The odds and post positions for the 2021 Kentucky Derby are set.
Essential Quality will come off as a +200 favorite after nabbing the No. 14 post and will have +500 second-favorite Rock Your World right beside him in post No. 15.
The No. 14 post has been historically unlucky at Churchill Downs, with only two winners, Carry Back (1961) and Middle Ground (1950), coming out of that position. By contrast, Rock Your World will be looking to join Authentic as the second straight winner out of No. 15. The No. 15 post has won four times since the turn of the century.
Louisville-based trainer Brad Cox seems confident Essential Quality can buck the trend and win on Saturday, regardless of track conditions.
"We feel like we have a little bit of a homecourt advantage with all three horses having won over the strip," Cox said, per Jason Frakes of the Louisville Courier-Journal. "So that's a positive, especially with Essential Quality having won in the mud. ... If the track was wet, I don't think it would affect Essential Quality one bit. He seems to coast over a wet track."
Rain is expected Wednesday and Thursday in Louisville but things are supposed to dry up Friday and Saturday for the race, per Weather.com.
Perhaps the most intriguing name in the field aside from Essential Quality is Known Agenda, which went from +500 to +600 after drawing the inside post. While the inside is historically rich with winners, it has not happened since Ferdinand in 1986. Trainer Todd Pletcher has thrown his weight behind Known Agenda as his best shot to win a third career Kentucky Derby.
Fellow training legend Bob Baffert's top horse, Medina Spirit, will come off at +1500. Baffert seemed to indicate he does not believe Medina Spirit is a winning horse this year.
"He's very consistent, and that's what you need here," Baffert told Frakes. "He looks healthy and has trained well. ... If he's right there turning for home, he's going to fight. He's an overachiever. His heart is bigger than his body. He just tries so hard, and I love that in a horse. That's what made Silver Charm so great."
Baffert says he believes Medina Spirit can be a top five or 10 horse Saturday.
Win: Essential Quality
Place: Known Agenda
Show: Highly Motivated