The 147th Kentucky Derby has arrived at Churchill Downs for the first time on the first Saturday of May in two years. The Kentucky Derby was delayed to September of 2020 as a result of the Covid shutdown throughout the country. The race tracks were one of the select industries allowed to operate, but there were a lot of unknowns regarding logistics in the spring. Organizers were certainly hoiping that fans would be allowed to attend months later as well. That didn’t happen unfortunately, and the atmosphere was a lot different then your normal Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs saw a new revenue decline, naturally. Fans will be back at Churchill Downs in 2021, but restrictions will be in place and attendance is capped.
If I can provide any advice for Derby Day is that it’s important to treat the Kentucky Derby like any other race. This goes for the Super Bowl and any other big sporting event. Maintain solid bankroll management and don’t overreach because it’s the Kentucky Derby. If this is the only horse racing you bet on all year, like a lot do, then this advice shouldn’t be as strict. In my case, though, I treat the race like any other and play my usual unit. Keep in mind that the Kentucky Derby is not the only race. There are 14 races on the racecard. Take advantage of a free $25.00 wager at the BetOnline racebook above.
I’ve had a futures wager on the Kentucky Derby for a month now. It paid off as that horse has dropped in value since then. Concert Tour was a swing and a miss, but my runner today was catching much better odds, so a win and I’m well into the money. There are 14 races with a total of $7,320,000 in prize money available. Head below for our free Kentucky Derby pick and Churchill Downs selections for May 1, 2021.
What's your favorite #KyDerby tradition?
Celebrate that tradition and more tomorrow on NBC beginning at 2:30 pm ET. pic.twitter.com/4HsFWcZbti
— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 1, 2021
Race 8 – Pat Day Mile Stakes
Post Time: 2:48 p.m. EST
The $500,000 Pay Day Mile Stakes is one of the biggest races on Derby Day at Churchill Downs. This is a star-studded field with several horses that were serious Kentucky Derby contenders. Dream Shake, Jackie’s Warriors, and Prevalence have all looked good in big events this year. For the value, you have to look at Prevalence and Dream Shake in this race.
I respect Jackie’s Warrior a lot, but Dream Shake and Prevalence will likely fetch attractive odds. Prevalence was a perfect 2 for 2 going into the $750,000 Wood Memorial (Gr. 2) on April 3 at Aqueduct Racetrack. In his most recent win, Prevalence beat Southern Passage by 3 lengths in a $52,000 event. As a first-time runner, he beat Stage Raider by 8 ½ lengths handily.
In Prevalence’s biggest test, he finished 6th in the Wood Memorial. His connections demanded more than that, but that was a tough field and he’s capable of a lot more than he showed in that assignment. Prevalence has been in good form in morning workouts, but will likely be overlooked by handicappers in this event.
Dream Shake has finished 1st, 3rd, 3rd in his career and might be the most interesting prospect in this race. He opened as a 4 ¾ length winner in a $61,000 event on February 7. While he was kept out of the winner’s circle in the San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby, he still deserves respect for those performances. He showed 3rd in the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes (Gr. 2) behind only Medina Spirit and Life Is Good.
Life Is Good was a major Derby threat before an injury, while Medina Spirit is in the race for Bob Baffert. Dream Shake showed 3rd in his next and most recent race on April 3 behind Rock Your World and Medina Spirit in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (Gr. 1), two Kentucky Derby runners. He posted an electric workout time of 59.20 seconds at 5 furlongs on April 17 after the Santa Anita Derby. I like the value on No. 8.
Race 11 – Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes
Post Time: 5:27 p.m. EST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
The Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes is a $1,000,000 Grade 1 event on the grass. It’s a beautiful day in Louisville, so this will not be moved to the main track. I’m looking at Colonel Liam or Domestic Spending to get the win on Saturday at Churchill Downs. An honorable mention to Smooth Like Strait who completed a Pick 5 win for me last year.
Colonel Liam is a $1,200,000 horse that has lived up to expectations with 5 wins in 7 assignments. The young colt is coming off a hat-trick with three straight wins from December 26 to March 20. His last two wins were graded in the $1,000,000 Pegasus World Cup by a neck over Largent. It was close, but Colonel Liam was able to outkick the competition late.
He followed up with a 1 ½ length win in the $300,000 Muniz Memorial Classic Stakes (Gr. 2) on March 20. It’s hard to ignore Colonel Liam in this event, but Domestic Spending could be the best value pick in the race. Domestic Spending has finished 1st, 1st, 3rd, 1st, 1st in his career. He is coming off a Grade 1 win in the $300,000 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar on November 28.
Domestic Spending beat Smooth Like Strait by a head for an impressive performance. Colonel Liam was 4th in that race, the last race he didn’t win. Domestic Spending has been on a layoff, but workouts have been encouraging. In a competitive field, I’m spending my money on the best value horse in the event in Domestic Spending.
Race 12 – Kentucky Derby
Post Time: 6:57 p.m. EST
Distance:1 ¼ Miles
The 147th Kentucky Derby is a $3,000,000 race with 19 horses expected to participate. Note that King Fury has been scratched from the race with a high fever. Named after Tyson Fury, Tyson was attending the Kentucky Derby to watch him run. So much for that.
He was a longshot anyway. If you want to bet a couple longshots to win the Kentucky Derby, Highly Motivated at 10/1 and Hot Rod Charlie at 8/1 should suffice. Elsewhere, I like what Essential Quality and Rock Your World present in this race.
Rock Your World is a perfect three-time winner to open his career. He made his debut on January 1 at Santa Anita with an impressive performance for a 1 ¾ length win over Harbored Memories for a $61,000 purse. In his stakes debut in the $100,000 Pasadena Stakes, Rock Your World beat Cathkin Peak by 2 ¼ lengths after drawing clear in the stretch.
He quickly rose up the scale to the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (Gr. 1) for the biggest win of his career. Rock Your World cleared the favorite, Medina Spirit, by 4 ¼ lengths at the wire. Rock Your World is coming off three very encouraging workouts, competing 5 furlongs in 59.20 seconds twice and 59.60 seconds.
Essential Quality is coming off a five-timer with a perfect career going into the Kentucky Derby. The most feared runner in this field, Essential Quality has two Grade 1 wins, one Grade 3, and a Grade 2 win. He was a winner in the $400,000 Claieborne Breeders’ Futurity (Gr. 1) by 3 ½ lengths on October 3. That race set the tone for much more to come for Essential Quality.
He followed up to win the $2,000,000 TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for the biggest win of his career. Essential Quality topped Hot Rod Charlie by ¾ lengths in an impressive bid from Charlie. Favorite Jackie’s Warrior fell to 4th. In his most recent appearance, Essential Quality was a winner in the $800,000 Blue Grass Stakes prep race, defeating Highly Motivated by a neck.
Hot Rod Charlie and Highly Motivated are the only runners to come close to Essential Quality in the past. That tells me at 8/1 and 10/1 they might be worth a sprinkle. In the end, though, I think it’s going to be the same story with Essential Quality edging out at the wire. My early futures wager on Authentic last year paid off, and I’m holding a +600 ticket from before the Blue Grass on Essential Quality when he wasn’t a favorite. I’m sticking to my guns.