Kentucky Derby 2021: Odds, Pedigree, Jockey Info for Favorites and More Horses

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 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 gray horse favored to win the Kentucky Derby in 25 years. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The 2021 Kentucky Derby is now only a few days away, and Essential Quality remains the betting favorite. The Brad Cox-trained horse is undefeated in five races and carries 2-1 odds following Tuesday's post draw.

Essential Quality drew a favorable gate position, as did fellow favorite Rock Your World. Both horses are on the outside half of the field, which as The Athletic recently pointed out, could be seen as a significant positive:

"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."

The full lineup and latest odds are as follows.


2021 Kentucky Derby Positions and Post-Draw Odds

1. Known Agenda 6-1

2. Like the King 50-1

3. Brooklyn Strong 50-1

4. Keepmeinmind 50-1

5. Sainthood 50-1

6. O Besos 20-1

7. Mandaloun 15-1

8. Medina Spirit 15-1

9. Hot Rod Charlie 8-1

10. Midnight Bourbon 20-1

11. Dynamic One 20-1

12. Helium 50-1

13. Hidden Stash 50-1

14. Essential Quality 2-1

15. Rock Your World 5-1

16. King Fury 20-1

17. Highly Motivated 10-1

18. Super Stock 30-1

19. Soup and Sandwich 30-1

20. Bourbonic 30-1

Odds via KentuckyDerby.com


Jockey Info and Pedigree

Gate positioning isn't the only reason why horses like Essential Quality and Rock Your World are considered favorites, of course. Neither is race history—though being undefeated certainly doesn't hurt. For many bettors, pedigree and racing teams are also important.

Take Medina Spirit, for example. This horse isn't considered a heavy favorite, even by trainer Bob Baffert.

"I think he's a top-10. Usually, I come in here with a top-five," Baffert said, per Marcus Hersh of the Daily Racing Form. "Things are going to have to go his way if he's going to get there."

However, the team of Baffert and jockey John Velazquez is the same one that helped Authentic take home a Derby victory last year. Essential Quality has a seasoned jockey in Luis Saez, who nearly won the Derby two years ago before Maximum Security was disqualified.

Cox isn't concerned about that mishap affecting his rider.

"It's one of those things where Luis has confidence in him [and] we have confidence in Luis," Cox said, per Matt Bonesteel of the Washington Post.

Essential Quality is the progeny of Delightful Quality and Tapit.

Rock Your World will be mounted by jockey Joel Rosario, who has wins in the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. This horse comes from the bloodline of Charm the Maker and Candy Ride.

The third favorite, Known Agenda, boasts jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who has numerous wins including the Belmont Stakes, Pegasus World Cup, Gotham Stakes and the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Known Agenda is the progeny of Byrama and Curlin.