Kentucky Derby odds, expert picks 2021: Essential Quality, Known Agenda, Rock Your World predictions

Bob Baffert is already in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, and this year, two of his Kentucky Derby contemporaries will hope to join him with Todd Pletcher and Doug O’Neill both listed as finalists. The trio will all try to make another trip to the winner’s circle on Saturday in the 2021 Kentucky Derby, with Baffert entering with six wins, while O’Neill and Pletcher have both won twice. Medina Spirit is Baffert’s lone entry this season and a 15-1 long shot in the current 2021 Kentucky Derby odds.

However, O’Neill and Pletcher both have bigger favorites to work with as they try to become just the seventh trainer in history to win the Kentucky Derby three times. O’Neill has Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie (8-1), while Pletcher has four horses in the 2021 Kentucky Derby field, led by Florida Derby winner Known Agenda (6-1). With so much to consider, you’ll want to see what SportsLine’s Jody Demling has to say before entering any 2021 Kentucky Derby picks and predictions of your own.

A fixture in the horse racing world who has been writing about, talking about and betting on races for years, Demling enters the 2021 Kentucky Derby after a major heater in 2020: At one point last year, he picked the winners of six straight races: the Saudi Cup, Gotham Stakes, Rebel Stakes, Louisiana Derby, Florida Derby and Belmont Stakes.

This is the same handicapper who hit the Derby-Oaks double at Churchill Downs nine times in the last 12 years. That means he held a ticket with the winners of both the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby all but three times in his last 12 tries.

He opened last season’s Triple Crown schedule on a heater too. At last year’s Belmont, Demling said Tiz the Law was clearly the class of the field, and Barclay Tagg’s horse pulled away for a convincing 3 3/4-length victory. Anyone who has followed him is up huge.

Now, with the 2021 Kentucky Derby lineup set, Demling is sharing his picks and predictions at SportsLine. Go here to see them.

Top 2021 Kentucky Derby predictions

One shocker: Demling is fading Known Agenda, even though he is one of the top favorites. In fact, Demling says Known Agenda doesn’t even hit the board. The Florida Derby winner has looked transformed after trainer Todd Pletcher made the decision to put blinkers on him, winning his last two starts after disappointing runs in the Remsen Stakes and Sam F. Davis Stakes.

However, Known Agenda drew the rail for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby 2021, and it’s not a stylistic fit for a horse that wants to stalk the pace and close from the outside, just as he did at Gulfstream Park. Pletcher was clearly displeased with Known Agenda’s 2021 Kentucky Derby post draw, and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. will have his work cut out managing Known Agenda’s pace and positioning from the inside.

Demling has locked in his 2021 Kentucky Derby picks for Rock Your World, who is the second favorite at 5-1. After breaking his maiden in a six-furlong run on turf at Santa Anita and winning the Pasadena Stakes in February on grass, Rock Your World made his dirt debut in the 2021 Santa Anita Derby and dazzled with a convincing 4 3/4-length win over Medina Spirit and a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 in the victory.

However, this will be his first time leaving California, and an inexperienced horse and trainer with minimal Derby success might make that 5-1 price tag look a little daunting. John Sadler has only had four horses make the Kentucky Derby lineup, and his best finish was with Corby, who rode sixth in 1993. Joel Rosario will have to be the steadying presence as a former Kentucky Derby winner on Orb in 2013.

Essential Quality is guided by reigning Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer winner Brad Cox, who grew up just a few blocks from the back gate at Churchill Downs. The son of Tapit by Delightful Quality also broke his maiden at Churchill Downs before winning three graded stakes races at Keeneland and another at Oaklawn Park.

A horse hasn’t won from the No. 14 post since 1961, which is enough to cause concern considering the 2-1 price that Essential Quality is currently fetching in the Kentucky Derby odds 2021. In his last run at Keeneland, jockey Luis Saez had to dig deep to find an extra gear as Essential Quality was challenged by Highly Motivated in a thrilling dash to the finish.

How to make 2021 Kentucky Derby picks, bets

Demling has projected exactly where Essential Quality and Rock Your World will finish in his 2021 Kentucky Derby leaderboard. He is also high on a double-digit long shot who “has looked amazing” while training. Before you make any Kentucky Derby 2021 picks, be sure to see who it is exclusively over at SportsLine.

Which horse wins the Kentucky Derby 2021? And which double-digit long shot should you bet now? Check out the latest 2021 Kentucky Derby odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Demling’s picks for the Kentucky Derby.

2021 Kentucky Derby odds, post positions

Program # Horse Odds
1 Known Agenda 6-1
2 Like the King 50-1
3 Brooklyn Strong 50-1
4 Keepmeinmind 50-1
5 Sainthood 50-1
6 O Besos 20-1
7 Mandaloun 15-1
8 Medina Spirit 15-1
9 Hot Rod Charlie 8-1
10 Midnight Bourbon 20-1
11 Dynamic One 20-1
12 Helium 50-1
13 Hidden Stash 50-1
14 Essential Quality 2-1
15 Rock Your World 5-1
16 King Fury 20-1
17 Highly Motivated 10-1
18 Super Stock 30-1
19 Soup and Sandwich 30-1
20 Bourbonic 30-1

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