2021 Kentucky Derby: How Really Good Is Mandaloun?

2021 Kentucky Derby: How Really Good Is Mandaloun?

Written by on March 19, 2021

This Saturday, the first of the Kentucky Derby major prep races happens when Brad Cox trained Mandaloun heads a deep eight-horse field in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. The following Saturday, on March 27, Gulfstream runs the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Check out our Derby Top 10, a recap of what happened in the Rebel Stakes this past Saturday, and a preview of the March 20 Louisiana Derby.  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 Odds: Is Mandaloun on Life Is Good’s Level?

2021 Kentucky Derby

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

2021 Kentucky Derby Top 10

  1. Life is Good +300
  2. Concert Tour +500
  3. Essential Quality +800
  4. Mandaloun +1600
  5. Risk Taking +1600
  6. Medina Spirit +1800
  7. Weyburn +2500
  8. Big Lake 
  9. Greatest Honour +1000
  10. Hozier +2500

Concert Tour climbs into chalk category

Trainer Bob Baffert the top two contenders to wear the roses on May 1. 

Unless Life Is Good and Concert Tour somehow implode in their final prep for the 2021 Kentucky Derby, there’s a good chance Life Is Good goes off the chalk on the first Saturday in May and Concert Tour offers second choice odds.

Life Is Good dominated his rivals in the San Felipe Stakes. In the Rebel last Saturday, Concert Tour, offering what turned out to be overlay 8/5 odds, pulled away from highly regarded Caddo River to easily win the Rebel Stakes.

The way that Concert Tour won the race, relaxing on the lead, allowing Caddo River to get a head past him, then patiently retaking the lead, is something only the most skilled and well-trained equines do. 

Tour is a monster of a horse. He could have run much faster, which is one of the reasons the MyBookie oddsmakers made him a +500 second-choice behind Life Is Good.   

Caddo River drops off Top Ten list

No doubt that in the Rebel, Caddo River disappointed the most. The Brad Cox trained runner showed no fight after Concert Tour retook the lead. It was as if Caddo admitted he wasn’t as good as Tour. 

Once a thoroughbred decides it’s not as good as it’s competition, it’s difficult to get the runner back on track. Winning thoroughbred’s fight in the stretch, and River didn’t do that. 

Dropping Caddo River from the Top 10 makes all the sense in the world. We also dropped Keepmeinmind from the list. Two horses from the Rebel made their Kentucky Derby Top 10 debuts, Big Lake and Hozier.

Hozier, another Baffert trainee, ran up the rail to grab second. The Pioneerof the Nile sired runner from a Henny Hughes broodmare has the breeding and connections to win the Derby. But Hozier broke the maiden in February. Time may not be on Hozier’s side.  

Third-place finisher Big Lake could turn into a Derby contender. Steve Asmussen trains. Also, 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah sired Big Lake. 

In the stretch, it appeared as if Big Lake was going to make a move and catch Concert Tour, or at least run the winner down and grab second. But Caddo River bumped Big Lake off stride. The Asmussen trainee got his feet back underneath him and then motored home for third. 

The performance impressed big time. If Big Lake wins his next race, and so far we don’t know in what race that will be, he’ll become one of the Kentucky Derby contenders.   

The Louisiana Derby will tell us if Mandaloun is ready to take on Life Is Good and Concert Tour

Brad Cox is hoping that Mandaloun becomes his “1A” Kentucky Derby starter. Cox’s “A” starter, Essential Quality, will run in the Bluegrass Stakes. 

Mandaloun will run in the Louisiana Derby and then sit on the bench until the Kentucky Derby. If Mandaloun doesn’t produce a fantastic victory, the Juddmonte Farm owned colt may end up on the bench until the Preakness, Belmont, or, maybe, the big three-year-old summer races. 

So will Mandaloun show up on Saturday? On paper, the Into Mischief sired runner is a stand out. Into Mischief also sired Life Is Good. So if Mandaloun wins impressively on Saturday, the half-brothers could go off the two favorites to win this year’s Kentucky Derby. 


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