Kentucky Derby Betting -- How Much "Quality" Will We See From the Field?

  • In Charles Jay
  • Sat, May 1st, 2021 3:11:35 pm
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

Essential Quality is the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, which will be contested on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Insights for betting the 147th Kentucky Derby

Essential Quality has broken from the gate five times and five times he has come across the finish line first. And horse racing bettors are impressed enough with what he's done to make him the solid favorite in the Kentucky Derby.

Obviously it is the first leg of the Triple Crown, to be followed by the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. The distance of a mile and a quarter is something that is new to most of the contenders. Post time is 6:57 PM ET, and you'll be able to get a lot in the way of pre-race coverage on NBC.

Below are the odds on the field at BetOnline , where they have two contests that carry with them a $10,000 prize pool - the Kentucky Derby Props Contest and the Kentucky Derby First and Last.

We'll cover the "last" part of that in another story. Let's cover the part that concerns who might come "first."

14 Essential Quality +250
15 Rock Your World +500
1 Known Agenda      +750
17 Highly Motivated +800
9 Hot Rod Charlie     +900
8 Medina Spirit       +1000
7 Mandaloun           +1600
10 Midnight Bourbon +2000
11 Dynamic One     +2200
6 O Besos                +2200
19 Soup and Sandwich +2500
18 Super Stock       +2500
20 Bourbonic          +2800
4 Keepmeinmind    +4000
5 Sainthood            +4000
3 Brooklyn Strong  +5000
12 Helium               +5000
13 Hidden Stash    +5000
2 Like the King      +5000

Greatness was predicted for Essential Quality when he won the Breeders Cup Juvenile last year. And we must mention that there is a bit of a jinx regarding that race. Did you know that only two of its 36 winners have proceeded to win the Derby?

Churchill  DownsThere was a very close call for Brad Cox's colt in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Highly Motivated, who is also in the Derby (and is priced at +800) broke out to the lead and stayed there, with Essential Quality right behind and just to his outside, with fractions that were less than blistering.

Essential Quality was able to catch up and pass down the stretch, but he hardly ran off with anything. Highly Motivated was dead game and right there the whole time, losing by only a neck.

It looked like he had met a real match for him. But could that kind of thing possibly happen again?

Some of the skeptics aren't optimistic about that happening. They point out that the pace was not as swift as might be found in the Derby, with twenty horses looking to find something that could provide an edge. Javier Castellano, in taking Highly Motivated to the lead, was venturing down a different path then usual. The strategy may or may be employed, and may or may not work if it is, but there is a lot of horse under Castellano; he has win under his belt against Known Agenda, the third choice at BetOnline at +750.

We said at the top that most of the horses entered in this race have not yet gone a mile and a quarter. One notable exception to that is Hot Rod Charlie (+900), who won the Louisiana Derby over a game Midnight Bourbon (+2000), who is also competing in the Run For the Roses.

The second choice here is Rock Your World (+500), who did not race as a two-year-old but is a perfect three-for-three. Originally a turf horse, he scored a tremendous wire-to-wire win in the Santa Anita Derby in his first outing on dirt. That could be a scary prospect for Essential Quality.

Todd Pletcher was hoping to revitalize Known Agenda (+750) in his three-year-old season, and that's what happened. Pletcher decided to put blinkers on him and put Irad Ortiz aboard and the result has been a pair of wins. But there is a heavy obstacle to overcome; not since 1986 has a horse won the Kentucky Derby from the #1 post position.

Naturally, there are going to be some longshots to consider. Soup and Sandwich (+2500) has two wins and a second-place finish in the Florida Derby in his three career starts. You can't completely throw him out.

And the same might be said of Bourbonic (+2800), which won the Wood Memorial at a price of 72-1. This is another Pletcher horse, but it is the first Derby start for jockey Kendrick Carmouche.

If you're looking to beat Essential Quality - and that won't be easy - you could do a lot worse than Rock Your World. And wouldn't it be interesting if we saw another nail-biter between the favorite and Highly Motivated? Even if that's not the case, Chad Brown should be able to figure out a way to keep his horse very much in the race.

Don't forget that BetOnline has some amazing things in store for all the Triple Crown races. For the Kentucky Derby, you can get involved with two big contests - there is the $10,000 Kentucky Derby Props Contest, which will challenge you to get ten props correctly. And then there is the $10,000 Kentucky Derby First & Last, which is just what the name implies - pick the first and last place finishers and win a share of the $10,000 prize!

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