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Kentucky Derby 2021 best bets: Odds, horses and complete guide

An inside look at how the 147th Kentucky Derby will shape up:

1. Known Agenda (6-1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Irad Ortiz

Current Form: Disappointed as favorite in the Sam Davis. Pletcher made a rider change to Ortiz, added blinkers and he has won two in row, latest in the Florida Derby.

Worth a Wager? Hasn’t blinked since he put on the blinkers. No rider hotter than Ortiz. Curlin colt drifted late after devouring Soup and Sandwich. Putting him fifth.

2. Like the King (50-1)

Trainer: Wesley Ward

Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke

Current Form: Punched his ticket by winning the Jeff Ruby on the synthetics at Turfway Park. Has won on the turf as well but figs are not up to par.

Worth a Wager? Not considered a serious Derby threat prior to winning the Jeff Ruby. Still not. Quickly knocked off his throne. Like the King? No. Not so sweet 16th.

3. Brooklyn Strong (50-1)

Trainer: Daniel Velazquez

Jockey: Umberto Rispoli

Current Form: Strong 2-year-old campaign included a win in the Remsen where he defeated Known Agenda. Alas, fifth in the Wood Memorial in his only start this year.

Worth a Wager? Remember Funny Cide? New York bred is the only gelding in the field. Weak showing in New York is hard to overlook. Kentucky will be no better. 18th.

4. Keepmeinmind (50-1)

Trainer: Robertino Diodoro

Jockey: David Cohen

Current Form: Has been defeated by Essential Quality three times and the gap keeps growing. Came up 16 lengths short in the Blue Grass.

Worth a Wager? Won at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old but hard to recommend off the empty prep. Release him from your mind. Last of 20.

5. Sainthood (50-1)

Sainthood works out for the Kentucky Derby
Sainthood works out for the Kentucky Derby
Getty Images

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Corey Lanerie

Current Form: That late run in the Jeff Ruby wasn’t as good as Like The King’s. Or was it? Didn’t have the best of trips. One-win colt hasn’t beat anyone of note.

Worth a Wager? Of the four Pletcher contenders, this would be the one to make Todd eligible for Sainthood. Mshawish-sired colt fades, finishes 17th.

6. O Besos (20-1)

Trainer: Greg Foley

Jockey: Marcelino Pedroza

Current Form: Wasn’t going to run down Hot Rod Charlie but finished with good energy to get third money in the Louisiana Derby at 28-1.

Worth a Wager? Stretch runner is getting better and has plenty of upside. May peak in the summer classics. As for the Derby: makes a mild move to land 11th.

7. Mandaloun (15-1)

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Current Form: Went off the favorite in the Louisiana Derby and stopped when
the real running started. Raced wide, but it was still step back after winning the Risen Star.

Worth a Wager? Became the “other” Brad Cox runner after the “Lose-iana.”
Racing is all about excuses, and he had a legit one. Midpack, 12th.

8. Medina Spirit (15-1)

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: John Velazquez

Current Form: Expected to rebound after running second in the San Felipe, he played second fiddle again, losing to Rock Your World in the Santa Anita Derby.

Worth a Wager? Baffert (the Tom Brady of horse racing) and Velazquez teamed up to win last year’s Derby … with Authentic. Connections are there, but we will put him ninth.

9. Hot Rod Charlie (8-1)

Trainer: Doug O’Neill

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Current Form: Charlie is fast, and he can last. Only horse proven at the Derby distance after holding off a game Midnight Bourbon in the Louisiana Derby.

Worth a Wager? Hot Rod has long range speed and a high cruising rate. Dangerous and Doug O’Neill has him peaking at the right time. Caught late, holds for fourth.

10. Midnight Bourbon (20-1)

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Mike Smith

Current Form: Broke well, let Hot Rod Charlie go, could not run him down in the Louisiana Derby. Experience at distance could be a stepping stone and one to grow on.

Worth a Wager? The Tiznow colt is bred for distance. Asmussen makes a rider change to “Money Mike” Smith, who should have him forwardly placed. Get your shot glasses ready! Winner.

11. Dynamic One (20-1)

Dynamic One works out for the Kentucky Derby
Dynamic One works out for the Kentucky Derby
AP

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Current Form: Took an easy maiden breaker to the Wood Memorial and got outkicked by his barn buddy Bourbonic after poking a head in front late.

Worth a Wager? Lost what little faith we had when he surrendered the lead in the shorter Wood. Like O Besos, he may be more Dynamic later in the year. 10th.

12. Helium (50-1)

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Current Form: One of three horses with unblemished records. Ballooned to 3-for-3 after stretching longer and taking the Tampa Bay Derby.

Worth a Wager? Lightly raced, but he has done everything asked of him. Upgrade in talented opponents as well as distance issues lead to his first loss. Seventh.

13. Hidden Stash (50-1)

Trainer: Vicki Oliver

Jockey: Rafael Bejerano

Current Form: Ran second to Helium in the Tampa Bay Derby, then fourth, well back of Essential Quality in the Blue Grass.

Worth a Wager? May be best to keep your Stash Hidden. He’s here to get a share. Does not. Not last, 19th.

14. Essential Quality (2-1)

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Luis Saez

Current Form: Tested for toughness in the Blue Grass and he passed, gutting out a hard-fought victory over Highly Motivated. Dirty gray is a squeaky clean 5-for-5.

Worth a Wager? Versatile. Can win from on or off the pace on a wet or fast surface.
Worthy fave gets the distance but we will try to beat him at this price. Second.

15. Rock Your World (5-1)

Rock Your World after winning the Santa Anita Derby
Rock Your World after winning the Santa Anita Derby
AP

Trainer: John Sadler

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Current Form: Won initial pair on the turf. Made dirt debut in the Santa Anita Derby and won handily wire-to-wire pulling down a triple digit fig.

Worth a Wager? Grass winner Rocked the Derby standings by proving he can get dirty. Rocking on the pace, but he will have plenty of company. A retreating sixth.

16. King Fury (20-1)

Trainer: Ken McPeek

Jockey: Brian Hernandez

Current Form: Made it to the dance by winning the Lexington in the slop at Keeneland. Got beat a dozen lengths by Essential Quality as a two-year-old.

Worth a Wager? Rain or shine, the King should close the gap on Essential Quality, but we will put his grade 3 prep win in perspective. 14th.

17. Highly Motivated (10-1)

Trainer: Chad Brown

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Current Form: Sure was! Highly Motivated gave Essential Quality all he could handle in the Blue Grass. Defeated Known Agenda in his juvenile campaign.

Worth a Wager? Put on the lead, got away with lazy fractions but could not hold off the winner. Chad Brown may have to wait to get his first Derby W. Eighth.

18. Super Stock (30-1)

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Ricardo Santana

Current Form: The Arkansas Derby winner has the most starts (eight). Sprinter proved he could go long and, in turn, knocked Baffert’s Concert Tour out.

Worth a Wager? Not sure his stock soared winning the Arkansas. Santana got the pace the late closer was hoping for and pounced. One of many arriving late arrives 15th.

19. Soup and Sandwich (30-1)

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Current Form: Took a step forward or backward (depending on your point of view) placing second to Known Agenda in the Florida Derby. Winner previous pair.

Worth a Wager? Tempting at this tasty price. Has speed, should be in the mix early and may hang to fill out deep exotics. No canned soup and baloney sandwich here. We’ve got him third.

20. Bourbonic (30-1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche

Current Form: Pletcher gave him his shot in the Wood Memorial, and he thrilled his trainer, and his betting backers, with a last-to-first victory at 72-1.

Worth a Wager? Congrats if you had him in the Wood, which has only recently become a Tier 2 prep. Congrats to Carmouche on getting to the Derby. Traffic will keep him 13th.

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