Horse racing fans will be glue to their screens this weekend as the first leg of the Triple Crown takes place in Louisville. The Grade I Stakes Kentucky Derby will be run at Churchill Downs featuring the best 3-year-olds competing for a $3 million purse.
Alongside the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, the Kentucky Derby is one of the three biggest races over the course of the season and it is the traditional finale to the Kentucky Derby Festival, which takes place over the two weeks prior.
Run over one and a quarter miles (2km), the race is self-styled as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports”. Last year, John Velazquez rode the Bob Baffert trained Authentic to victory in the delayed race, which took place in September due to the pandemic.
It was Velazquez’s third win in the race following on from wins on Always Dreaming in 2017 and Animal Kingdom in 2011.
Only one horse has ever completed the race in under two minutes, that was the 1973 winner Secretariat, who finished in 1.59.4.
So why not pour yourself a mint julep, grab your bowl of burgoo and take a look ahead to this years race!
Kentucky Derby 2021 Race Preview
The 20-strong field for the Kentucky Derby has been set and there is one clear favorite in the race at the moment, which is Essential Quality. Owned by Godolphin and ridden by Luis Saez, the horse is unbeaten as yet and won the 2021 Southwest Stakes, as well as the Breeders Cup Juvenile race in Keeneland in 2020.
The striking grey colt will be easy to pick out from the field of thoroughbreds which is listed below in full.
2021 Kentucky Derby Runners
- Known Agenda – 6/1
- Like The King – 50/1
- Brooklyn Strong – 50/1
- Keepmeinmind – 50/1
- Sainthood – 50/1
- O Besos – 20/1
- Mandaloun – 15/1
- Medina Spirit – 15/1
- Hot Rod Charlie – 8/1
- Midnight Bourbon – 20/1
- Dynamic One – 20/1
- Helium – 50/1
- Hidden Stash – 50/1
- Essential Quality – 2/1
- Rock Your World – 5/1
- King Fury – 20/1
- Highly Motivated – 10/1
- Super Stock – 30/1
- Soup and Sandwich – 30/1
- Bourbonic – 30/1
After an impressive performance in winning the RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby, Rock Your World looks like being one of Essential Quality’s main rivals for the race. The Dark Bay Colt will be well supported by those in Louisville as he was born in Kentucky. Joel Rosario will ride the John W. Sadler trained 3-year-old which will certainly draw on plenty of local support in the race.
Another potential rival is the Chestnut colt Known Agenda. After finishing third in the Remsen Stakes in December 2020, the horse then disappointed at Tampa Bay Downs when finishing 5th in the Sam F. Davis Stakes. However a few weeks later, at Gulfstream Park, a much improved run saw Known Agenda win the Curlin Florida Derby. Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride the Todd A. Pletcher trained horse for the St. Elias Stable.
Heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury is believed to be ready to back one of the outsiders in the race, the aptly named King Fury. The horse won last time out in the Stonestreet Lexington Stakes at Keeneland and has won twice before at Churchill Downs in the Street Sense Overnight Stakes in October 2020 and the Maiden Special Weight in September 2020.
Who To Back For The Race?
In truth, this does lok like it is Essential Quality’s race to lose, but Rock Your World, Known Agenda and perhaps Hot Rod Charlie should run him close. A solid longer odds option that should run well is Highly Motivated.
For me though, Essential Quality is the class act of the field.