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Kentucky Derby 2021 Odds: Latest Vegas Betting Lines for Churchill Downs Field

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IApril 27, 2021

FILE - Jockey Luis Saez rides Essential Quality to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile horse race at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., in this Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, file photo. Essential Quality is expected to be the first grey horse favored to win the Kentucky Derby in 25 years. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Maybe the 2021 Kentucky Derby champion will be an undefeated horse. The two favorites (Essential Quality and Rock Your World) have yet to lose during their careers and will be looking to join nine previous winners who had unblemished records.

Or it could be a long shot that ends up winning the Derby. It's happened in the past, such as when Country House (65-1) won in 2019. You never know what might happen once the horses reach the gates at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

And this year, the Derby is actually taking place on the first Saturday in May. In 2020, it was postponed to September due to the coronavirus pandemic, which made it the second race on the Triple Crown schedule after the Belmont Stakes, which still occurred in June.

There were also be limited spectators in attendance after last year's Run for the Roses was held without fans. So the Derby should feel a bit closer to its normal format.

Here's a look at the latest odds for this year's Kentucky Derby.

          

Kentucky Derby Odds

Essential Quality 3-1

Rock Your World 6-1

Known Agenda 8-1

Highly Motivated 10-1

Hot Rod Charlie 10-1

Medina Spirit 15-1

Midnight Bourbon 20-1

Mandaloun 20-1

Super Stock 20-1

Soup and Sandwich 30-1

O Besos 30-1

Like the King 40-1

Sainthood 40-1

King Fury 40-1

Bourbonic 40-1

Helium 40-1

Dynamic One 40-1

Hidden Stash 50-1

Keepmeinmind 50-1

Brooklyn Strong 50-1

Odds via Vegas Insider.

                

Essential Quality remains the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby, and that's unlikely to change as we get closer to Saturday's race. He has won each of his first five career races, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November and the Southwest Stakes and Blue Grass Stakes this year.

If the colt races to victory, it will mark the first career Kentucky Derby win for trainer Brad H. Cox, who has never even had a horse enter the race before. This year, he has two in the projected 20-horse field, as Mandaloun could also give him an opportunity to win the Run for the Roses.

But Essential Quality is more likely to be a front-runner, and he could ensure Cox becomes the first Louisville-born trainer to win the Derby.

"If he runs the race he's been running, he's going to be there," Cox said of Essential Quality, per Christine Oser and Byron King of The Blood-Horse. "He's just got a 20-horse field. You have to overcome some things and have what they call racing luck. If he gets racing luck and a clean trip, we'll be in a great position."

While Essential Quality is the favorite, there are plenty of others with solid odds to win. So it's likely Saturday's race will be a competitive one.

Rock Your World is also undefeated, having won each of his first three career races, including the Santa Anita Derby on April 3. Highly Motivated is another strong horse coming off recent success, as he finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes, nearly edging Essential Quality at the finish line.

Both horses have trainers who have never won the Kentucky Derby. John Sadler (Rock Your World) is 0-for-4 in his career at the race, while Chad Brown (Highly Motivated) has had five unsuccessful entries.

Then there are some horses with trainers who are no stranger to Kentucky Derby success. That most notably includes Bob Baffert, who is tied with Ben Jones for the most wins at six and will be looking to break that tie with Medina Spirit.

Baffert could have had two horses in the Derby field, but he opted not to race Concert Tour, who could return to participate in the Preakness Stakes on May 15.

Todd Pletcher has won the Kentucky Derby twice—with Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming in 2017—and he's going to have four horses in this year's race. Of that quartet, Known Agenda is the one who will be most likely to win. But Sainthood, Bourbonic or Dynamic One could pull off an upset.

Although Steve Asmussen has never won the Derby, he's previously entered 21 horses in the race, including a pair of second-place finishers: Nehro (2011) and Lookin At Lee (2017). This year, he has two horses in the field (Super Stock and Midnight Bourbon), and either could end up racing to victory.

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