Only 13 times has a horse who crossed the wire first at the Kentucky Derby gone on to win the Triple Crown, the most recent being Justify in 2018. Still, the winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby will leave Churchill Downs with hopes of claiming arguably the most elusive prize in sports. The Kentucky Derby 2021 is set for Saturday, May 1, with what is expected to be a full field hoping to become the next Justify, Secretariat, or Citation as both a Derby winner and Triple Crown champion.

The Brad Cox-trained Essential Quality, who has not lost in four career starts, is the 3-1 favorite atop the latest 2021 Kentucky Derby odds. Bob Baffert hopeful Concert Tour is 5-1, while the Leandro Mora-trained Hot Rod Charlie is 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 Dynamic One, even though that horse is going off as one of the top Vegas favorites at 14-1 and finished second in the Wood Memorial. In fact, he says Dynamic One doesn't even crack the top 15. In the Wood Memorial, he was run down by 72-1 stablemate Bourbonic down the stretch.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Dynamic One finally earned a maiden special weight victory in March after three unsuccessful attempts, and the slow pace of the Wood Memorial should also give potential bettors pause. Demling told SportsLine that while he believes Dynamic One's Wood Memorial was a "solid showing," he isn't prioritizing the colt in his 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 Quality3-1
Concert Tour5-1
Hot Rod Charlie 6-1
Bourbonic 12-1
Known Agenda14-1
Dynamic One14-1
Super Stock16-1
Like the King20-1
Medina Spirit20-1
Soup and Sandwich20-1
Crowded Trade30-1
Highly Motivated30-1
Mandaloun 30-1
Midnight Bourbon30-1
Rock Your World31-1
Caddo River40-1