Essential Quality is the 2-1 morning line favorite to win Saturday’s Kentucky Derby which can be seen on NBC. Essential Quality is unbeaten in five starts and has been extremely impressive, but he will have to buck some history to win. No gray horse has won the Derby since Giacomo in 2005 and only eight grays have won the race since 1930. Three other horses are listed at single-digit Kentucky Derby odds. They are Rock Your World at 5-1, Known Agenda at 6-1 and Hot Rod Charlie at 8-1. Saturday’s Kentucky Derby on NBC has a post time of 6:57 p.m. Eastern Time. Let’s look at Kentucky Derby odds and Kentucky Derby picks.
2021 Kentucky Derby Odds
Post, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, Morning-line odds
1. Known Agenda, Todd Pletcher, Irad Ortiz Jr., 6-1
2. Like the King, Wesley Ward, Drayden Van Dyke, 50-1
3. Brooklyn Strong, Daniel Velazquez, Umberto Rispoli, 50-1
4. Keepmeinmind, Robertino Diodoro, David Cohen, 50-1
5. Sainthood, Todd Pletcher, Corey Lanerie, 50-1
6. O Besos, Greg Foley, Marcelino Pedroza, 20-1
7. Mandaloun, Brad Cox, Florent Geroux, 15-1
8. Medina Spirit, Bob Baffert, John Velazquez, 15-1
9. Hot Rod Charlie, Doug O'Neill, Flavien Prat, 8-1
10. Midnight Bourbon, Steve Asmussen, Mike Smith, 20-1
11. Dynamic One, Todd Pletcher, Jose Ortiz, 20-1
12. Helium, Mark Casse, Julien Leparoux, 50-1
13. Hidden Stash, Vicki Oliver, Rafael Bejarano, 50-1
14. Essential Quality, Brad Cox, Luis Saez, 2-1
15. Rock Your World, John Sadler, Joel Rosario, 5-1
16. King Fury, Kenny McPeek, Brian Hernandez Jr., 20-1
17. Highly Motivated, Chad Brown, Javier Castellano, 10-1
18. Super Stock, Steve Asmussen, Ricardo Santana Jr., 30-1
19. Soup and Sandwich, Mark Casse, Tyler Gaffalione, 30-1
20. Bourbonic, Todd Pletcher, Kendrick Carmouche, 30-1
Essential Quality is going to be the Kentucky Derby favorite. He is 2-1 on the morning line in Kentucky Derby odds and there is no reason to believe he won’t go off at odds of 2-1 or lower. News has come out that James McIngvale, known as Mattress Mack, is planning to bet at least $2 million on Saturday’s Derby favorite and perhaps as much as $4 million. And yes, that means the odds for Essential Quality will be lower than they should be.
Essential Quality is unbeaten and looked good in winning the Blue Grass, but he should not be an overwhelming favorite. The Kentucky Derby has a 20-horse field and anything can happen. It should also be noted that Highly Motivated only lost to Essential Quality by a neck in the Blue Grass. Essential Quality should be favored, but there is no value on him at odds of 2-1 or less.
The three horses expected to challenge Essential Quality are Rock Your World, Known Agenda and Hot Rod Charlie. Rock Your World looked great in winning the Santa Anita Derby, but there are concerns about him stretching out to a mile and a quarter. The horse didn’t race as a two-year old and that used to be the kiss of death in the Derby, but Justify broke that curse in 2018.
Known Agenda is trained by Todd Pletcher and he looked good in winning the Florida Derby. He is the son of Curlin and he should continue to improve.
Hot Rod Charlie had no trouble in winning the Louisiana Derby and he is trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by Flavien Prat.
Kentucky Derby Picks
There is no question that Essential Quality is a very good horse and with a good trip he will be tough to beat, but I still don’t see enough value in backing him at such low odds. I think the better choice is to take Highly Motivated at odds of 10-1. He nearly beat Essential Quality in the Blue Grass so we know he can be right there at the wire. I also think King Fury could be a factor, as he has looked great in recent workouts at Churchill Downs, so I will take him at odds of 20-1. I will also play a trifecta box with Essential Quality, Highly Motivated, King Fury, Dynamic One and Known Agenda.
Check out the latest Kentucky Derby odds at BookMaker.eu.