Kentucky Derby Odds 2021: Post Positions and Picks for All 20 Horses

The 2020 Breeders' Futurity Stakes winner "Essential Quality" is the bookmakers' favourite to win the 147th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, as the Run for the Roses reclaims its traditional early May slot a year after being postponed because of COVID-19.

Owned and bred by horse racing powerhouse Godolphin Stables and trained by Brad Cox, who has racked up over 1,540 career wins so far, the three-year Colt goes into the first leg of the Triple Crown as a 2-1 favorite.

The winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the Breeders Futurity Stakes last year, "Essential Quality" has already won the Southwest Stakes and the Blue Grass Stakes so far this year, bringing his tally to five wins in as many career starts.

The omens, however, aren't particularly positive for the Godolphin-owned colt, who drew the No. 14 gate in the post position draw held on Tuesday. In the history of the Kentucky Derby, only two horses have won the race when starting from the No. 14 gate, which last produced a winner in 1961.

Second-favorite "Rock Your World," meanwhile, drew post No. 15 and opened at 5-1. The gate has produced six previous derby winners, the most recent of which came last year as 8-1 "Authentic" upset odds-on favorite "Tiz The Law".

"Known Agenda", this year's Florida Derby winner and the horse with the third-best odds at 6-1, will start on the inside after drawing the No. 1 position. Traditionally considered far from ideal, the gate has produced eight Kentucky Derby winners, with the most recent coming in 1986.

"Obviously it's not what we were hoping for," Todd Pletcher, the trainer of the three-year old stallion, said.

"But, of course, this is one of the things you can't control. With the new [20-stall] gate, we're hopeful that things will be better than they were in the past and the post won't be that bad. He had an inside trip in the Florida Derby and he handled it very professionally."

Meanwhile, "Hot Rod Charlie" and "Highly Motivated," the horses with the next best odds at 8-1 and 10-1 respectively, will start from gate post No. 9 and No. 17.

Up until last year, the Kentucky Derby used a 14-horse starting gate, with an auxiliary gate hosting another six contenders added to the end of the main gate. In 2020, however, organizers introduced a 20-horse starting gate, which will be in use on Saturday.

Traditionally, post positions between 5 to 15 have been considered the most likely to produce winners. Eleven of the 21 Derby winners since the turn of the century have started from gate 13 or higher, compared to just 10 in the 70 years between the starting gate was first introduced in 1930 and 2000.

Post positions and odds

(all odds are accurate at the time of writing)

  1. Known Agenda 6-1
  2. Like The King 50-1
  3. Brooklyn Strong 50-1
  4. Keepmeinmind 50-1
  5. Sainthood 50-1
  6. O Besos 20-1
  7. Mandaloun 15-1
  8. Medina Spirit 15-1
  9. Hot Rod Charlie 8-1
  10. Midnight Bourbon 20-1
  11. Dynamic One 20-1
  12. Helium 50-1
  13. Hidden Stash 50-1
  14. Essential Quality 2-1
  15. Rock Your World 5-1
  16. King Fury 20-1
  17. Highly Motivated 10-1
  18. Super Stock 30-1
  19. Soup and Sandwich 30-1
  20. Bourbonic 30-1
Kentucky Derby
Known Agenda runs on the track during training for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 26, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. At 6-1, Known Agenda is the second-favorite for the 147th run of the Kentucky Derby on May 1. Andy Lyons/Getty Images