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Kentucky Derby Exotic Bets – Exacta, Trifecta, and Superfecta Picks

Daniel Coyle

by Daniel Coyle in Horse Racing

May 1, 2021 · 8:21 AM PDT

Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby hopeful Rock Your World works out at Churchill Downs Tuesday, April 27, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 1. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Essential Quality emerging as best bets in Kentucky Derby Exacta wagering
  • Hot Rod Charlie, Highly Motivated add value to Trifecta and Superfecta wagers at this year’s Run for the Roses
  • We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Saturday evening’s running of the 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

Essential Quality has set himself apart as the favorite in Saturday evening’s running of the 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The winner in each of his five career races, the Brad Cox-trained colt has rocketed to the top of the odds at Kentucky Derby betting sites as a short +200 favorite. But for sports betting fans looking to cash on a bigger payday, countless exotic betting options are available.

Here’s a look at some of the most intriguing exacta, trifecta, and superfecta ahead of Saturday’s Run for the Roses, along with key boxed picks to consider as you plan your Kentucky derby betting strategy.

2021 Kentucky Derby Odds

Horse Post Position Odds at TVG
Essential Quality 14 +200
Rock Your World 15 +500
Known Agenda 1 +600
Hot Rod Charlie 9 +800
Highly Motivated 17 +1000
Mandaloun 7 +1500
Medina Spirit 8 +1500
O Besos 6 +2000
Midnight Bourbon 10 +2000
Dynamic One 11 +2000
Super Stock 18 +3000
Soup and Sandwich 19 +3000
Bourbonic 20 +3000
Like the King 2 +5000
Brooklyn Strong 3 +5000
Keepmeinmind 4 +5000
Sainthood 5 +5000
Helium 12 +5000
Hidden Stash 13 +5000

Odds as of April 30

Essential Quality, Rock Your World Obvious Exacta Picks

With Essential Quality entering this year’s race on such a dominating run, he remains a logical pick to include in any exotic bet. The question remains, which entries offer the best value as a key horse to pair in an exacta with the favorite?

A winner in each of his three previous outings, Rock Your World has emerged as the biggest threat to Essential Quality as a +500 bet to reach the winner’s circle on Saturday. The John Sadler-trained colt followed up a pair of sterling runs on turf with a decisive win at the Santa Anita Derby in his last outing. And with three of the past nine winners in the Santa Anita Derby on to claim victory in the Kentucky Derby, Rock Your World is worthy of consideration as the winning horse in an exacta bet with Essential Quality.

In addition, Hot Rod Charlie looks to Saturday’s race sporting attractive +800 odds to win. Hot Rod Charlie exceeded expectations in his last outing, earning his first stakes race win on a dirt track in the Louisiana Derby with a strong finish. The Doug O’Neill-trained colt held up well in the 1-3/16 mile race, which bodes well for his chances on Saturday.

Exacta Picks: Essential Quality/Rock Your World (boxed), Essential Quality/Hot Rod Charlie

Boxes Boost Chances in Trifectas, Superfectas

With 20 horses in Saturday’s field, the potential trifecta and superfecta combinations available to sports bettors numbers in the hundreds of thousands. With Essential Quality and Rock Your World setting themselves apart, the options quickly become clearer. However, regardless of the horses you choose to add to your exotic bets, be sure to set aside enough budget to box each of your picks.

In addition to Hot Rod Charlie, who should be near the top of every bettor’s watch list ahead of Saturday’s race, particularly if he holds steady as a +800 bet, two other horses are worthy of consideration when putting together your trifecta wagers.

Highly Motivated has shown steady improvement since making his stakes race debut, following up a third-place run in the Gotham – G3 by nearly upsetting Essential Quality in this month’s Blue Grass Stakes. Stamina remains a concern for Highly Motivated, who had little left in the tank down the stretch in the 1-1/8 mile Blue Grass Stakes. That makes any success dependent on how well the Chad brown-trained colt starts from the outside at No. 17.

Medina Spirit, Hidden Stash Worthy Sleeper Picks

Listed as an attractive +1500 bet to win on Saturday, Medina Spirit has been denied victory in each of his past two outings, capped by a second-place finish behind Rock Your World at the Santa Anita Derby. But the three-year-old colt, trained by the legendary Bob Baffert, has maintained pace over steadily increasing distances, finishing no worse than second in five career outings, all on dirt.

Denied victory while finishing among the top four in each of his three career stakes races, the addition of Hidden Stash can add enormous value to any trifecta or superfecta ticket. The Victoria Oliver-trained colt is coming off a disappointing fourth-place finish at the Blue Grass, but demonstrated impressive staying power while falling just short of the win at the Tampa Bay Derby.

Trifecta Picks: Essential Quality/Rock Your World/Highly Motivated (boxed);
Superfecta Picks: Essential Quality/Rock Your World/Hot Rod Charlie/Hidden Stash (boxed)

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