Updating 2021 Kentucky Derby Odds: Essential Quality the Morning Line Favorite

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Updating 2021 Kentucky Derby Odds

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Post Name Odds
1 Known Agenda 13-1
2 Like the King 55-1
3 Brooklyn Strong 43-1
4 Keepmeinmind 50-1
5 Sainthood 42-1
6 O Besos 41-1
7 Mandaloun 31-1
8 Medina Spirit 13-1
9 Hot Rod Charlie 6-1
10 Midnight Bourbon 14-1
11 Dynamic One 43-1
12 Helium 43-1
13 Hidden Stash 38-1
14 Essential Quality 2-1
15 Rock Your World 4-1
16 King Fury SCR
17 Highly Motivated 12-1
18 Super Stock 30-1
19 Soup and Sandwich 26-1
20 Bourbonic 29-1


The 2021 Kentucky Derby will be run on Saturday, May 1 at around 6:45 p.m. ET. We’ll be updating the odds all afternoon leading up to the Run for the Roses.

Remember, horse racing odds are parimutuel, so bettors are wagering against each other and not against any kind of house. So if everyone is on Essential Quality, he’ll end up a much bigger favorite since odds reflect how much money is being bet on each individual horse — there’s no bookmaker to make a personal decision on what the horse should be.

10 a.m. ET update

Essential Quality remains the favorite at 2-1, still unbeaten in his career. The colt, trained by Brad H. Cox, won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall and took the G2 Blue Grass Stakes in early April.

Next on the board is Rock Your World, a lightly raced colt who won the Santa Anita Derby in early April, his only stakes win.

Doug O’Neill’s Hot Rod Charlie is the only other horse with single-digit odds at the moment. The colt has just two wins in seven races, but won the G2 Louisiana Derby in late March, vaulting himself into contention in the Kentucky Derby field.

Hot Rod Charlie’s Beyer Speed Figure in that race was a 99, the second best of any horse in the 2021 Kentucky Derby field behind Rock Your World. The Louisiana Derby hasn’t been as successful of a prep race in recent years, but that being said he just missed in both the Robert B Lewis (head) and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (less than a length).

Highly Motivated is next at 12-1. The Chad Brown trainee is coming in off a second-place finish in the Blue Grass, where he finished a head back of Essential Quality. Not only did that race prove that Highly Motivated could get the distance, but it showed that he belongs with the cream of the crop.

I’m not sure that he will get the lead as he did in the Bluegrass, but the Derby could be the race where Highly Motivated turns the tables on Essential Quality and gets Chad Brown his long overdue first Derby win.

Kentucky Derby Weather

We couldn’t ask for a better day for the Kentucky Derby, with little cloud cover, lots of sunshine, and temperatures getting into the 70s in the mid to late afternoon.

Ranking the Kentucky Derby Horses

Mike Conti ranked all the horses in the Kentucky Derby field, making Rock Your World his selection with Essential Quality and Known Agenda next. He’s throwing out horses 12-18 in this list. You can read his full breakdown of the 2021 Kentucky Derby field here.

  1. No. 15 Rock Your World (5-1)
  2. No. 14 Essential Quality (2-1)
  3. No. 1 Known Agenda (6-1)
  4. No. 17 Highly Motivated (10-1)
  5. No. 9 Hot Rod Charlie (8-1)
  6. No. 7 Mandaloun (15-1)
  7. No. 6 O Besos (20-1)
  8. No. 8 Medina Spirit (15-1)
  9. No. 18 Super Stock (30-1)
  10. No. 13 Hidden Stash (50-1)
  11. No. 5 Sainthood (50-1)
  12. No. 19 Soup and Sandwich (30-1)
  13. No. 11 Dynamic One (20-1)
  14. No. 20 Bourbonic (30-1)
  15. No. 12 Helium (50-1)
  16. No. 4 Keepmeinmind (50-1)
  17. No. 3 Brooklyn Strong (50-1)
  18. No. 2 Like the King (50-1)

More Kentucky Derby Coverage

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