Kentucky Derby 2021 Lineup: Full Race Guide for All Horses and Jockeys

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IApril 30, 2021

Kentucky Derby entrant Rock Your World works out at Churchill Downs Thursday, April 29, 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

It's once again Triple Crown season for horse racing. And after an unorthodox 2020 slate, things are back to a normal schedule this year. That means the Kentucky Derby is the first of the three marquee races taking place, and it will be held Saturday at Churchill Downs.

One of the 20 horses set to participate in this year's Derby will end up racing to victory in the Run for the Roses. While some have better odds to do so than others, there have been surprising winners in the past, and there could be a shock this year.

Whichever horse wins will then look to go on and claim both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. But that's difficult to do, considering there have only been 13 previous Triple Crown winners.

With the Kentucky Derby getting closer, here's a complete look at this year's lineup of horses.


2021 Kentucky Derby Lineup, Odds

1. Known Agenda (6-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

2. Like the King (50-1)
Trainer: Wesley Ward
Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke

3. Brooklyn Strong (50-1)
Trainer: Daniel Velazquez
Jockey: Umberto Rispoli

4. Keepmeinmind (50-1)
Trainer: Robertino Diodoro
Jockey: David Cohen

5. Sainthood (50-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Corey Lanerie

6. O Besos (20-1)
Trainer: Greg Foley
Jockey: Marcelino Pedroza

7. Mandaloun (15-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux

8. Medina Spirit (15-1)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: John Velazquez

9. Hot Rod Charlie (8-1)
Trainer: Doug O'Neill
Jockey: Flavien Prat

10. Midnight Bourbon (20-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Mike Smith

11. Dynamic One (20-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Jose Ortiz

12. Helium (50-1)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Julien Leparoux

13. Hidden Stash (50-1)
Trainer: Victoria Oliver
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano

14. Essential Quality (2-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Luis Saez

15. Rock Your World (5-1)
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Joel Rosario

16. King Fury (20-1)
Trainer: Kenny McPeek
Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

17. Highly Motivated (10-1)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Javier Castellano

18. Super Stock (30-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

19. Soup and Sandwich (30-1)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

20. Bourbonic (30-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche

Odds via KentuckyDerby.com


Some jockeys competing in this year's Kentucky Derby have won the race before.

John Velazquez is no stranger to Derby success, as he's won the race three times, with Animal Kingdom (2011), Always Dreaming (2017) and Authentic (2020). He'll be looking to win the Kentucky Derby for the second consecutive year, a feat that was last achieved when Victor Espinoza won with California Chrome (2014) and American Pharoah (2015).

If Velazquez can ride Medina Spirit to victory, it would make history for trainer Bob Baffert, who is tied with Ben Jones for the most career Kentucky Derby victories at six. Baffert, who won with Authentic in 2020, hasn't won consecutive Derbies since his first two victories in 1997 (Silver Charm) and 1998 (Real Quiet).

Medina Spirit isn't among the top favorites and is coming off a second-place finish at the Santa Anita Derby, but it's tough to count out a Baffert-trained horse that will be ridden by Velazquez.

Mike Smith is another jockey in this year's field who has won numerous Kentucky Derbies. He rode 2005 champion Giacomo and 2018 winner Justify, who was the most recent horse to win the Triple Crown.

This year, Smith is riding Midnight Bourbon and will be looking to help trainer Steve Asmussen earn his first career Kentucky Derby win on his 22nd entry.

Essential Quality, the favorite to win this year's race, will be ridden by Luis Saez, who is looking for redemption at Churchill Downs. Saez has never won the Derby, but he rode Maximum Security in 2019, who crossed the finish line first but was then disqualified for interference.

"If we win, I would dedicate this race to my wife and my daughters," Saez told Gabrielle Kuenzli of BloodHorse.com. "We have been through so many hard times, especially since the 2019 Derby, and they have been my support. I would also dedicate the race to the late Juan Saez, my brother, who is in the sky now. And I would dedicate the victory to Maximum Security."

Saez is returning to the Derby after skipping the 2020 event. Considering how impressive Essential Quality has looked in his first five career races (all victories), Saez could be celebrating a Derby victory by the end of Saturday.

If Essential Quality doesn't win, it could be because he falls short against Rock Your World, another undefeated horse who has the second-best odds of racing to victory. Rock Your World will be ridden by a former Derby champion, as jockey Joel Rosario won with Orb in 2013.