Horse Racing Betting: 2021 Kentucky Derby Preview

Posted by Derrick Harper on April 14, 2021 in

The 147th Kentucky Derby is slated for Saturday, May 1, at the historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Last year’s race got postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, that did not stop Bob Baffert from winning his sixth Kentucky Derby with Authentic.

Fans were not allowed to attend the 2020 Kentucky Derby, which made the atmosphere a bit weird. That, however, will not be the case on May 1, at least according to the organizers who stated this year’s race would allow for spectators in the grandstands.

As one of the biggest horse racing events on the calendar year, the Kentucky Derby won’t leave any horse racing fans indifferent. The so-called “The Fastest Two Minutes In Sports” not only provides us with one of the most exciting races of the year but also plenty of betting opportunities, which we will explore in this Kentucky Derby betting preview. Let’s jump right into action so you can start planning your bets and place them against their Kentucky Derby odds.

2021 Kentucky Derby Betting Preview – Horse Racing Odds

The Favourite: Essential Quality / Odds: +275

It’s hard not to like Essential Quality, who seems to be in top form with a four-for-four record. He has already won two Grade 1 races – including the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity and is coming to Kentucky Derby off a win in the Southwest Stakes in late February.

Essential Quality might be one of the most in-form horses at the track, but at this price, you can’t really make a strong case for him. That is mainly because it seems like he might be peaking a bit too early and the fact that there are more than a few horses on the track that can challenge him.

Contender: Concert Tour / Odds: +700

Concert Tour was priced as the main favorite to win the Kentucky Derby not too long ago but has since seen his odds rise to +700. Trained by six-time Derby winner Bob Baffert, Concert Tour comes off as a very solid pick, especially considering that he has won all three of his races this year.

The main talking point about the Concert Tour is not the horse itself, but Baffert, who clearly knows what he needs to do to produce champions. And it wouldn’t be too far from the truth if we were to say he is going to have Concert Tour in top form at the right time.

Contender: Highly Motivated / Odds: +1000

Priced at +1000, Highly Motivated looked very good coming into last weekend’s Blue Grass Stakes and pushed the main favorite Essential Quality to his limits en route to finishing second. Although Highly Motivated got outclassed by Essential Quality that day, the fact that he managed to look so competitive makes him an appealing pick at this price.

Contender: Bourbonic / Odds: +1200

There are some arguments to be made for Bourbonic since he is a fast horse and has looked good at Wood Memorial, which he won as a massive underdog. That said, the Todd Pletcher horse won that race with a very slow time (1:54.49), which suggests he is not in the best form.

On a more positive note, Bourbonic has the perfect style to win the Kentucky Derby, but we aren’t sure whether he is good enough to compete against a field that is as solid and large as this year. There are better picks at this price.

Longshot: Rombauer / Odds: +4000

Rombauer finished third in the Blue Grass, where he lost by just under six lengths to Essential Quality and was just over five lengths behind the runner-up Highly Motivated. Even though that result might not seem too convincing, Rombauer ran well.

By the half-mile, he ran only 1.5 lengths behind Highly Motivated and looked poised to finish in a good position but was unable to keep up with the leading pair. Regardless, Rombauer has managed to keep Hidden Stash and Keepmeinmind at bay in the stretch to secure a comfortable third-place finish with 4 and 10 lengths to spare, respectively.

Although the Kentucky Derby favors fast horses, there is definitely room for closers to leave their mark – as seen with Mr. Big News in 2020 and Country House in 2019. As long as Rombauer manages to show a bit more speed, he should be in a position to compete for at least a top-three finish.