Kentucky Derby 2021 Odds: Latest Lines for Top Contenders and Dark Horses

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IApril 24, 2021

Kentucky Derby 2021 Odds: Latest Lines for Top Contenders and Dark Horses

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Two undefeated horses (Essential Quality and Rock Your World) are the early favorites to win the 2021 Kentucky Derby. But it's not always a horse with strong odds that ends up winning the Run for the Roses.

    There have been some dark horses that have raced to victory at Churchill Downs over the years, as several betting longshots became Derby champions. Perhaps that will be the case this year, as the race is set to be held next Saturday, opening the Triple Crown schedule.

    The Kentucky Derby is back to being the first of the three marquee horse-racing events after it was second on the schedule last year. That's because the race got postponed to September because of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, it's once again behind held on the first Saturday in May.

    Here are the latest odds for this year's race, followed by a look at several horses that don't have the best odds but could end up winning the Derby.

Latest Odds

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Essential Quality 9-4

    Rock Your World 5-1

    Highly Motivated 8-1

    Hot Rod Charlie 10-1

    Super Stock 12-1

    Known Agenda 14-1

    Bourbonic 14-1

    Medina Spirit 16-1

    Caddo River 16-1

    Dynamic One 20-1

    Helium 25-1

    Like the King 25-1

    Soup and Sandwich 25-1

    Mandaloun 25-1

    Midnight Bourbon 25-1

    Sainthood 33-1

    O Besos 40-1

    Get Her Number 40-1

    Hidden Stash 40-1

    King Fury 40-1

    Odds via Oddschecker.

Super Stock (12-1)

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Although trainer Steve Asmussen has had 21 horses start the Kentucky Derby, he's never won the race. It's the only Triple Crown event that Asmussen hasn't won, as he's a two-time Preakness champion (Curlin in 2007 and Rachel Alexandra in 2009) and a one-time Belmont winner (Creator in 2016).

    This year, Asmussen is likely going to have two horses in the Kentucky Derby field: Super Stock and Midnight Bourbon. And of the two, Super Stock has the better odds to win at 12-1.

    Super Stock is an experienced horse, having competed in eight races, and he's finished third or better in six of them. Super Stock is also coming off his second career victory, as he won the Arkansas Derby in mid-April, which could give him some momentum heading to Churchill Downs.

    It was an upset when Super Stock finished ahead of Caddo River and Concert Tour in Arkansas. It's possible that Super Stock could have another upset in store for the Kentucky Derby, as he looks to take down the top favorites for the race.

Medina Spirit (16-1)

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Never count out a Bob Baffert-trained horse at the Kentucky Derby. Baffert has won the Derby six times (tied for the most by a trainer with Ben Jones), including two of the past three years, as Triple Crown champion Justify won in 2018 and Authentic was victorious in 2020.

    This year, Baffert will only have one horse in the Kentucky Derby field, so he'll be relying on Medina Spirit to win as he looks to break his tie with Jones. Concert Tour was expected to be a top Derby contender, but Baffert is opting to have him skip the race and prepare for the Preakness.

    Medina Spirit is a strong horse, too, having finished first or second in each of his first five career races. Medina Spirit is coming off a second-place finish at the Santa Anita Derby on April 4, as he ended up behind Rock Your World, one of the top Kentucky Derby contenders.

    So while Baffert's lone Derby horse may not be among those with the best odds, it's still possible that Medina Spirit will emerge victorious in the Run for the Roses.

Midnight Bourbon (25-1)

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    While Midnight Bourbon is the Asmussen-trained horse with the lower odds of winning, this horse will have one of the best jockeys of all time riding him. Mike Smith is set to make his 27th career Kentucky Derby appearance, as the 55-year-old will be looking to win the race for the third time.

    Smith rode Giacomo to victory in 2005, then won the Triple Crown with Justify in 2018. Giacomo was a 50-1 longshot when he won the Kentucky Derby, so Smith has ridden a horse with lower odds to victory at Churchill Downs before.

    Midnight Bourbon isn't as much of a dark horse as Giacomo was, having 25-1 odds to win. In his first seven career races, Midnight Bourbon hasn't finished worse than third, and he's coming off a second-place finish at the Louisiana Derby last month.

    "Physically, he's an absolutely beautiful horse," Asmussen said, per BloodHorse.com. "Going over the track now, he's as good as he's ever been. He's always had a big frame, now there's just more of him in the right spots."

    And he could also potentially finally make Asmussen a Kentucky Derby champion.

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