The 147th run for the roses is now upon us. Immortality awaits the winner of this mile and a quarter drive over the Churchill Downs dirt. Which three year old will etch his name in the record books? Let’s take a look at the entrants and get a thought on each. We know you can pick your friends and we know you can pick your clothes…but can you pick the winner of the Kentucky Derby???
Essential Quality- Unbeaten Juvenile champion has done everything right and has lived up to his moniker to this point. Brad Cox trainee is a very deserving favorite and certainly is the one to beat.
Hot Rod Charlie-Louisiana Derby champ ran second to Essential Quality in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at odds of 94-1. Has raced seven times at four different tracks for trainer Doug O’Neill and seems to be peaking at right time. Our top pick to get the checkered flag here.
Super Stock- Upset winner of the Arkansas Derby and has some sentimental value as Churchill’s all-time leader in training wins Steve Asmussen saddles him for owner and father Keith. Asmussen has never won the Derby and it will take a big run from this son of Dialed In to make it happen in 2021
Like The King-Jeff Ruby Steaks winner has a lot to prove if he hopes to wear the Derby crown. Trained by Wesley Ward, this son of Belmont Stakes champ Palace Malice has finished in the money in all six career starts with three wins.
Known Agenda- Florida Derby winner and a son of Curlin, this Todd Pletcher trainee has two wins in three starts this year. Tactical speed gives him a chance to put a trip to the winner’s circle on the Agenda for owner St Elias Stables.
Rock Your World- Unbeaten in three lifetime starts, this son of Candy Ride has started only once on dirt but it was a jaw-dropping romp in the Santa Anita Derby. Trainer John Sadler has sent four others to the gates on the first Saturday in May, but this may be his best yet. If he gets loose on the lead he might just rock everybody’s world.
Bourbonic-Huge upset winner of the Wood Memorial stamped his ticket with a late drop from the clouds. If the front end falls on it’s face he might pick up the pieces at the end for trainer Todd Pletcher, but a big drink from the bottle is a safer bet.
Medina Spirit-A horse that always runs hard, this son of Protonico is trained by six-time Derby winner Bob Baffert and that certainly means something. Injury and such has knocked out Baffert’s more highly acclaimed runners and make no mistake he will have his Spirit in top form…it just may not be good enough here.
Midnight Bourbon-Another Steve Asmussen trainee, this tough running son of Tiznow has two wins in seven lifetime starts, but has been in the money every time. Probably needs a few drinks to win here, but could be in the money again as jockey Mike Smith gets the mount.
Mandaloun- A great work horse, this son of Into Mischief threw in a clunker in the Louisiana Derby but has given off great signs since. Trainer Brad Cox hopes this runner keeps his work boots on when the gates open on May 1.
Highly Motivated-Trainer Chad Brown wins a lot but has never had a Kentucky Derby winner. A strong second in the Bluegrass Stakes told us this son of Into Mischief is for real. Five career starts has yielded two wins, two seconds and a third. He could be there at the end.
Helium-With only three career starts under his saddle with one being on dirt, this Tampa Bay Derby winner may go off at long odds, but he seems to be a runner on the rise for trainer Mark Casse. Certainly worth a play as he could be one that shakes it all up.
Soup and Sandwich- Another Casse trained runner, his second place effort in the Florida Derby was quite tasty. Also lightly raced, this son of Into Mischief has two wins and that second in three lifetime starts. Will need a career best to be Soup du jour in this bowl.
Dynamic One-Trainer Todd Pletcher has started more horses than anyone on Derby day and this is another. Just a nose away from winning the Wood Memorial in his last start, he needs to be more Dynamic to win this one.
Sainthood-Ran second in the Jeff Ruby Steaks for you guessed it, trainer Todd Pletcher. Represents powerhouse WinStar Farms but needs a holy performance to be blessed in this one.
Hidden Stash-Trained by Victoria Oliver, this son of Constitution has a win in allowance company at Churchill in 2020, but is winless as a three-year old. A fourth place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes in his last start was preceded by a second in the Tampa Bay Derby. Needs to find some Hidden something to be there in this one.
O Besos- Ran a closing third in the Louisiana Derby in his last start and has made his way into the field due to defections. Trained by Greg Foley, this son of former Derby champion Orb needs to translate another big effort to hit the board.
King Fury- Upset winner of the Lexington Stakes comes in hot for trainer Kenny McPeek and jockey Brian Hernandez, both Churchill staples. The King might be there in the end to pick up some of the pieces at a nice price.
Keepmeinmind- Once a horse that was highly thought of, a lack of big runs at three has left him winless in 2021. Trainer Robertino Diodoro gets in because of some late defections. Has won at Churchill at two, but been a bit lackluster since.
Brooklyn Strong- This son of Wicked Strong finished his two year old campaign with wins in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes and in the Remsen Stakes. With only one start in 2021, a fifth place in the Wood Memorial, this Danny Velazquez trainee needs to be plenty strong if he hopes to be in the money.
Check out my video prediction on YouTube.