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2021 Kentucky Derby Odds: Essential Quality Leads

Essential Quality leads the field in 2021 Kentucky Derby odds at Churchill Downs.

The field for the 147th running of the Run for the Roses is coming into focus and it’s time to start looking at the Kentucky Derby odds and sorting out the overlays and underlays.

It still appears we are going to have a full field of 20 in the starting gate at Churchill Downs with the undefeated Essential Quality the current betting favorite in current Kentucky Derby odds of +275 at Bovada.

Let’s take a look at the current Kentucky Derby odds for each horse and break down where to find value when placing your bets.

If you’ve never bet on the Kentucky Derby or horse racing before and are unsure of which sportsbook to use, don’t sweat it. Odds Shark has put together a handy Kentucky Derby Betting Guide that even seasoned bettors may want to review to ensure you’re picking the best betting site for you

If you’re looking for an inside edge on Kentucky Derby betting odds and expert analysis, we have you covered. Here’s a look at betting favorites to win the 147th Kentucky Derby:

2021 Kentucky Derby Odds

Essential Quality+275
Rock Your World+475
Known Agenda+750
Hot Rod Charlie+800
Highly Motivated+1200
Medina Spirit+1400
Midnight Bourbon+2000
Soup and Sandwich+2500
Super Stock+2500
O Besos+2800
Dynamic One+3500
King Fury+4000
Hidden Stash+5000
Brooklyn Strong+5500
Like The King+6000

Odds as of May 1 at Bovada

The second choice in the early Kentucky Derby 2021 odds is Rock Your World at +475 in American odds at Bovada in early wagering. A $10 win wager would return a $47.50 profit and a total payout of $57.50.

This equates to 19/4, which is the fractional odds, or the odds you will see when looking at the toteboard at Churchill Downs or when you are wagering with your online racebook.

The current third choice in Kentucky Derby betting odds is Known Agenda at +750, or 15/2. A $10 win wager would return a $75 profit for a total payout of $85.

Breaking Down Betting Favorites at This Year’s Kentucky Derby

On Tuesday, we looked at the top Kentucky Derby horses, the six main contenders in order of betting odds. That list was led of course by Essential Quality at +275. That would give the colt a 26.67 percent implied probability of making it to the winner’s circle according to the current Kentucky Derby odds.

The question we as horseplayers have to ask is whether those odds or the odds of the top contenders offer value in a race with 20 lightly raced three-year-olds, none of which have traveled 1¼ miles so far in their career.

For those looking to wager in advance, it is only worth the risk if the value is there and you expect the odds to drop on Derby Day after you have locked in your advance wager.

Most think Essential Quality will go off at final odds between +250 and +350 (5/2 to 7/2), so taking odds of +275 a week in advance is not offering much value at all.

In recent years, we saw morning line favorites Omaha Beach in 2019 and I Want Revenge in 2009 scratched in the days leading up to the race with minor injuries. Those betting on those two favorites ripped up their tickets before the gate was loaded.

Which Kentucky Derby Hopefuls Are Offering Early Value?

While the field and all-important post positions were finalized on Tuesday, it is never too soon to start looking for betting value when analyzing the early odds to win the Kentucky Derby.

Let’s look at a trio of runners to keep an eye on as we head into the first Saturday of May. These three are likely going to offer generous odds to win the Kentucky Derby:

Dynamic One   +3500

This colt is one of four that will be saddled by top trainer Todd Pletcher. The trainer has already started an all-time record of 55 starters in the race but has managed just a pair of wins, with Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming in 2017.

Pletcher’s Known Agenda, currently the third choice at Bovada at +750, won the Florida Derby (G1) in his last outing and will get most of the attention while Dynamic One will come into the race flying under the radar.

The trainer remarked that he has been very high on Dynamic One all year, but the colt was slower to develop, drawing tough posts in two of his first three starts and not breaking his maiden until his fourth career outing.

The colt made his stakes debut in the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct in his most recent start. He had the lead heading to the wire and got run down late by his stablemate Bourbonic, beaten a tough head but earning enough Derby points to stamp his ticket to Louisville.

The colt was a hefty $725,000 Keeneland purchase and seems to be maturing at the right time. You could do worse than having a small wager at his current odds of +3500.

Mandaloun   +2200

This colt is trained by Brad Cox, who will saddle the betting favorite Essential Quality. Mandaloun showed ability as a juvenile with back-to-back wins to kick off his career. He then was a solid third in the Lecomte (G2) before winning the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds.

He went into the Louisiana Derby (G2) as the betting favorite and a leading contender for the Kentucky Derby. However, the colt failed to fire, fading to finish a well-beaten sixth after tracking the early pace.

The six weeks between the Louisiana Derby and Kentucky Derby is a concern, as well as the fact recent Derby winners have come into the race razor-sharp. In fact, nine of the last 10 Kentucky Derby winners won their final prep. The only exception was Country House in 2019, who was third in the Arkansas Derby. He was placed first thanks to the disqualification of Maximum Security, who won the Florida Derby (G1) in his final prep.

The colt has the connections and the pedigree and showed in the Risen Star he is fast enough to compete with the best of the division. The if – and it is a big if – is whether he can bounce back off his poor showing in his final prep.

Medina Spirit   +1400

Back in February, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert looked locked and loaded with a barn full of up-and-coming three-year-olds. Now he comes to Louisville with Medina Spirit, who is currently at +1400 and likely to go off as the fifth or sixth choice in the race.

The trainer knows how to get them ready on the first Saturday of May (not to mention the first Saturday of September last year due to the pandemic), winning this race a record-tying six times.

The colt won the Robert B. Lewis (G3) for his first stakes victory, then was no match for Life Is Good in a runner-up finish in the San Felipe (G2). Life Is Good is his stablemate and was an early Derby favorite before getting knocked off the Derby trail with an injury.

In his last outing, Medina Sprit was sent off at 4/5 in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and had to settle for the runner-up spot behind Rock Your World, beaten 4¼ lengths.

His speed figures are not that far behind the major players and with Baffert calling the shots, this colt is one to keep an eye on during Derby week if his price drifts upward.

Next week after the post position draw, I will have my 2021 Kentucky Derby predictions, analysis and best bets for the big race.

When is the Kentucky Derby?

The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby will be run at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 1. The race is the first jewel of racing’s Triple Crown. The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico will be run two weeks later on Saturday, May 15, and then the Belmont Stakes will complete the series on Saturday, June 5.

What Time is the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby post time this year is at 6:57 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on NBC. The race will be the 12th race on a 14-race card at Churchill Downs that gets underway at 10:30 a.m. ET.

While the Kentucky Derby is the main event, horseplayers have 14 races to wager on with a nearly endless number of different betting options. There are six supporting graded stakes on the card, including the $1-million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1) and the $500,000 Derby City Distaff (G1).