2021 Kentucky Derby Tips & Betting Selections

DateSaturday May 1, 2021
TrackChurchill Downs
ClassGroup 1
Race TypeSet weights
Prize money$1.425 million

2021 Kentucky Derby Odds

Essential Quality5/2
Rock Your World11/2
Hot Rod Charlie9/1
Known Agenda9/1
Highly Motivated11/1
Medina Spirit11/1

*Odds taken from Ladbrokes on 29/4/21*

Only one double-figure runner has won since 2012.

The Kentucky Derby is the holy grail of horse racing in America and it's considered "the most exciting two minutes in sport". 

Run at Churchill Downs every May, the best three-year-olds take centre stage at Kentucky for a chance to etch their name alongside the many champions of the turf. 

Attendance levels at the Kentucky Derby surpasses any other meeting, including the Breeders' Cup and with a tradition unlike any other in racing, the Kentucky Derby is televised in 100's of countries around the world.

"The Run for the Roses" is a great betting race.

2021 Kentucky Derby Tips

We will have expert tips for the Kentucky Derby available when the final-field markets are released by bookmakers. 

2021 Kentucky Derby Draw

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

2021 Kentucky Derby betting program

Kentucky Derby Day features 14 races which go from 10:30am local time till 8:10pm local time.

Humana Distaff
Churchill Distaff
American Turf
Pat Day Mile
Churchill Downs Stakes
Woodford Reserve Turf Classic
Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby history

The Kentucky Derby was first run in 1875 after Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark visited England and watched the Epsom Derby, which sparked the idea of running a Derby in America.

It was first run over 2400m, the same as the Epsom Derby but the Kentucky Derby was changed to 2012m in 1896 to better suit the conditions of the race.

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown, which also features the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. 

There have been numerous champion thoroughbreds win the Kentucky Derby, including Secretariat and American Pharoah. Both horses captured the imagination of the betting public with their classy displays of running.

Secretariat banded the nation during some tough times and his record time still stand above the rest.

American Pharoah was the most popular recent winner of the Kentucky Derby and it would later win the Triple Crown at Belmont Park.

He was the first horse to do win all three races since Affirmed in 1978.

The Bob Baffert-trained colt captured the imagination of race goers and although its career was cut short by stud duties.

Baffert scored his fourth Kentucky Derby win with American Pharoah but he trails Ben A Jones, who won six times as a trainer.

Names such as California Chrome, Animal Kingdom, Big Brown and Smarty Jones have all won the Kentucky Derby, which kick-started their great careers.

War Admiral won the Triple Crown in 1937 and would later contest the Match Race of the Century against Seabiscuit in 1938. 

That race would later be the focal point of the movie "Seabiscuit" and it popularised horse racing in the movie industry.

Betting is big business on the Derby with $187 million being wagered in 2012.

Only the first five runners home receive a share of the purse, which differs from most of the biggest races around the world.

Its popularity is only growing with 158,070 people turning up to watch Always Dreaming win in 2017, despite less than ideal weather conditions.

Kentucky Derby betting guide

The Kentucky Derby is a good race for favourites' punters. 

2017 winner Always Dreaming paid $6 and 2016 winner Nyquist returned $4 after an unbeaten run leading up to the race.

American Pharoah was well-supported at 5/2 and would later run at much shorter odds in the following two legs of the Triple Crown.

Punters have had a great time betting the Kentucky Derby in the last 10 years, which included a big plunge of California Chrome in 2014.

The last double-figure winner was I'll Have Another in 2012, which upset fan-favourite Bodemeister in a close finish. 

Animal Kingdom scored at $30 in 2011 to cause an upset but the favoured runners are dominated in recent history.

Two-year-old form lines up well for the Kentucky Derby. 

Kentucky Derby betting trends

Four winners from the past 15 years have come through the Florida Derby to win the Kentucky Derby.

The Arkansas Derby and Santa Anita Derby also have a good record for producing Kentucky Derby winners, so look for the form out of those two races.

Seven of the last eight winners had at least three starts as a two-year-old. Animal Kingdom was the only exception, which had only two starts as a juvenile. 

Four undefeated horses have won the Derby since Seattle Slew in 1997. Big Brown, Barbaro, Smarty Jones and Nyquist were all unbeaten going into the Derby.

Expensive horses don’t always win the Kentucky Derby. The cheap buys include I'll Have Another ($11,000), Mine The Bird ($9,500) and Real Quiet ($17,000), which added big value following their wins. 

Four active jockeys have won the race three times – Gary Stevens, Kent Desormeaux, Calvin Borel and Victor Espinoza. 

Kentucky Derby lead-up races

There are many lead-up races for the Kentucky Derby but the main races take place in the months leading up to the Derby. 

Tampa Bay Derby, Louisana Derby, Florida Derby, Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby and the Arkansas Derby are all good form guides.
The Lexington at Keeneland is another good guide and is the final lead-up race for the Kentucky Derby. 

International races include the Juddmonte Royal Lodge at Newmarket and the Burradon at Newcastle.

Past Kentucky Derby winners

2019Country House
2017Cloud Computing
2015American Pharoah
2014California Chrome
2012I'll Have Another
2011Animal Kingdom
2010Super Saver
2009Mine That Bird
2008Big Brown
2007Street Sense
2004Smarty Jones
2003Funny Cide
2002War Emblem
2000Fusaichi Pegasus
1998Real Quiet
1997Silver Charm
1995Thunder Gulch
1994Go For Gin
1993Sea Hero
1992Lil E Tee
1991Strike The Gold
1989Sunday Silence
1988Winning Colors