The thoroughbred industry isn’t waiting. The first two preps for the First Saturday in May happen on January 1 and January 2. On New Year’s Day, three-year-olds run in the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, New York. Then on Saturday, sophomore equines hit the track at Santa Anita for the Sham Stakes. 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.
Road to 2021 Kentucky Derby: Jerome and Sham First New Year Preps
2021 Kentucky Derby
- When: Saturday, May 1, 2021
- Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY
2021 Kentucky Derby Top 20
- Essential Quality
- Jackie’s Warrior
- Get Her Number
- Sittin On Go
- Brooklyn Strong
- Hot Rod Charlie
- Midnight Bourbon
- Reinvestment Risk
- Super Stock
- Ten for Ten
- The Great One
- Smiley Sobotka
- Arabian Prince
- Known Agenda
- Pickin’ Time
Jerome and Sham could knock a few horses off the Top 20 list
Just five horses will run in the Jerome Stakes on Friday. Capo Kane, Swill, Eagle Orb, Original, and Hold the Salsa will enter the starting gate. Swill is a massive 7/5 morning line choice followed by Eagle Orb at 9/5.
Among the two, Swill looks tough. After breaking his maiden, the Munnings sired colt finished fourth behind Keepmeinmind, Smiling Sobotka, and Arabian Prince in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club going 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs.
Five horses are also expected to run in the Sham. No doubt, the even money or worse favorite will be Bob Baffert trained Life is Good. An Into Mischief sired colt from a Distorted Humor mare, Life is Good broke his maiden at 6 ½ furlongs. He ran the first half in 44.84 and then coasted to a 10 length win.
Because of his breeding, Life is Good figures to get better the longer he runs. Make Life is Good your early Derby horse should he dominate his opponents going 1 1/8 miles in the Sham on Saturday.
Don’t expect to see Essential Quality, or Keepmeinmind any time soon
Don’t expect to see the winner and the third place finishers in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile any time soon. Keepmeinmind ran in the Kentucky Jockey Club, and won, on November 28.
The Robertino Diodoro runner calls Laoban his sire. Keepmeinmind’s mother, Inclination, is from 1998 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop.
BC Juvenile winner Essential Quality is undefeated, trained by Brad Cox, and is owned by powerful Godolphin. He’s also sired by Tapit and is from an Elusive Quality mare. If you wanted to know why Essential Quality is at +900 on MyBookie to win the Kentucky Derby, those are your answers. Cox is going to handle Essential Quality with kid gloves. There’s no reason to rush the Godolphin runner because he probably has enough points to get into the Derby field even if he doesn’t run well in a prep.
Hot Rod Charlie calls two time Derby winner Doug O’Neill his trainer. O’Neil has circled the Robert B. Lewis Stakes on January 30 as Charlie’s next race. Bob Baffert is likely to run his other Derby contender, Spielberg, in the Robert B. Lewis.
Essential Quality an underlay at 9-to-1 but he looks solid
At 9/1, Essential Quality is an underlay. It takes a lot to get a horse ready for the Kentucky Derby, much less win it. Quality, no doubt, should be the favorite, but Life is Good will dominate on Saturday unless there’s something wrong with him.
Breeding suggests Life is Good has the goods to win the Derby. Bob Baffert has won the Run for the Roses six times. Brad Cox has never won the Kentucky Derby.
Other horses that look solid are Hot Rod Charlie and Spielberg. Doug O’Neil is an excellent trainer while in the past Baffert has won the Derby with his “B” horse, and after Saturday, Spielberg will be his “B” horse.