Kentucky Derby Betting Odds 2021

Posted by Elliot Nield . Last updated:

The Kentucky Derby is the first race in horse racing’s Triple Crown, and the biggest race of the trio, which includes the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. The 2021 race will be the 147th edition of the “Run for the Roses”, and it will be back in its regular spot on the calendar on the first Saturday of May. The 2020 edition was run in September due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kentucky Derby 2021 Odds

Horse Kentucky Derby Odds Trainer
Essential Quality +325 Brad Cox
Rock Your World +450 John Sadler
Known Agenda +600 Todd Pletcher
Hot Rod Charlie +900 Doug O’Neill
Highly Motivated +1100 Chad Brown
Medina Spirit +1200 Bob Baffert
Mandaloun +2000 Brad Cox
Super Stock +2000 Steve Asmussen
Midnight Bourbon +2500 Steve Asmussen
Soup and Sandwich +2500 Mark Casse
O Besos +2800 Gregory Foley
Helium +4000 Mark Casse
Sainthood +4000 Todd Pletcher
Dynamic One +4500 Todd Pletcher
Bourbonic +6000 Todd Pletcher
Like The King +6000 Wesley Ward
Caddo River +7000 Brad Cox
Hidden Stash +7000 Victoria Oliver
Dream Shake +7500 Peter Eurton
Get Her Number +7500 Peter Miller

All Kentucky Derby betting odds courtesy of Bovada.

Top Kentucky Derby Betting Site

Top Horses By Kentucky Derby Odds

Essential Quality

Essential Quality


Essential Quality won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as a two-year-old, and has stayed on track in 2021 by winning both starts in graded-stakes races. Trainer Brad Cox didn’t seem to have any plans to run Essential Quality before the Kentucky Derby, but he decided to enter the Grade-2 Blue Grass Stakes and won. It’ll be a surprise if any other horse goes into Churchill Downs as the horse racing favorite.

Rocky Your World

Rocky Your World


Rock Your World remained undefeated with a win at the Grade-1 Santa Anita Derby, holding off Medina Spirit and Dream Shake. It was the third win in three races for Rock Your World, which is trained by John Sadler. It was an impressive performance for his first race on dirt, which is what the horses run on at Churchill Downs.

Known Agenda

Known Agenda


Known Agenda is sired by Curlin’, which finished third at the 2007 Kentucky Derby, then won the Preakness Stakes and finished second at the Belmont Stakes. He then  won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2007, and then went on to win the Dubai World Cup and another Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2008, retiring after finishing fourth at the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Known Agenda jumps into the mix after a win at the Grade-1 Florida Derby, and while the start to his racing career has been up and down, the performance at Gulfstream Park should earn him some attention.

Hot Rod Charlie

Hot Rod Charlie


Hot Rod Charlie finished second to Essential Quality at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last November, then finished third at the Grade-3 Robert B. Lewis before winning the Grade-2 Louisiana Derby. His sire, Oxbow, finished sixth behind Orb at the 2013 Kentucky Derby. However, he also won the Preakness Stakes and finished second at the Belmont Stakes, so Hot Rod Charlie is probably one to watch for those races as well.

He is trained by Doug O’Neill, a two-time winner of the Kentucky Derby in 2012 and 2016.

Highly Motivated

Highly Motivated


Highly Motivated finished second at the Grade-2 Blue Grass Stakes to Essential Quality, fading a little down the stretch, but it was still a strong showing. Trainer Chad Brown has to be impressed with how Highly Motivated stayed with Essential Quality for most of the race, but he needs to go a little farther to challenge at Churchill Downs.

Medina Spirit

Medina Spirit


Medina Spirit finished behind Rock Your World at the Grade-1 Santa Anita Derby, and he has now finished first or second in each of his five starts. He might be trainer Bob Baffert’s best chance at a record-breaking seventh Kentucky Derby win.

Kentucky Derby Race Details

a green calendar with a clock on the open page

The 147th Kentucky Derby will be shown on Saturday, May 1st, 2021. You can watch it on NBCSN from 12:00 PM ET to 2:30 PM ET.

a stopwatch showing time

NBC will pick up the action from 2:30 to the very end of the race, which is scheduled for 7:30 PM ET. The post time and positions have yet to be announced.

Green icon showing outline of a racing horse's head with bridle and reins

As always, the Kentucky Derby is only for horses that are three years old (colts, geldings and fillies are all allowed). It will be run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It is a 1 ¼ mile race (10 furlongs or two kilometers) as horses and jockeys navigate the left-handed turns at Churchill Downs. The purse is a staggering $3 million USD, with $1.86 million going to the winners.

Last 10 Kentucky Derby Winners

Year Horse Post Position Jockey Trainer Time Odds $2 Win
2020 Authentic 18 John Velasquez Bob Baffert 2:00.61 +800 $18.80
2019 Country House 20 Flavien Prat William I. Mott 2:03.98 +3000 $132.40
2018 Justify 7 Mike E. Smith Bob Baffert 2:04.20 +300 $7.80
2017 Always Dreaming 5 John Velasquez Todd Pletcher 2:03.59 +500 $11.40
2016 Nyquist 13 Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill 2:01.31 +300 $6.60
2015 American Pharoah 18 Victor Espinoza Bob Baffert 2:03.02 +250 $7.80
2014 California Chrome 5 Victor Espinoza Art Sherman 2:03.66 +250 $7.00
2013 Orb 16 Joel Rosario Shug McGaughey III 2:02.89 +350 $12.80
2012 I’ll Have Another 19 Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill 2:01.83 +1200 $32.60
2011 Animal Kingdom 16 John Velasquez H. Graham Motion 2:02.45 +3000 $43.80

Kentucky Derby Traditions

The Kentucky Derby might be more known for their traditions than for the actual racing. From its date, which is always on the first Saturday of May, down to the roses draped over the winning horse, the Kentucky Derby is steeped in traditions. Here are the most important traditions at the Kentucky Derby.

A sash showing the Kentucky Oaks logo

Kentucky Oaks

The Kentucky Oaks is a three-year-old race exclusively for fillies, and it is run the day before the Kentucky Derby. It is called the “Lillies for the Fillies” as the winner is draped with a garland of fillies. The best-known winner of the Kentucky Oaks is Rachel Alexandra, which won in 2009, and then went on to win the Preakness Stakes.

Someone holding up a mint julep

Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is a cocktail that consists of bourbon, fresh mint, ice and simple syrup. It has been associated with the Kentucky Derby since 1938.

Secretariat draped with roses

The Roses

The winner of the Kentucky Derby has been adorned with a garland of roses since 1883, 554 red roses, to be exact. Hence the nickname for the Kentucky Derby, “The Run for the Roses”.

A unique hat at the Kentucky Derby

The Hats

The Kentucky Derby has long been associated with large hats, and the VIPs that attend the race always make sure they’re dressed to the nines. The hat is the key to the entire outfit.

The Twin Spires at Churchill Downs

The Twin Spires

The Twin Spires were created in 1895 to give Churchill Downs something that made it stand out. You can’t miss them as they stand atop Churchill Downs.

Stephen Foster poses for a picture

"My Old Kentucky Home"

“My Old Kentucky Home” was written by Stephen Foster in 1852. It is sung at the beginning of the Kentucky Derby.

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