Your Hot Picks for the Kentucky Derby

By  //  April 28, 2021

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May gets off to a great start for horse racing fans. Saturday, May 1, sees the Kentucky Derby take place. This is one of the biggest events on the US horse racing calendar, but who’s going to win? 

Let’s take a look at the leading contenders and what to look for when making your selection.

Essential Quality

The current favorite for the race is Essential Quality, trained by Brad H Fox. This three-year-old made his on-track debut last September and goes off like a rocket. Since then, five races out of five have been won. It’s always important to look at the standard of the races an unbeaten horse has had. Similar really to examine the record of an unbeaten boxer.

There are no concerns at all about the quality of race Essential Quality has been facing. Last year saw this runner win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, winning $1 million. Two races this year have seen wins in Grade 3 and Grade 2. 

You can’t just enter this race; there is a Road to Kentucky Cup leaderboard that determines those who can participate. It’s a great idea as it gets people’s minds on the big race months before it takes place.  Essential Quality is top of that leaderboard with 30 points more than any other contender. He’s a worthy favorite for this race.

If you want to read even more about the Kentucky Derby, then has a great deal of information about the race and tips on how to pick a winner. Be sure to research any sportsbooks you sign up with to make sure they are licensed. And don’t forget to claim a welcome bonus so that you can make your betting funds go a little further.

Hot Rod Charlie

The second horse on that leaderboard is Hot Rod Charlie, and he will put up a big fight in the Kentucky Derby. He only lost by three-quarters of a length to Essential Quality in that Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. That was an unexpectedly good performance as Hot Rod Charlie went off at odds of 100/1 and was leading until being overtaken 100 yards from home.

You might think horses at that large a price has no chance of winning. However, horses like humans can improve, and suddenly everything can come right. A good day at the office may well be just around the corner.

This runner was initially trained by Doug O’Neill but is now looked after by Leandro Mora. He’s had one run since the change of trainer, and it was a winning one.  Taking note of who the trainer is can help get you winners. The Grade 2 Louisiana Derby was won at the end of March by two lengths from Midnight Bourbon. Has he improved enough to turn the tables on Essential Quality, though?

Rock Your World

Here’s another contender that should run a big race on Saturday. He is trained by John Sadler. Rock Your World didn’t run as a two-year-old, only making his debut in February of this year. Three races have been run, and all have ended in victory. 

The third of those wins was in the Santa Anita Derby held on April 4. Rock Your World made all to win that race. Will he be allowed to be a frontrunner in this race? His jockey is Joel Rosario, who rode the winner of this race in 2013.

Medina Spirit

Second in that Santa Anita Derby was Medina Spirit four and a half lengths behind. That horse is also in this race. Always look at the form book to get a good idea of how races will be run. That’s a big distance for Medina Spirit to make up if wanting to win the Kentucky Derby. Medina Spirit is a consistent sort, though, never finishing out of the top two. He went off the favorite in the Santa Anita Derby. Perhaps it was a bad day at the office? Remember, it’s not all about betting on who will win a race. An each-way bet on Medina Spirit could well be a winning one.

Super Stock

This runner comes into this race fresh from winning the Arkansas Derby on April 11. That was another example of a horse suddenly finding form. Before that Grade 1 win, Super Stock (trained by Steven Asmussen) had never won a race and was a 122/10 winner of the Arkansas Derby. His previous race had seen only a fourth-place finish. 

However, he’d been off the track for 139 days, so he was a lot fitter for his next race. Look at how long it has been since a horse has run and if they have a record of winning when fresh. Then again, a horse may have been having too many races and needs a rest.

So that’s the big names to look out for at the Kentucky Derby. If you’re backing one of them, good luck.