Essential Quality is a perfect 5-for-5 under saddle in his career, including victories at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November, the Southwest Stakes in February, and the Blue Grass Stakes in April. Now, the son of Tapit out of Delightful Quality will take aim at the 2021 Kentucky Derby, which runs Saturday, May 1 at Churchill Downs. The Brad Cox-trained colt is the 4-1 favorite atop the latest 2021 Kentucky Derby odds, but should you back him as part of your 2021 Kentucky Derby bets?

Trainer Claude McGaughey has Greatest Honour at 4-1, with the Bob Baffert hopeful Concert Tour at 9-2 and the Leandro Mora-trained Hot Rod Charlie at 6-1 among the early 2021 Kentucky Derby contenders. 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 off 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 Bourbonic, even though that horse is going off as one of the top Vegas favorites at 12-1. In fact, he says Bourbonic barely cracks the top 10. Bournonic was an upset winner at the Wood Memorial, rallying from dead last in a field of nine horses to beat Dynamic One by a head at 72-1 odds.

The victory was good for a $146.50 win payoff and earned Bourbonic 100 qualifying points to secure a spot in the Run for the Roses. Still, the Todd Pletcher-trained horse won in a slow time of 1:54.49, so buyer beware. Demling tells SportsLine that while he believes Bourbonic has "great style" for the Kentucky Derby 2021, he is "not sure he's good enough against a field this solid and this large" and isn't recommending the colt for your 2021 Kentucky Derby bets.

Another curveball: Demling is high on Highly Motivated, even though he's a massive 25-1 long shot in the Kentucky Derby 2021 odds. The Nyquist Stakes winner was completely overlooked heading into the Blue Grass Stakes, but by the time he was done at Keeneland, he had emerged as a legitimate Triple Crown threat. The Chad Brown-trained colt ran like a superstar from gate to wire, finishing second to Essential Quality and showing true Kentucky Derby chops in the process.

The son of Into Mischief out of Strong Incentive has finished in the money in all five starts so far, including a maiden special weight run and the Nyquist Stakes victory last year. Couple those performances with his third at the Gotham Stakes and a trip to Churchill Downs certainly could turn up roses. Demling says the colt "should improve off the Blue Grass runner-up finish" and loves the value the horse presents at his current 25-1 Kentucky Derby odds 2021.

How to make 2021 Kentucky Derby picks, bets

Demling is especially high on a massive long shot whose "sensational" performances make him hard to fade 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.

2021 Kentucky Derby odds

Essential Quality 4-1
Concert Tour 5-1
Hot Rod Charlie 12-1
Bourbonic 12-1
Medina Spirit 13-1
Dynamic One 16-1
Like the King 20-1
Soup and Sandwich 20-1
Sainthood 20-1
Highly Motivated 25-1
Midnight Bourbon 27-1
Helium 28-1
Rock Your World 31-1
Weyburn 35-1
Mandaloun 36-1
Crowded Trade 38-1
Hozier 44-1
Rombauer 50-1
Proxy 51-1