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2021 Kentucky Derby Opening Odds Favor Jackie’s Warrior

Jackie's Warrior
Jackie's Warrior has run as fast and impressively as any two year old in recent memory. Photo by @spendthriftfarm (Twitter)
  • The 2021 Kentucky Derby is slated for May 1, 2021
  • With the Breeders Cup just a few weeks away, favorites for the Run for the Roses are emerging
  • If you like a Derby contender now, the odds are almost always juicy

The recently completed 2020 Triple Crown was the most disjointed in memory. The Kentucky Derby was shifted from May to September, the Belmont Stakes went first in the trio of races and was shortened, and the Preakness Stakes was run in October. Hopefully, 2021 will bring back some normalcy.

Early Kentucky Derby odds show that a favorite has come to the forefront. If Jackie’s Warrior wins the Breeders Cup Juvenile next month his odds are likely to sharply move down again. In fact, if your favorite Derby candidate is running in the Breeders Cup, you might want to act now.

Let’s look at odds to win the 2021 Kentucky Derby, discuss some of the top contenders, and consider where there is betting value.

2021 Kentucky Derby Odds

Horse Odds
Jackie’s Warrior +1800
Essential Quality +3000
Get Her Number +3500
Reinvestment Risk +4000
Calibrate +5000
Cazadero +5000
Dr. Schivel +5000
Freedom Fighter +5000
Sittin On Go +5000
Spielberg +6000
Founder +6600
Prisoner +6600
Real Talk +6600
Team Merchants +6600
Whiskey Double +6600

Odds taken October 14th

It is worth remembering that the Breeders Cup Juvenile has been run each year since 1984 and only twice has the winner gone on to capture the Kentucky Derby. In other words, the best two-year-old, or among the top two-year-olds in the fall, almost always are not the quickest three-year-olds in May.

A lot can happen whether it be injury or maturity over the next seven months. That is why it is not advisable to take a short price. However, this year it does look like we have a superstar in the making.

Favorite: Jackie’s Warrior

He is among the most impressive two-year-olds in recent memory. Jackie’s Warrior is already four-for-four, at a time in the calendar when many top two-year-olds have yet to debut or have run just once or twice.

His win in the Champagne Stakes, the same prep that Tiz The Law won last year, was super impressive. In fact, each of his four victories, three in graded stakes, have been terrific. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has won the Preakness twice, Belmont Stakes once, and six Breeders Cup races. He is still seeking his first Run for the Roses victory.

Top Contenders: Essential Quality, Get Her Number, Reinvestment Risk

Essential Quality has run twice and won each race. He is owned by Godolphin, the stable of the ruling party of Dubai, and trained by the red hot Brad Cox.

Essential Quality has been the favorite in both of his races, a pretty strong indication he is well thought of.

Get Her Number has run all three of his races in California, which has been a very strong equation for Triple Crown success in recent years.

He beat the very highly regarded Spielberg last time out and is two-for-three in his career. Owner Gary Barber has a lot of high achieving horses including Preakness Stakes winner War of Will.

Reinvestment Risk has one victory and twice has run right behind Jackie’s Warrior. He was the favorite over Jackie in the Hopeful Stakes and a close second choice in the Champagne. While neither race was particularly tight, being on the same track as the top choice and getting heavily backed in those races is meaningful. Reinvestment Risk has top-notch connections, trainer Chad Brown and owner Klaravich Stables.

Longshots: Cazadero, Spielberg

Cazadero won twice to start his career including a freakish good performance as a maiden. He went on to win a stakes race at Churchill Downs before a flat performance in August at Saratoga.

For a two-year-old to run really really well says a lot. That means the talent is present. One mediocre race is less meaningful than the knowledge he has top quality available.

Spielberg is a super pricey horse with a huge reputation trained by Bob Baffert who has yet to do a lot of running. He has not won in three tries.

Toss Baffert and the hype at your own risk. While his races have been weak, the price right now is juicy. Sure, it is a shot in the dark, but if he matures and lives up to the billing maybe you have something going in 2021.

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