Kentucky Derby Picks 2021: Predictions and Odds for All Horses Before 147th Race

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2021

Horses work out as the sun rises at Churchill Downs Friday, April 30, 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

After last year's unexpected break in the sports time continuum, schedules are now trending towards getting back to normal.

That means that the 147th Kentucky Derby is back where it belongs, on the first Saturday in May.

The much-anticipated race at Churchill Downs is also back to the front of the line as the first leg of the iconic Triple Crown.

Coming into the race, Essential Quality seems to be the horse to beat, especially with King Fury scratched from the race due to fever.

Some oddsmakers have Highly Motivated at the top of their list, even though the young thoroughbred hasn't won a race yet.

Here's a quick look at the latest odds and a few predictions before the annual Run for the Roses.

Kentucky Derby Post, Odds

1. Known Agenda (10-1)

2. Like the King (50-1)

3. Brooklyn Strong (40-1)

4. Keepmeinmind (46-1)

5. Sainthood (36-1)

6. O Besos (38-1)

7. Mandaloun (29-1)

8. Medina Spirit (12-1)

9. Hot Rod Charlie (6-1)

10. Midnight Bourbon (13-1)

11. Dynamic One (38-1)

12. Helium (39-1)

13. Hidden Stash (34-1)

14. Essential Quality (5-2)

15. Rock Your World (9-2)

16. King Fury (SCR)

17. Highly Motivated (11-1)

18. Super Stock (29-1)

19. Soup and Sandwich (24-1)

20. Bourbonic (27-1)


1. Essential Quality

2. Highly Motivated

3. Hot Rod Charlie

4. Rock Your World

5. Known Agenda

6. Medina Spirit

7. Midnight Bourbon

8. Soup and Sandwich

9. Bourbonic 

10. Mandaloun

11. Super Stock

12. Hidden Stash

13. Sainthood

14. Dynamic One

15. O Besos

16. Helium

17. Brooklyn Strong

18. Keepmeinmind

19. Like the King

20. King Fury

Kentucky Derby @KentuckyDerby

Today, the greatest two minutes in sports return to the first Saturday in May. #KyDerby Post Time: 6:57pm ET on NBC #KyDerby https://t.co/Q76Jeg5ewp

The scratch of King Fury is a downer for many racing fans, but that won't stop the Derby from living up to its storied reputation as the greatest two minutes in sports.

After it's win at the Lexington Stakes last month, the Kenny McPeek-trained horse was seen as the best chance at an upset this Saturday.

But there's still some fascinating horses left on the board to challenge everyone's favorite, Essential Quality.

Starting from the No. 14 post at Churchill Downs, the Brad Cox-trained horse is an overwhelming 2-1 favorite to cross the finish line first in the 1 1/4-mile race.

"It got a little nerve-wracking with both horses still to go and the rail still being out there," Cox told ESPN. "I think it'll be a good spot [for Essential Quality]. He's got good tactical speed that he'll be able to get into a good position from there."

Essential Quality is unbeaten in four graded stakes, but he's not the only undefeated horse in the race. Rock Your World hasn't tasted defeat and trainer John Sadler is hoping the horse can back up its 5-1 odds.

One of the longshots to win it, Highly Motivated, just had a strong showing against Essential Quality at the Blue Grass Stakes where it came in second in a very close race.

The Chad Brown-trained horse will have to overcome No. 17 post position, but there is hope that it can break from the outside.

"It’s a little farther outside than we would have liked, but there’s a long run into the turn and this horse clearly has a lot of natural speed," Brown told Jason Frakes of the Louisville Courier-Journal. "Hopefully we’ll be forward enough to come over and get some position into the first turn."

Hot Rod Charlie and Known Agenda are also strong contenders to consider, but for those bettors looking for another longshot to back, O Besos might be the pick, especially after owner Mike Carver declared his horse was going to "shock the world."

Statistics and odds obtained from KentuckyDerby.com.