Churchill Downs has hosted the Kentucky Derby continuously since 1875, making it the longest-running major American sporting event, but last year it faced one of its most serious challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic. The race was postponed to September and no fans were allowed in attendance, but the Kentucky Derby 2021 brings back normalcy, as the raves moves back to the first Saturday in May. Post time is set for 6:57 p.m. ET and 19 horses will make up the 2020 Kentucky Derby field.
Essential Quality and Rock Your World both enter Saturday undefeated and are the favorites in the 2021 Kentucky Derby odds, with Essential Quality at 2-1 and Rock Your World at 5-1. However, other major stakes winners include Florida Derby champion Known Agenda (6-1), Louisiana Derby victor Hot Rod Charlie (8-1), and Arkansas Derby winner Super Stock (30-1). Before making any 2021 Kentucky Derby picks, you need to see the latest horse racing predictions from legendary handicapper Hammerin' Hank Goldberg.
The former horse racing analyst for ESPN and NBC, Goldberg became a legendary handicapper by going straight to the source. In 2004, he had dinner before the Belmont Stakes with trainer Nick Zito at a pizzeria in Queens. The dinner led Goldberg to play Zito's 36-1 monster longshot Birdstone to win and on top of his exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets. When Birdstone shocked the world, Goldberg won $24,000.
His success has continued at SportsLine. In the San Felipe Stakes in March, Hammer gave out a $20 exacta that paid 9-1. In the Belmont Stakes in June, Goldberg was all over Tiz the Law, who scored a convincing victory in the year's first Triple Crown race. In the Blue Grass Stakes, Hammer nailed the Art Collector-Swiss Skydiver exacta. In July, he hit the Authentic-Ny Traffic exacta in the Haskell. In August in the Pacific Classic, he gave out the Maximum Security-Sharp Samurai exacta.
Before last year's Kentucky Derby, trainer Bob Baffert told Goldberg that Authentic was his best Derby runner. As a result, Goldberg listed him among his top horses, and Authentic held off Tiz the Law by almost four lengths. Anyone who has followed Goldberg's lead is way up.
Now, Goldberg has studied the 2021 Kentucky Derby field and released his picks, predictions and top contenders only at SportsLine.
Top 2021 Kentucky Derby predictions
For the 147th Run for the Roses, Goldberg is completely fading Rock Your World, even though he is one of the top favorites and won the Santa Anita Derby. Rock Your World's father Candy Ride was an undefeated, Argentina-bred horse who won the Pacific Classic at Del Mar Raceway in 2003. His mother, Charm the Maker, won three times in 18 career starts.
Rock Your World had a rather inauspicious start to his career as well, not running as a two-year-old and making his first two starts on turf before dazzling in his first trip on dirt in the Santa Anita Derby. That 4 3/4-length victory came with a Beyer Speed Figure of 100, which is the best of any horse in the 2021 Kentucky Derby field, but the general lack of experience and trainer John Sadler's lack of success at the Kentucky Derby (his best finish was sixth with Corby in 1993) makes 5-1 a tough price to swallow for Goldberg.
Another curveball: Goldberg is high on Mandaloun, even though he's a big 15-1 long shot. He's a target for anyone looking for a huge payday. After an impressive performance to win the Risen Star Stakes at Louisiana Fair Grounds, Mandaloun returned to the site of the victory as the 6-5 favorite in the Louisiana Derby, but had an extremely poor showing and wound up finishing sixth.
Trainer Brad Cox didn't find anything wrong with Mandaloun after the race, but the oddity of the performance has Goldberg wondering if the performance was merely a one-off. More attention is being paid to stablemate Essential Quality, but Cox should have Mandaloun in a competitive position breaking from the No. 7 post with veteran jockey Florent Geroux in the saddle.
How to make 2021 Kentucky Derby predictions
After getting the inside scoop from the horse's trainer, Goldberg's top pick will shock you. He's also backing an underdog who drew the "perfect post." He's sharing which horses to back here.
So who wins the 2021 Kentucky Derby? And which sleeper is a must-back? Check out the latest 2021 Kentucky Derby odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Goldberg's picks for the Kentucky Derby.
2021 Kentucky Derby contenders, odds
|2||Like the King||50-1|
|9||Hot Rod Charlie||8-1|
|15||Rock Your World||5-1|
|19||Soup and Sandwich||30-1|