We are less than a week away from the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby. The 2021 “Run for the Roses” is set to take place on Saturday, May 1st. The race takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
Coverage for will start at 2:30pm ET on NBC. Post time is set for 7:01pm ET.
With the field officially set and post positions drawn, I’m ready to release my win/place/show predictions.
The official morning line odds, which I will use for this article, are released once the post positions are set. If you aren’t familiar with the morning-line odds, be sure to check out our Kentucky Derby betting guide.
Can’t get to your local sportsbooks to place a bet on the race. You can also wager online. In fact, several sportsbooks release odds to win the race several weeks in advance.
Expert Handicapper Prediction on Winner of 2021 Kentucky Derby
Win: Essential Quality (2/1)
I will take odds on favorite Essential Quality to win the 2021 Kentucky Derby. While the betting favorite has failed to deliver each of the last two years, the horse with the best odds won this race every year from 2013 to 2018. Note that the 2019 odds on favorite, Omaha Beach was a last minute scratch. Last year favorite Tiz the Law came in 2nd to 8-1 top contender Authentic.
Aside from being the oddsmakers pick to win, there’s a lot to like about Essential Quality. He’s made 5 starts and won all 5. He will have a chance here to become the 10th horse to win the Derby with an undefeated record.
I also like that jockey Luis Saez will be on the ride Saturday. Saez has quite the chip on his shoulder in this race after his 2019 win on Maximum Security was taken away from him after the horse was disqualified.
Place: Rock Your World (5/1)
I’m taking another top contender to finish 2nd in Rock Your World. If I had to take any horse other than Essential Quality it would be Rock Your World no question.
I don’t know if people are sleeping on this horse a little because he hasn’t run as much as some of the others in the field, but there’s a lot to like. He’s won his last 3 starts, most recently taking the top spot at the Santa Anita Derby. Big thing to note with that win at the Santa Anita Derby is Rock Your World won with a 102 Brisnet Speed rating. Tied for the top mark in the last-out figures.
He’s got a jockey who knows how to win this race in Joel Rosario (won in 2013 on Orb) and has a solid pedigree. Rock Your World is the son of Candy Ride, who never lost a race in six starts.
Show: Super Stock (30/1)
I’m going to go away from the chalk and take a long shot to finish 3rd, as I like what I see out of Super Stock, who is currently listed at 30/1 to win. This horse certainly has experience, as he’s already made 8 starts. He’s finished 3rd or better in 4 of his last 5 starts, including a shocking win at the Arkansas Derby in his start.
I know he really didn’t threaten Essential Quality when the two raced at the Breeder’s Futurity G1 last October, but he did close strong in that race for a 3rd place finish. I think Super Stock is in even better form going into Churchill Downs and there’s a chance he could surprise and win this whole thing.