2021 Kentucky Derby Update: A New Contender Emerges

2021 Kentucky Derby Update: A New Contender Emerges

Written by on January 29, 2021

A Derby contender emerged from last weekend’s Smarty Jones Stakes. We analyze Caddo River’s win. Also in this blog, we take a look at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby prep races, the Robert B. Lewis at Sant Anita and the Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park. Check out top plays and Horse Racing Odds from Kentucky Derby for Saturday, May 1. You can also visit our Online Racebook to place your bets on active racetracks.

Kentucky Derby: Caddo River Puts on a Show to Win the Smarty Jones

2021 Kentucky Derby

  • When: Saturday, May 1, 2021
  • Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY

Brad Cox trained Caddo River romps in Smarty Jones stakes

At 2/5 you’re supposed to dominate your competition. Caddo River, who went off at those underlay odds in the Smarty Jones Stakes, didn’t disappoint. The chalk took the lead and sped away to a dominating 10-length victory over second choice Cowan.

Trained by Brad Cox, who also saddles Essential Quality, the winter book favorite, Caddo looks like a legit Derby contender. His sire, Hard Spun, has produced sprinters and route horses. River’s broodmare, Pangburn, ran mostly in races at 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/8 miles.

Caddo River will run in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes. Cox will send Essential Quality to the Southwest Stakes on February 15. After that, expect one of Cox’s derby hopefuls to hit the road for their final Derby prep. 

Prime Factor headlines the Holy Bull at Gulfstream

Todd Pletcher trained Prime Factor is the headline name in the 2021 Holy Bull Stakes. The last out maiden winner dominated his competition in his first try. Sired by Quality Road and from a Bernardini broodmare, if the morning line chalk improves off the maiden score, he’ll be tough to beat..

Greatest Honour has a nice resume. So do Sittin On Go and Papetu. A Dialed In sired colt, Papetu finished second to Mutasaabeq in the Mucho Macho Man. Papetu will offer overlay odds.

Another horse to consider is Pletcher’s other entrant, Amount. In some ways, Amount’s maiden score was more impressive than Prime Factor’s. Amount was on the rail and had to pull out and run down horses that got a half-mile in 47 going 7 furlongs. If you’re deciding between Todd’s runners, consider Amount over Prime Factor.  

Hot Rod Charlie and Spielberg duke it out in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita

Second place Breeders’ Cup Juvenile horse Hot Rod Charlie returns to the races in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at the Great Race Place. Trained by Doug O’Neil, Hot Rod Charlie may not have the pedigree to get 1 ¼ miles. But his pedigree is plenty good enough for him to beat his competition on Saturday at 1 1/16 miles. 

Spielberg is looking to continue his roll. The Bob Baffert runner won the Los Alamitos Futurity in his last. Bob will also saddle second-place Sham Stakes finisher Medina Spirit. 

The most interesting horse in the race is the Simon Callaghan trained Roman Centurion. Sired by 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, Roman Centurion broke his maiden at 1 1/16 miles. 

When jockey Juan Hernandez asked Roman to switch leads and accelerate, he did so like a champion. If Roman Centurion can improve off the maiden score, he could upset Hot Rod Charlie, Spielberg, and Medina Spirit.