Kentucky Derby 2021 Odds: Post-Positions Info and Vegas Lines for All Horses

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMay 1, 2021

Kentucky Derby entrant Essential Quality waits to work 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

Essential Quality is off to an undefeated start in his racing career, as is Rock Your World. The two horses have been the betting favorites all week in the lead-up to the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Now, it's time for them to race against each other, as well as 17 other horses looking to win the Run for the Roses.

This year's Derby is set to take place Saturday evening at Churchill Downs, but only one horse will secure a victory and begin the quest for a potential Triple Crown run. After last year's schedule was modified because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Kentucky Derby has returned to being the first of the three marquee races on the schedule, followed by the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

While Essential Quality and Rock Your World will each likely have a strong chance to win, there are a lot of strong horses in this year's field. 

Here's everything you need to know with the Kentucky Derby quickly approaching.


2021 Kentucky Derby Post Positions and Odds

1. Known Agenda 16-1

2. Like the King 57-1

3. Brooklyn Strong 55-1

4. Keepmeinmind 53-1

5. Sainthood 43-1

6. O Besos 45-1

7. Mandaloun 40-1

8. Medina Spirit 15-1

9. Hot Rod Charlie 7-1

10. Midnight Bourbon 15-1

11. Dynamic One 45-1

12. Helium 51-1

13. Hidden Stash 39-1

14. Essential Quality 6-5

15. Rock Your World 9-2

16. n/a (King Fury was scratched)

17. Highly Motivated 16-1

18. Super Stock 46-1

19. Soup and Sandwich 30-1

20. Bourbonic 33-1

Odds via KentuckyDerby.com.


For bettors looking to choose a horse for Saturday's race, it's hard to go against Essential Quality. Sure, the payout may not be huge, but the impressive colt should not be doubted at this point.

Essential Quality has won each of his first five career races, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November. This year, he's earned victories at the Southwest Stakes and Blue Grass Stakes, continuing to build momentum toward the Kentucky Derby.

If Essential Quality wins, he'll be the 10th horse to notch a Kentucky Derby victory while owning an undefeated record. His trainer, Brad Cox, is looking to become the first from Louisville to win the Run for the Roses. And Cox, who also has Mandaloun in the Derby, had never previously entered a horse in the race before this year.

"It's been a long run. We've paid our dues and it's put us in this position," Cox said, per Tom Pedulla of America's Best Racing. "We're thankful for the clientele and the help we have that has given us this opportunity."

But the Kentucky Derby is the "most exciting two minutes in sports." After all the work that went into the preparation for the race, a horse can quickly drop behind and fall out of contention. And with so many talented horses in this year's field, Essential Quality is going to be challenged.

Rock Your World enters with a 3-0 record having most recently won the Santa Anita Derby in April. He edged Medina Spirit, a Bob Baffert-trained horse who could also be among the top contenders in the Kentucky Derby.

Hot Rod Charlie has placed in the top three in each of his past four races. He's coming off a win at the Louisiana Derby in March, as he edged Midnight Bourbon and O Besos (another pair of horses in the Kentucky Derby field) for the victory.

Although Known Agenda doesn't have the greatest starting position with the No. 1 post, he could potentially be a threat to win should he break strong from the gate. One of four Todd Pletcher-trained horses in the field, Known Agenda is coming off a win at the Florida Derby in March.

But Pletcher is also optimistic about how his other three horses (Sainthood, Bourbonic and Dynamic One) might fare as well.

"One thing I like about our group overall is, I think they're designed for the mile-and-a-quarter; they're stoutly bred that way, and I think if we can get lucky and get good trips with them, hopefully, they'll all be finishing well in the end," Pletcher said, per Frank Angst of BloodHorse.com.

With so many potential winners (including a pair of undefeated favorites), the Kentucky Derby is set up to be an exciting race this year. Which one of these horses will prevail? We'll soon be finding out.