Essential Quality provided a nice winning effort when taking the Southwest Stakes on Feb. 27. We dig deep into that victory before turning our attention to Greatest Honour’s win and this Saturday’s two massive Kentucky Derby prep races. 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: Life Is Good Takes on Medina Spirit in San Felipe Stakes
2021 Kentucky Derby
- When: Saturday, May 1, 2021
- Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY
Kentucky Derby Top 10
- Life Is Good +800
- Essential Quality +800
- Mandaloun +2300
- Concert Tour +1300
- Highly Motivated +2900
- Freedom Fighter +3800
- Medina Spirit +2000
- Roman Centurian +4200
- Greatest Honour +1000
- Caddo River +1400
Essential Quality remains undefeated in workman-like Southwest Stakes win
Essential Quality did a lot of things for the first time when winning the Southwest Stakes. He had to race over Oaklawn’s dirt for the first time. He had to race in the mud for the first time. He had to break from post-position 1 for the first time.
The Brad Cox trained, and Godolphin owned runner proved he can handle all of those things no problem. Why, then, did he drop a spot on this week’s Kentucky Derby Rankings?
Essential Quality easily beat the Southwest Stakes field to take home the trophy, but he didn’t run against much. Spielberg, the second-place finisher, is a nice horse and Bob Baffert trains, but Spielberg doesn’t come close to having the talent that Life Is Good possesses.
We’re showing Essential Quality much respect by keeping him at #2. He didn’t race super-fast and got to take over after Jackie’s Warrior burned himself out after dueling with a last out maiden winner.
Essential Quality is a good horse, but he has yet to face a monster like Life Is Good. Right now, it’s even hard to say he’s better than stablemate Mandaloun.
Greatest Honour wins the Fountain of Youth but falls on our Derby Rankings
Greatest Honour ran well enough to win the Fountain of Youth Stakes on the same day Essential Quality won the Southwest. Although visually Greatest Honour’s victory impressed, it didn’t impress in other ways.
For starters, the horse that finished second, Drain the Clock, ran his eyeballs out early. Running down a sprint horse who put itself in a bad position by going all out in the first half-mile doesn’t impress that much.
The rest of the field was made up of last-out maiden winners and horses like Prime Factor who have yet to figure out what they’re doing on the track. We get why some horseplayers love Greatest Honour’s Kentucky Derby chances.
Breeding and connections suggest he’s a major player on May 1. But just because a horse is bred to go long, which those horseplayers who will bet on Greatest Honour in the futures to win the Derby keep bringing up, it doesn’t mean the horse is fast enough to win a longer race.
So far, Greatest Honour hasn’t run fast enough to win the Kentucky Derby. Also, like Essential Quality, he hasn’t faced a beast like Life Is good. We think he’s right where he should be on our Derby Rankings.
Highly Motivated takes on Freedom Fighter in the Gotham at Aqueduct
Before Life Is Good and Medina Spirit throw down in the San Felipe, Highly Motivated takes on Bob Baffert trained Freedom Fighter in the Gotham. The Gotham is a one-turn mile, which means neither Freedom Fighter nor Highly Motivated will have an excuse if either or both finish up the track.
Freedom Fighter looks like a serious Derby player. He finished second behind stablemate Concert Tour in the Grade 2 San Vicente.
Highly Motivated won the Nyquist Stakes going 6 ½ furlongs in his last. Chad Brown puts on the saddle and Motivated’s breeding, he’s an Into Mischief sired colt like Life Is Good, suggests he can run well in sprints and routes.
We’re predicting Highly Motivated and Freedom Fighter put on a show in the Gotham, which is why they’re so high on this week’s Derby Rankings. Make sure to check out the race even if you don’t plan on betting on it.
Life Is Good, Medina Spirit and Roman Centurian in Saturday’s San Felipe
Two of Baffert’s Kentucky Derby contenders, Life Is Good and Medina Spirit, hit Santa Anita’s racetrack on Saturday for the San Felipe. Life Is Good should win the race.
But Medina Spirit is no lock to finish second. Roman Centurian broke his maiden on January 3 in a mile and sixteenth race. He then finished second behind Medina Spirit in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis.
If Roman takes another forward step, and he could, the Simon Callaghan trainee may grab the place money from Medina Spirit. As with the Gotham, make sure to check out the San Felipe even if you don’t plan on betting it.