The Triple Crown schedule is currently on track for its traditional dates after the coronavirus pandemic turned the 2020 horse racing season on its head. That means a chance at history will begin with "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports," the 2021 Kentucky Derby, on Saturday, May 1. This year marks the 147th Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs, where Bob Baffert could have multiple entrants as he seeks his seventh Kentucky Derby win. If he's successful, he'd pass Ben A. Jones for the most ever.
Life is Good is trained by Baffert and is currently the 7-2 favorite in the early 2021 Kentucky Derby odds from the race's futures book. Baffert also trains Medina Spirit, who is listed at 30-1 in the 2021 Kentucky Derby futures, as well as Spielberg, who's fetching 20-1. With so much to consider, you'll want to see what SportsLine's Jody Demling has to say before entering any 2021 Kentucky Derby picks and predictions of your own.
A fixture in the horse racing world who has been writing about, talking about and betting on races for years, Demling enters the 2021 Kentucky Derby on a major heater: At one point last year, he picked the winners of six straight races: the Saudi Cup, Gotham Stakes, Rebel Stakes, Louisiana Derby, Florida Derby and Belmont Stakes.
This is the same handicapper who hit the Derby-Oaks double at Churchill Downs nine times in the last 12 years. That means he held a ticket with the winners of both the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby all but three times in his last 12 tries.
He opened last season's Triple Crown schedule on a heater too. At last year's Belmont, Demling said Tiz the Law was clearly the class of the field, and Barclay Tagg's horse pulled away for a convincing 3 3/4-length victory. Anyone who has followed him is up huge.
Now, with the 2021 Kentucky Derby lineup taking shape, Demling is sharing his picks and predictions at SportsLine. Go here to see them.
Top 2021 Kentucky Derby predictions
One shocker: Demling is fading Essential Quality, even though that horse is going off as one of the top Vegas favorites and won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. In fact, he says Essential Quality doesn't even crack the top five. It isn't so much that the horse doesn't show promising signs, but Demling points out that "anything in single-digit odds is just too low two months out." The son of Tapit out of Delightful Quality, Essential Quality is trained by Brad Cox and owned by the Godolphin LLC group.
Essential Quality only knows the winner's circle so far in his young career, winning his maiden special weight debut at Churchill Downs last September, taking the Breeders' Futurity and Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, and winning the Southwest Stakes last weekend. Still, there's plenty of other value to consider in the 2021 Kentucky Derby lineup.
Another curveball: Demling is high on Medina Spirit, even though he's a massive 30-1 long shot. He's a target for anyone looking for a huge payday.
"Trainer Bob Baffert has a loaded stable again this time around, but Medina Spirit, the winner of the recent Robert B. Lewis Stakes, looks like he could be the best of the Baffert bunch. He will continue to improve and right now might have the best odds," Demling told SportsLine.
How to make 2021 Kentucky Derby picks, bets
Demling is especially high on a long shot who is "hard not to play" at his current price. Demling is sharing which horse it is, along with his entire projected leaderboard, over at SportsLine.
Which horse wins the Kentucky Derby 2021? And what huge long shot does Demling say contends? Check out the latest 2021 Kentucky Derby odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Demling's picks for the Kentucky Derby.
Essential Quality 7-2
Life Is Good 4-1
Greatest Honour 6-1
Caddo River 15-1
Concert Tour 20-1
Highly Motivated 20-1
Candy Man Rocket 30-1
Dream Shake 30-1
Freedom Fighter 30-1
Hot Rod Charlie 30-1
Medina Spirit 30-1
Midnight Bourbon 30-1
Risk Taking 30-1
Roman Centurian 50-1
Hush of a Storm 50-1
The Great One 50-1