In-Depth Analysis Reveals the 2021 Kentucky Derby Winner

Other May 01, 2021

The 2021 Kentucky Derby goes off at 6:57 p.m. EST on Saturday, May 1st.

The $3 million, 1-1/4 mile feature race for three-year-olds is back to May after being delayed until Labor Day weekend last year due to the pandemic.


Here's a look at the horses running for the roses, along with early odds, and a few facts:

Favourites haven't fared so well in recent years.  But the crowd choice did win all six Kentucky Derby races between 2013 and 2018.  Authentic, the third betting choice in the field, won last year’s race.

Here's the breakdown from Vic Cangialosi at the New York Post (read his analysis in full HERE).

1. Known Agenda (6-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz
Current Form: Disappointed as favourite in the Sam Davis. Pletcher made a rider change to Ortiz, added blinkers and he has won two in row, latest in the Florida Derby.
Worth a Wager? Hasn’t blinked since he put on the blinkers. No rider hotter than Ortiz. Curlin colt drifted late after devouring Soup and Sandwich. Putting him fifth.

2. Like the King (50-1)
Trainer: Wesley Ward
Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke
Current Form: Punched his ticket by winning the Jeff Ruby on the synthetics at Turfway Park. Has won on the turf as well but figures are not up to par.
Worth a Wager? Not considered a serious Derby threat prior to winning the Jeff Ruby. Still not. Quickly knocked off his throne. Like the King? No. Not so sweet 16th.

3. Brooklyn Strong (50-1)
Trainer: Daniel Velazquez
Jockey: Umberto Rispoli
Current Form: Strong 2-year-old campaign included a win in the Remsen where he defeated Known Agenda. Alas, fifth in the Wood Memorial in his only start this year.
Worth a Wager? Remember Funny Cide? New York-bred is the only gelding in the field. Weak showing in New York is hard to overlook. Kentucky will be no better. 18th.

4. Keepmeinmind (50-1)
Trainer: Robertino Diodoro
Jockey: David Cohen
Current Form: Has been defeated by Essential Quality three times and the gap keeps growing. Came up 16 lengths short in the Blue Grass.
Worth a Wager? Won at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old but hard to recommend off the empty prep. Release him from your mind. Last of 20.

5. Sainthood (50-1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Corey Lanerie
Current Form: That late run in the Jeff Ruby wasn’t as good as Like The King’s. Or was it? Didn’t have the best of trips. One-win colt hasn’t beat anyone of note.
Worth a Wager? Of the four Pletcher contenders, this would be the one to make Todd eligible for Sainthood. Mshawish-sired colt fades, finishes 17th.

6. O Besos (20-1)
Trainer: Greg Foley
Jockey: Marcelino Pedroza
Current Form: Wasn’t going to run down Hot Rod Charlie but finished with good energy to get third money in the Louisiana Derby at 28-1.
Worth a Wager? Stretch runner is getting better and has plenty of upsides. May peak in the summer classics. As for the Derby: makes a mild move to land 11th.

7. Mandaloun (15-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Current Form: Went off the favourite in the Louisiana Derby and stopped when the real running started. Raced wide, but it was still step back after winning the Risen Star.
Worth a Wager? Became the “other” Brad Cox runner after the “Lose-iana.” Racing is all about excuses, and he had a legit one. Midpack, 12th.

8. Medina Spirit (15-1)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: John Velazquez
Current Form: Expected to rebound after running second in the San Felipe, he played second fiddle again, losing to Rock Your World in the Santa Anita Derby.
Worth a Wager? Baffert (the Tom Brady of horse racing) and Velazquez teamed up to win last year’s Derby … with Authentic. Connections are there, but we will put him ninth.

9. Hot Rod Charlie (8-1)
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Current Form: Charlie is fast, and he can last. Only horse proven at the Derby distance after holding off a game Midnight Bourbon in the Louisiana Derby.
Worth a Wager? Hot Rod has long-range speed and a high cruising rate. Dangerous and Doug O’Neill has him peaking at the right time. Caught late, holds for fourth.

10. Midnight Bourbon (20-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Mike Smith
Current Form: Broke well, let Hot Rod Charlie go, could not run him down in the Louisiana Derby. Experience at distance could be a stepping stone and one to grow on.
Worth a Wager? The Tiznow colt is bred for distance. Asmussen makes a rider change to “Money Mike” Smith, who should have him forwardly placed. Get your shot glasses ready! Winner.

11. Dynamic One (20-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Current Form: Took an easy maiden breaker to the Wood Memorial and got outkicked by his barn buddy Bourbonic after poking a head in front late.
Worth a Wager? Lost what little faith we had when he surrendered the lead in the shorter Wood. Like O Besos, he may be more Dynamic later in the year. 10th.

12. Helium (50-1)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Current Form: One of three horses with unblemished records. Ballooned to 3-for-3 after stretching longer and taking the Tampa Bay Derby.
Worth a Wager? Lightly raced, but he has done everything asked of him. Upgrade in talented opponents, as well as distance issues, lead to his first loss. Seventh.

13. Hidden Stash (50-1)
Trainer: Vicki Oliver
Jockey: Rafael Bejerano
Current Form: Ran second to Helium in the Tampa Bay Derby, then fourth, well back of Essential Quality in the Blue Grass.
Worth a Wager? May be best to keep your Stash Hidden. He’s here to get a share. Does not. Not last, 19th.

14. Essential Quality (2-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Luis Saez
Current Form: Tested for toughness in the Blue Grass and he passed, gutting out a hard-fought victory over Highly Motivated. Dirty gray is a squeaky clean 5-for-5.
Worth a Wager? Versatile. Can win from on or off the pace on a wet or fast surface. Worthy fave gets the distance but we will try to beat him at this price. Second.

15. Rock Your World (5-1)
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Current Form: Won initial pair on the turf. Made dirt debut in the Santa Anita Derby and won handily wire-to-wire pulling down a triple-digit fig.
Worth a Wager? Grass winner Rocked the Derby standings by proving he can get dirty. Rocking on the pace, but he will have plenty of company. A retreating sixth.

16. King Fury (20-1)
Trainer: Ken McPeek
Jockey: Brian Hernandez
Current Form: Made it to the dance by winning the Lexington in the slop at Keeneland. Got beat a dozen lengths by Essential Quality as a two-year-old.
Worth a Wager? Rain or shine, the King should close the gap on Essential Quality, but we will put his grade 3 prep win in perspective. 14th.

17. Highly Motivated (10-1)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Current Form: Sure was! Highly Motivated gave Essential Quality all he could handle in the Blue Grass. Defeated Known Agenda in his juvenile campaign.
Worth a Wager? Put on the lead, got away with lazy fractions but could not hold off the winner. Chad Brown may have to wait to get his first Derby W. Eighth.

18. Super Stock (30-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana
Current Form: The Arkansas Derby winner has the most starts (eight). Sprinter proved he could go long and, in turn, knocked Baffert’s Concert Tour out.
Worth a Wager? Not sure his stock soared winning Arkansas Derby. Santana got the pace the late closer was hoping for and pounced. One of many arriving late arrives 15th.

19. Soup and Sandwich (30-1)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Current Form: Took a step forward or backward (depending on your point of view) placing second to Known Agenda in the Florida Derby. Winner previous pair.
Worth a Wager? Tempting at this tasty price. Has speed, should be in the mix early, and may hang to fill out deep exotics. No canned soup and baloney sandwich here. We’ve got him third.

20. Bourbonic (30-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche
Current Form: Pletcher gave him his shot in the Wood Memorial, and he thrilled his trainer, and his betting backers, with a last-to-first victory at 72-1.

My pick, after consulting Equibase Analysis as well as the Beyer Speed Figures is quite simple and very clear.

When in doubt, always bet on the grey horse!