2021 Kentucky Derby: Essential Quality Clear Favorite to Win it All

2021 Kentucky Derby: Essential Quality Clear Favorite to Win it All

Written by on April 14, 2021

The final two Kentucky Derby preps turned out to be ho-hum affairs. Concert Tour, Bob Baffert’s top Derby prospect, provided one of the worst final prep performances in recent memory. It was so bad that we had no choice but to drop the son of Street Sense from our Top 10. Check out a recap on Tour’s awful performance as well as other Kentucky Derby thoughts heading into the final two pre-Derby weeks.  Also, 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 Update: Essential Quality Lone Favorite

2021 Kentucky Derby

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

2021 Kentucky Derby Top 10

  1. Rock Your World +600
  2. Hot Rod Charlie +1000
  3. Midnight Bourbon +2000
  4. Essential Quality +275
  5. Known Agenda +1400
  6. Highly Motivated +1000
  7. Soup and Sandwich +2000
  8. Bourbonic +1200
  9. Super Stock +800
  10. Like the King +2000

Concert Tour bombs in final Derby prep

Up until the Arkansas Derby, Concert Tour had looked like a world beater. He dominated his competition in the Rebel. His breeding suggested he could go as long as he wished.

But what’s on paper doesn’t always translate to what’s on the racetrack. Concert Tour couldn’t even get by Brad Cox trained Caddo River in the stretch. As the two fought each other for second-place, Steve Asmussen trained Super Stock rallied past both.

The winner has the breeding to be a good racehorse. But the speed rating leaves a lot, we mean a ton, to be desired. Super Stock must improve on the first Saturday in May. As we’ve written before in this blog, that’s almost impossible to accomplish.

As far as Concert Tour is concerned, he may not be mature enough to win the Run for the Roses. Often, Bob Baffert’s best three-year-old doesn’t appear until later in the year. In 2016, Arrogate became one of the best horses in the world when he won the Travers Stakes at around 11-to-1.

Lest we forget, Authentic won the Kentucky Derby last September, not last May. Yes, Justify and American Pharoah were good enough to win the Triple Crown.

But Pharoah in 2015 was Baffert’s first Derby winner since War Emblem in 2002. Maybe, Concert Tour simply hasn’t matured enough to win a race like the Kentucky Derby.

Rock Your World will enter the Kentucky Derby starting gate with the best speed rating

Of course, Concert Tour could surprise on Derby Day. He’ll have to make up a ton of ground on Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World to do it. The John Sadler trained runner will head into the first Saturday in May with the best speed rating.

Rock has run faster than Hot Rod Charlie, Essential Quality, or any of the other contenders. Because of that, there’s a good chance the turf to dirt potential monster goes off the chalk on Derby Day. 

If you agree, jump on the current MyBookie odds. The future odds make him an overlay, something we can’t say for a horse like Essential Quality. 

Midnight Bourbon looks like a strong longshot play

Based on speed ratings, Midnight Bourbon looks like the top underdog. Steve Asmussen trained Midnight Bourbon is a front-running son of Tiznow.

Recently, WinStar Farm pensioned the two-time BC Classic winner, meaning Tiznow will no longer sire thoroughbreds. In his first year as a sire, back in the early 2000s, his owners charged $125,000 per live foal. Tiznow’s success rate was a ridiculous 97%, meaning when he covered a mare, he helped produce a foal 97% of the time.

Tiznow bred three times a day, 365 days a year, even on Christmas. That’s what you a call a powerful sire. It would be great if his final Derby running son could take the Run for the Roses.

Midnight Bourbon should be close to the pace if not on it. The fastest horses often run well on the first Saturday in May, which means Bourbon, Rock Your World, Hot Rod Charlie, and Essential Quality have the best shots of finishing in the money. 


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