The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 1 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. We are just a few days away from the big race.
For everything that you need to know about betting this race, check out my Kentucky Derby Betting Guide. I’ll also have my win/place/show picks posted shortly in my Kentucky Derby Predictions article.
Ever wonder how much money is bet on the Derby? You might be surprised by how much action this event brings in. Find out how much cash is wagered in my year-by-year betting totals article.
Look at the Vegas Odds to Win the 2021 Kentucky Derby
Before we get into the odds, I want take a second to just talk about how this race has been trending. For the longest time there was a huge amount of unpredictability in this race.
The betting favorite has won 18 of the last 54, which is a win rate of 33.3%. However, prior to 2013 the win rate was sitting at 26.1%. Tough the betting favorite has failed to win each of the last two years, the favorite has still won six of the last eight Kentucky Derby’s.
Has the most famous horse racing event of the year lost its unpredictability? Maybe. The run of favorites dominating this race coincided with the change in how the field was determined.
Previously the 20 spots went to the horses who had the most winnings in graded stakes races. Starting in 2013, the field was based on a new points system, where points were awarded based on a horses performance in select races.
The theory is that the new points system does a much better job of getting the best horses in the field for the 1 1/4 mile track. Prior to the points system, horses who excelled at sprints (races less than 1 mile) were qualifying for the Derby.
These horses, who had zero chance of winning a race of this length, would go out and set ridiculous paces. Your top horses (betting favorites) would end up trying to keep up with these sprinters and would run out of gas, which allowed some of your long shots to win.
2021 Top Contenders
|Rock Your World||5/1|
|Hot Rod Charlie||8/1|
According to the oddsmakers, the horse to beat at the 2021 Kentucky Derby is Essential Quality, who is currently being priced at 2/1. Easy to see why Essential Quality is the favorite. He’s won all five of his starts. He has a chance to become the 10th horse to enter the Derby undefeated and leave with a victory.
The two biggest threats to Essential Quality are Rock Your World (5/1) and Known Agenda (6/1). You could definitely make a case for either of these horses to finish on top.
Two other serious contenders that could win this race are Hot Rod Charlie (8/1) and Highly Motivated (10/1).
There’s a decent sized gap before we get to next tier of horses. You got Highly Motivated, Mandaloun and Medina Spirit all listed at 15/1 with Midnight Bourbon, O Besos, Dynamic One and King Fury at 20/1.
I think this new points system clearly works at identifying the best horses. That’s not to say I would blindly bet the favorite. I just think that the winner of this race is going to come out of the table above.
Rest of the Field
|Soup and Sandwich||30/1|
|Like The King||50/1|