The contenders among Kentucky Derby horses will race for glory at Churchill Downs.

The Kentucky Derby is dubbed “the most exciting two minutes in sport” by American race fans and sports bettors. It is one of the biggest betting events in sport and in 2021 saw wagering top the $150-million mark, a number that is expected to be eclipsed this year. So who are the Kentucky Derby horses to look out for in this year’s Run for the Roses?

The Derby is the first leg of the famous Triple Crown with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes forming the other two legs. To win the Triple Crown takes a superstar horse, but do we have one in this year’s field of 20 contenders?

Five of the last 10 runnings have been won by trainers Bob Baffert (3) or Doug O’Neil (2), with Baffert’s all-conquering American Pharoah winning in 2015. But Baffert will not have runners under his own barn this year, as last year’s winner Medina Spirit was subsequently disqualified. Despite a legal battle, Baffert has been suspended from the Kentucky Derby for two years.

Our How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby is a tremendous resource to help you wager on the big event, with everything from win, place and show betting to trifecta wagering.

See Odds Shark’s Best Kentucky Derby Sites

Below you will see the various contenders and their Kentucky Derby odds.

Betting Odds To Win The Kentucky Derby
HorseOdds
Epicenter+300
Taiba+550
Zandon+600
Messier+600
Mo Donegal+1100
Charge It+1200
White Abarrio+1200
Smile Happy+1600
Cyberknife+1600
Crown Pride+1600

Odds as of May 7 at Bovada

Kentucky Derby Trials

The Kentucky Derby is a race for the three-year-olds, with colts (that’s the boys) carrying 126 pounds and fillies (that’s the girls) carrying 121 pounds, and it’s run over a distance of a mile and a quarter.

The trials for the race start during the horses’ two-year-old careers, but it is during the following year as three-year-olds that we get to see how those horses have progressed from two to three years old.

Reading the form is one thing, but watching the reruns of some of the key trials can give seasoned horseplayers and novice bettors an accurate view of who might emerge as the Kentucky Derby champion come Saturday, May 7.

These are all available to watch for free on YouTube and our resident expert has gone through all of the trials and picked out the ones that are likely to give you clues about which Kentucky Derby horses stand a chance of crossing the wire first in the big race.

Epicenter is the current race favorite and his odds are +300 or 3:1

You can check out his trial run below:

Kentucky Derby Horses - Top 3 Contenders

Epicenter +300

Epicenter looks like a strong favorite and his race form, as you saw above, is very strong. He won that Louisiana Derby with ease last time out and all the experts seem to think he could be the winner and is sure to be a tough foe for the whole field.

White Abarrio +1200

White Abarrio has captured the hearts of horseplayers and the neutrals right across the U.S., not only because he is a highly talented racehorse but he also stands out with his very light gray color, which makes him unique.

He is now the sixth favorite, tied with Charge It, in the betting futures for the main event at around +1200 (12/1) and must be one of the leading players.

Zandon +600

However, our betting expert’s top pick from all of the 20 Kentucky Derby horses in this year’s field is Zandon. His late-closing style should suit this race, as there will be plenty of speed early and he can sit and stalk from mid-pack and charge late in the stretch to win the 148th Run for the Roses. 

Kentucky Derby Horses - Outside Contenders

Zandon is one of the fancied runners but what about a couple of outsiders to put in your exotics?

For those not understanding what we mean by exotics, we are talking about exactas (pick the first two past the wire) or even a trifecta (pick the first three past the wire).

Cyberknife was a real easy winner of the Arkansas Derby and his price of +1600 (16/1) looks big for players who like to bet “across the board,” while Mo Donegal is another that will be closing late, and he is around +1100 (11/1).

We like Mo a lot as he has a battling attitude, something every Kentucky Derby winner needs.