Kentucky Derby Odds


Kentucky Derby Odds

Kentucky Derby

Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby: Kentucky Derby Odds and Contenders

On Saturday, May 1, the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing will kick off with the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. It’s a welcome return to normal after last year’s Run for the Roses was postponed to September due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s field is close to set, with the post position draw scheduled for Tuesday, April 27. Once each contender is assigned a post, the morning line odds will be released.

For those learning how to bet on the Kentucky Derby, post positions have a significant impact on the odds. A horse’s proximity to the rail can give it an edge, or reduce its probability of winning. For example, Gate 17 has never produced a winner to date, while Gate 5 has produced 10. Of course, some favourites have such an edge that their starting gate doesn’t matter. We’ll find out if this year’s early favourite, Essential Quality, falls into this category.

Taking a flyer in the futures market before the official draw happens can yield great value if your pick ends up with a favourable post. Of course, the opposite is also true when a horse draws an unfavourable post. We’ll go over the top favourites on the Kentucky Derby betting lines pre-post position draw, so that you can have a chance to snag some last-minute value.

2021 Kentucky Derby Favourites

Topping the 2021 Kentucky Derby odds board is the undefeated Brad Cox-trained colt, Essential Quality, who has gone from +450 to +325 since last week. This son of Tapit will be ridden by Luis Saez, who was on Maximum Security in 2019 for the infamous bumping that led to the winner’s disqualification. Out of all the top contenders for the Derby, Essential Quality has the most impressive resume, with victories in all five career starts. After breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs last September, he went straight to grade 1 competition at the Breeders’ Cup and took first place at the Futurity and the Juvenile. This year, he recorded even faster speeds while winning the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes and the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes. Trainer Cox, a Louisville, Kentucky native, has yet to win a Triple Crown race.


The second favourite on the Kentucky Derby 2021 odds board, Rock Your World has gained quite a bit of momentum, going from +600 to +450 in a week. He is much less tested than Essential Quality, but he is 3-0, with a grade 1 victory at the Santa Anita Derby; those were the same qualifications as Triple Crown Winner Justify three years ago. Rock Your World is trained by John Sadler, who is also hunting down his first Triple Crown win, but he did earn a Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic through Accelerate. The dark bay colt will be ridden by seasoned jockey Joel Rosario, who’s making his tenth Kentucky Derby start.

2021 Kentucky Derby Value Odds

Better value for Kentucky Derby betting is available just beyond the top two favourites, starting with Known Agenda at +700. This intriguing Thoroughbred has recently come into his own after a bumpy career start that required two attempts to break his maiden and a fifth-place finish at the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes. Since then, he has impressed with a massive 11-length victory at an Allowance Optional followed by a 2 ¾-length win at the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 27. Irad Ortiz will be on top of Known Agenda for the Kentucky Derby, and two-time Kentucky Derby winner Todd Pletcher is the trainer.

Hot Rod Charlie (+800 Kentucky Derby betting odds) turned heads at the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 20 when he upset Mandaloun, who was thought to be on the path to becoming one of the leading Kentucky Derby contenders. After recovering from a bump upon breaking from the starting gate in the Louisiana Derby, Hot Rod Charlie gained the lead at the halfway point and held off bids from foes before he finished two lengths ahead of Midnight Bourbon. He was also the runner up behind Essential Quality at the Juvenile. You can expect to see 2019 Kentucky Derby winning jockey Flavien Pratt on top of this dark bay colt at Churchill Downs.

2021 Kentucky Derby Long Shot Odds

While the top four contenders are the best choices for straight wins, long shots provide the greatest value of all when they pull an upset. Alternatively, they can be used for filling in exotics like exactas and trifectas. Super Stock (+2500) just came off a wild upset of his own when he won the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby; it was an incredibly speedy performance for the Steve Asmussen trainee. Meanwhile, Bob Baffert fans can look to Medina Spirit, who has finished first or second in all five career races; he’ll be guided by jockey John Velazquez at the Kentucky Derby. Baffert and Velazquez were the trainer and jockey combo behind last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Authentic, so they provide enormous value at +1400 on the odds board.

Keep checking in at Bodog Sportsbook, as the odds will shift again after the post position draw is held on Tuesday. Good luck with your picks and may the best horse win.


*Odds as of April 28th, 2021


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