Best Darkhorse Picks When Betting On The 2021 Kentucky Derby

  • Essential Quality has the shortest odds to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at +275.

LOUISVILLE, K.Y. – The 2021 Kentucky Derby will once again kickoff the race for the Triple Crown as the best three-year-old thoroughbreds look to cement themselves in horse racing history at Churchill Downs. Horse racing bettors looking to place their wagers on the Greatest Two Minutes In Sports no longer have to wait.

The latest iteration of the Kentucky Derby betting features a deep selection of horses that could eclipse the betting favorite Essential Quality on Saturday.

While it won’t be easy there are three horses on the odds board at Bovada that are prime candidates to pull off the upset.

Odds To Win 2021 Kentucky Derby

  • 1. Known Agenda +750
  • 2. Like The King +6000
  • 3. Brooklyn Strong +5500
  • 4. Keepmeinmind +5500
  • 5. Sainthood +4500
  • 6. O Besos +2800
  • 7. Mandaloun +2200
  • 8. Medina Spirit +1400
  • 9. Hot Rod Charlie +700
  • 10. Midnight Bourbon +1800
  • 11. Dynamic One +3500
  • 12. Helium +5000
  • 13. Hidden Stash +5000
  • 14. Essential Quality +275
  • 15. Rock Your World +475
  • 17. Highly Motivated +1200
  • 18. Super Stock +2800
  • 19. Soup And Sandwich +2500
  • 20. Bourbonic +4000

Highly Motivated (+1200)

This three-year-old colt has shown its capability of winning despite its recent drop in performance. In 2020, Highly Motivated ran in three races and finished in first place twice, and once in second.

In 2021, this horse has run just twice so far and has placed second and third in those races. In March, Highly motivated ran at the Gotham Stakes which finished third, but just last month it ran in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes of which it finished second.

Highly Motivated is trained by Chad C. Brown who has consistently finished in the top 10 trainers list and has earned over $4 million in 2021 alone. Both he and Highly Motivated could be a great dark horse pick for the Kentucky Derby.

Dynamic One (+3500)

Betting on Dynamic One is a bit more of a gamble, and that’s more apparent when you look past the odds and look at this horse’s record.

Dynamic One has run five races total and has placed first only once. However, that first-place finish was accomplished in March of 2021. Dynamic One also placed second at the Wood Memorial S. Presented by Resorts World Casino just last month. While it may not be the most prestigious track, it is impressive given the young career it’s had so far.

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This horse is trained by Todd A. Pletcher who has been training horses professionally since 1996. Even though his earnings peaked in 2007, a trainer with that much experience can’t be overlooked.

Horses with longer odds to win the Kentucky Derby have accomplished that feat before (see Country House at +6500 odds). So, everyone's horse has a shot.

Midnight Bourbon (+1800)

Midnight Bourbon is consistently at the top of the leaderboards but has only sealed the deal once in its career. That one first-place finish came at the GIII Lecomte S. race.

Midnight Bourbon also finished second at the GII Louisiana Derby.

The stat that most people will be looking at that might make them shy away from betting on this horse is that its trainer, Steve Asmussen, is 0-21 when racing in the Kentucky Derby. However, that’s not to say that he’s a bad trainer.

In fact, two of those horses Curlin and Gun Runner went on to get voted Horse of the Year. This could be the breakout year for Asmussen.

The 147th running of the historic Kentucky Derby will air on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Coverage begins at 12:00 p.m. EST and will be broadcasted by NBC.