wire first (including Maximum Security) were never worse than third at any point of the race. In 2012 I’ll Have Another was never worse than seventh. Only two (Orb 2013 and Animal Kingdom 2011) have won coming from the back half of the field.
The race is open to horses age three, and they run 1 1/4 miles on the Churchill dirt track. Odds listed here are provided by Bovada’s racebook.
2021 Kentucky Derby Free Pick & Handicapping: Essential Quality Race Odds: 11/4
Pros: His undefeated record speaks for itself. He has good tactical speed to sit off whatever pace they want to go and a very strong finishing kick.
Cons: He’ll likely have to use a lot of energy early to get a decent position from the #14 gate. In 36 years, only two horses have pulled off the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/Kentucky Derby double.
2021 Kentucky Derby Free Pick & Handicapping: Rock Your World Race Odds: 19/4
Pros: One of the few horses in the race with lots of early speed. Steadily improving, his win in the (G1) Santa Anita Derby was his best race yet.
Cons: Faces the same gate challenge as Essential Quality, coming from the #15 post. Lacks experience with only three previous races, all at Santa Anita.
2021 Kentucky Derby Free Pick & Handicapping: Known Agenda Race Odds: 15-2
Pros: Much improved since the trainer added blinkers, winning two straight. Should have no problem at all getting the distance. Gets the hottest jockey in North America.
Cons: Terrible luck in drawing the #1 gate. He’s not the fastest gate horse to begin with, and if he breaks a fraction slow half of the other 19 horses in the field will be dropping to the rail in front of him into the first turn.
2021 Kentucky Derby Free Pick & Handicapping: Hot Rod Charlie Race Odds: 8-1
Pros: Like Essential Quality, he has good tactical speed and can press the front runners or sit a few lengths off the pace. Drew a very good post position where jockey Flavian Prat can see how the whole field breaks and adjust accordingly.
Cons: Only has two wins in seven lifetime starts. His workouts prior to the Derby have been so-so.
2021 Kentucky Derby Free Pick & Handicapping: Highly Motivated Race Odds: 12-1
Pros: Never runs a bad race, finishing in the money in all five lifetime starts with two wins, two seconds and a third. Gave Essential Quality all he could handle to run second by a neck in the Blue Grass Stakes.
Cons: Gave Essential Quality all he could handle in the Blue Grass, but also gave up the lead and that one was starting to edge away at the wire. That was his first try beyond one mile, so the 1 1/4 miles is a question.
2021 Kentucky Derby Free Pick & Handicapping: Medina Spirit Race Odds: 14-1
Pros: Has good early speed and drew an excellent post, he could very well be on the lead as they go into the first turn. Trainer Bob Baffert has won the Derby a record-tying six times, including two of the last three, and three of the last six.
Cons: Was really no match for Rock Your World when finishing second by 4 1/4 lengths as the favourite in the SA Derby. Is probably not good enough to take this field wire-to-wire.
Here’s My 2021 Kentucky Derby Free Pick.
Most handicapping angles point to Essential Quality as the best horse in the field, and if he gets good position early and is challenging for the lead off the turn, he could be very tough to beat when the real running starts down the Churchill Downs stretch.
But it kinda nags at me that he had a tough time putting away Highly Motivated in the Blue Grass – albeit that’s a very good horse as well – and I wonder if he’s starting to run out of steam a bit.
So at low odds I’m going to try and beat him, and my pick is Hot Rod Charlie. I was impressed with his win last out in the Louisiana Derby – he took the opportunity to go to the lead when it was there and when the very good Midnight Bourbon came at him off the turn, he looked that one in the eye and then drew away. And that race was at 1 3/16 miles, so he’s the only horse in the race that we know for sure can win beyond 1 1/8.
Since the pools are huge, I’ll bet the superfecta for fun and use Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality in both the 1 and 2 spots with Rock Your World, Known Agenda and long shots O Besos and Hidden Stash all in the 3 and 4 spots.
Full Field: Kentucky Derby Betting Odds
(By post position)
- #1 – Known Agenda 15-2
- #2 – Like The King 60-1
- #3 – Brooklyn Strong 55-1
- #4 – Keepmeinmind 55-1
- #5 – Sainthood 45-1
- #6 – O Besos 28-1
- #7 – Mandaloun 22-1
- #8 – Medina Spirit 14-1
- #9 – Hot Rod Charlie 8-1
- #10 – Midnight Bourbon 22-1
- #11 – Dynamic One 35-1
- #12 – Helium 50-1
- #13 – Hidden Stash 50-1
- #14 – Essential Quality 11-4
- #15 – Rock Your World 19-4
- #16 – King Fury 40-1
- #17 – Highly Motivated 12-1
- #18 – Super Stock 25-1
- #19 – Soup and Sandwich 25-1
- #20 – Bourbonic 40-1
What do you think of our 2021 Kentucky Derby Race Odds & Predictions? Weigh in below with a comment. We welcome your feedback.
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