We’re still more than five months away from the 2021 Kentucky Derby, but it already seems like bettors have found their horse for next year’s Run for the Roses.
Betting opened at noon ET Thursday at Churchill Downs on the first futures pool for next year’s Derby, and during the first three days, one horse saw its odds shorten substantially.
Not surprisingly, it’s a Bob Baffert-trained colt.
Thanks to a commanding 9-1/2-length wire-to-wire victory in his debut Sunday at Del Mar (see tweet below), Life is Good saw his odds go from 15-1 in the morning line to 9-2 as of Sunday morning.
Life Is Good… really really good.
— Del Mar Racetrack (@DelMarRacing) November 22, 2020
Baffert got his record-tying sixth Derby win in September with Authentic. Life is Good, like Authentic, was sired by Into Mischief.
And just like most years, Baffert doesn’t just have one Derby contender. Also among the field of 22 entries is Savile Row, who currently sits at 40-1.
Note, none of these horses are guaranteed to run in the Derby nor will any refunds be issued unless the race is not run or does not produce an official winner.
Wagering on this round ends at 6 pm ET Sunday. The parimutuel pool includes 22 horses, as well as field selections for all other 3-year-old colts and all fillies.
The betting selections can be found here.
Breeders’ Cup Champion Second Choice
The current second selection on the Churchill Downs board is Essential Quality. Earlier this month, the Brad Cox-trained colt won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. In that race at Keeneland, he rallied from more than two lengths off the lead at the top of the stretch, where he was in fourth place, to win by three-quarters of a length. It marked his third win, and second Grade 1 stakes win, in three starts.
He overcame a lot today,” said Cox, after the Breeders’ Cup win. “He’s a nice colt. Distance is no issue with him. He’ll run all day.”
In some ways, the odds are stacked against Essential Quality. Incredibly, no Louisville-born trainer has ever made it to the winner’s circle in the 146 runnings of the classic race. Cox is hoping he can change that history. Since the Breeders’ Cup originated in 1984, only two Juvenile winners have gone on to win the Derby.
Essential Quality started as the morning-line favorite at 10-1, and his odds have dropped to 7-1 as of Sunday morning.
Three Horses in Next Tier
After Life is Good and Essential Quality, there is currently a pack of three horses in the next tier whose odds as of Sunday morning ranged between 17-1 and 20-1.
Jackie’s Warrior finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but before that the Steve Asmussen-trained colt won his first four races, including three graded stakes. He started at morning-line odds of 20-1 and was priced at 17-1 Sunday.
Highly Motivated has yet to race in a graded stakes race, but he has two wins in three starts. The Chad Brown-trained colt ran 6-1/2 furlongs at Keeneland earlier this month in a track record 1:14.99. Also sired by Into Mischief, Highly Motivated started at 15-1 and is now at 19-1.
After finishing third in the Juvenile, Keepmeinmind returned to the track Saturday to win the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. Trained by Roberto Diodoro, Keepmeinmind stated at 20-1 and that’s where he stayed as of Sunday morning.
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