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Kentucky Derby 2021 Horses: Odds and Post Positions for Contenders and Sleepers

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2021

Kentucky Derby hopeful Highly Motivated works out at Churchill Downs Tuesday, April 27, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 1. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

We know what the 20-horse field looks like for the 2021 Kentucky Derby, and as of Tuesday, we know where each horse will be positioned. The post draw began Tuesday morning, and the results are now finalized.

The Kentucky Derby officially released the positioning and early post-draw odds shortly after completion:

Kentucky Derby @KentuckyDerby

Post Positions for the 147th #KyDerby https://t.co/Qj3jv0KY6B

As one might expect, the favorite, Essential Quality, remains at the top of the odds. With a gate position toward the outside of the track, Essential Quality's odds have actually gone from 3-1 on Monday to 2-1 after the draft.

As The Athletic recently pointed out, there has been a slight advantage to having an outside gate position in recent years:

"In smaller field races, there’s an inside bias of being able to establish an inside position going into the first turn and have a shorter trip around the race track. But the Kentucky Derby has one of the biggest fields of the year with 20 horses, the inside horses can get compressed even more at the start and there seems to be a recent bias towards horses with an outside starting position. Since 2000, 11 of the 21 Kentucky Derby winners have broken from gate 13 or higher."

Another contender, Rock Your World, saw a favorable gate draw and increased odds to go with it. The John H. Sadler-trained Colts—fresh off a win in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby—saw odds swing from 6-1 to 5-1 with a position in Gate 15.

However, not every contender saw improved odds with an outside gate position. Known Agenda drew the No. 1 gate and still saw odds go from 8-1 to 6-1.

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The Todd A. Pletcher-trained horse is coming off a win in the Curlin Florida Derby and has his fair share of supporters.

"If the Derby was tomorrow, I would be in the direction of Known Agenda," Blackhawks analyst and NBC handicapper Eddie Olczyk said, per Jeff Agrest of the Chicago Sun-Times. "He won the Florida Derby and seems to be coming into his own since he put blinkers on."

While many of the favorites remain so, one particular horse may be emerging as a potential sleeper. The Pletcher-trained Dynamic One saw odds jump from 40-1 on Monday to 20-1 less than 24 hours later.

Dynamic One took first in the Wood Memorial earlier this month and drew the No. 11 gate.

Similarly, King Fury saw a jump from 40-1 to 20-1 after the post draw. The Kenneth G. McPeek-trained colt took first in the Lexington Stakes after a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

All three of Monday's dark horses—Keepmeinmind, Hidden Stash and Brooklyn Strongremain at 50-1 odds, while Sainthood, Halium and Like the King dropped to 50-1.

The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby is set to take place on Saturday, May 1, with an estimated post time of 7:01 p.m. ET. Pre-race coverage will begin at 2:30 p.m. on NBC.

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