The Kentucky Derby is coming up on Saturday, May 1 at Churchill Downs, and you can find your free Kentucky Derby picks right here! It is the biggest race of the year: 20 of the best three-year-olds in the United States will run for a $3 million purse, an iconic garland of roses, and a place in horse racing immortality.
Though no New York-bred horses are expected to run in the Kentucky Derby this year, perennial leading New York trainer Todd Pletcher is expected to run several live horses in the race and has a fantastic chance to win his third Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Derby 2021 Field
The expected field for the 2021 Kentucky Derby with jockeys and trainers, in order of preference, is:
- Essential Quality: Brad Cox/Luis Saez
- Hot Rod Charlie: Doug O’Neill/Flavien Prat
- Super Stock: Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana, Jr.
- Like the King: Wesley Ward/Drayden Van Dyke
- Known Agenda: Todd Pletcher/Irad Ortiz, Jr.
- Rock Your World: John Sadler/Joel Rosario
- Bourbonic: Todd Pletcher/Kendrick Carmouche
- Medina Spirit: Bob Baffert/John Velazquez
- Midnight Bourbon: Steve Asmussen/Mike Smith
- Mandaloun: Brad Cox/Florent Geroux
- Highly Motivated: Chad Brown/Javier Castellano
- Helium: Mark Casse/Julien Leparoux
- Soup and Sandwich: Mark Casse/Tyler Gaffalione
- Dynamic One: Todd Pletcher/Jose Ortiz
- Sainthood: Todd Pletcher/Jockey TBA
- Hidden Stash: Vicki Oliver/Rafael Bejarano
- O Besos: Greg Foley/Marcelino Pedroza
- Get Her Number: Peter Miller/Jockey TBA
- King Fury: Ken McPeek/Brian Hernandez
- Keepmeinmind: Robertino Diodoro/David Cohen
The final field will be drawn on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. On that date, you will know post positions and official United States morning lines.
Kentucky Derby Handicapping
The likely 2021 Kentucky Derby favorite is undefeated Essential Quality. He was last year’s two-year-old champion. The versatile grey went on to win his two Kentucky Derby preps this year, including a game victory in the Blue Grass at Keeneland. His trainer Brad Cox has not started a Kentucky Derby horse before but has won many rich races.
The main candidate to topple the champ is Known Agenda, trained by successful New York trainer Todd Pletcher. He took a little longer to come into his own than some of the Derby contenders but has won his last two races with authority, including the Florida Derby. He will benefit from a sharp early pace and is bred well for the 1 1/4-mile Derby distance.
Hot Rod Charlie won the Louisiana Derby. Trained by two-time Kentucky Derby winner Doug O’Neill, he is a well-traveled horse that keeps running to his company. However, the Louisiana Derby winner rarely wins in Kentucky, so a short price is not exciting.
Rock Your World tried dirt for the first time in the Santa Anita Derby. He won with authority, but will probably have more company on the lead in the Kentucky Derby. Super Stock won the Arkansas Derby, which is often a live prep, though this year’s Arkansas Derby was weaker than usual and his trainer Steve Asmussen is 0-for-22 in the Run for the Roses.
Expert Kentucky Derby Predictions
The best bet in the 2021 Kentucky Derby is Known Agenda. He is getting good at the right time, can get the right trip, and should thrive at the distance. Essential Quality is also consistent, versatile, and a must-use in your tickets. Alongside those two more formful horses, prepare for the score of your life by playing some live longshots around them.
Kentucky Derby Longshot Picks
Here are a few longshots to consider when betting the Kentucky Derby. You can play them to place or show, and you should use them in exotic wagers alongside Known Agenda and Essential Quality.
King Fury returned from a winter layoff to win the Lexington Stakes. For a trainer, Ken McPeek, who usually doesn’t have horses fully cranked first off a lay? That makes a statement. He is well-bred to stretch out to the Derby distance and should be running on well in the lane. Furthermore, he is already a stakes winner at Churchill.
Helium has only raced three times, but he has shown a different running style each time. This means he should be versatile enough to make a good trip in a 20-horse Kentucky Derby. He won the Tampa Bay Derby in gutsy fashion and he has some good pedigree to stretch out to the Derby distance.
Midnight Bourbon ran in the top three in all three prep races in Louisiana, so he has been consistent this year. He will be forward, but he doesn’t have to make the top, and he has proven that he can keep battling on even when things get hotly contested on the front end.
Dynamic One is another Derby horse for top New York-based trainer Todd Pletcher. He finished second in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, behind stablemate Bourbonic. But, he should get the jump on that foe and the other deep closers in Kentucky, something that always helps at Churchill Downs. He is also bred well to stretch out.
Free Kentucky Derby Picks
You can bet these free expert Kentucky Derby picks. When you do, make sure to bet the Kentucky Derby online at one of the top sportsbooks, like Bovada.
- $50 Win: Known Agenda
- $10 Win/Place/Show: King Fury, Helium
- $5 Exacta Key: Known Agenda with Essential Quality, King Fury, Helium
- $1 Trifecta Key: Known Agenda with Essential Quality, King Fury, Helium, Midnight Bourbon
- $1 Superfecta Key: Known Agenda with Essential Quality, King Fury, Helium, Midnight Bourbon, Dynamic One
Kentucky Derby Pick 6
There will be 13 stakes races at Churchill Downs on Friday, April 30, and Saturday, May 1. The Kentucky Derby Pick 6 always includes six rich stakes races, and always ends with the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic and the $3 million Kentucky Derby.
There is also an Oaks Day/Derby Day Pick 6 that features three stakes races on Friday including the Kentucky Oaks, and then three stakes races on Saturday including the Kentucky Derby. That bet has a $2 minimum and is separate from the regular $0.20 Pick 6 that will be offered both Friday and Saturday.