The Kentucky Derby 2021 Expert Picks And Projections

A few months before the Kentucky Derby 2021 and with more races scheduled for the Derby Prep Race, experts have already chosen their top 10 picks to contend on the Derby. There are even early favorites among the contenders as they travel the Road to the Kentucky Derby this year.

Six experts have already given their picks for the Derby. Each of them has a different opinion for each horse. To sum up all their picks, we will create our list of expert top 10 picks by including horses who have been selected multiple times.

Although there are 20 spots available in the race, these ten horses are the ones who stand-out and were included in more than one expert list in no particular order.

Essential Quality

Essential Quality topped the expert’s picks for the Kentucky Derby 2021. He was also the early favorite amongst the horses who competed for a spot in the Derby. Being undefeated in all three races he participated in, it is no wonder why he keeps on appearing in each expert picks.

Life is Good

The second horse that can be found in all the expert picks list is Life is Good. Life is Good is now among the top three favorites on the latest odds board on the list. Aside from the fact that he is a Bob Baffert trained horse, Life is Good is also undefeated from his debut race in the maiden race at Del Mar and in the Sham Stake this January.

Hot Rod Charlie

Hot Rod Charlie is the second-best player in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile after Essential Quality. He had a huge odds of 94-1 during the BC Juvenile race as he is considered one of the favorites. His improvements after his blinkers are added very notably. He is also the winner in the one-mile maiden race at Santa Anita last October.


Keepmeinmind has the second-highest points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby after winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and finished second in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity. He also participated in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race, where he finished as a third runner-up.

Midnight Bourbon

Midnight Bourbon’s performance is undeniably improving as he shows off significant ability during the Lecomte Stake, where he finishes as the winner. Since the Iroquois Stakes, where he became the second runner-up, and in the Champagne Stakes, where he ended in third place, Midnight Bourbon has shown he is worthy of earning a spot in the Derby.

Jackie’s Warrior

Another horse that was chosen by experts is Jackie’s Warrior. He is the fourth-highest point earner in the Derby Prep Race leaderboard as he won the Champagne Stakes and ended fourth in the BC Juvenile.

Prime Factor

Prime Factor is not on the top 20 leaderboards in the Road to the Kentucky Derby, but he shows up multiple times in the lists. Prime Factor is the second-best horse from China Horse Club / Winstar Group after Life is Good.

Highly Motivated

One of the horses making noticeable moves in the Derby Prep Races Highly Motivated was the winner in the Nyquist Stakes (Black Type) at Keeneland last November.

Caddo River

Caddo River has shown a great performance at the Smarty Jones Stakes this month as he went straight for the win and demolished his rivals in the race. The Smarty Jones Stakes is one of the qualifying rounds for the Kentucky Derby, and Caddo River will be given a point accordingly.

Senor Buscador

Senor Buscador proved to the audiences last December that he is one of the deserving contenders for the Kentucky Derby this year as his breakout performance in the Remington Springboard Mile Stakes. He dominated the race and claimed the win that made him undefeated.

Expert Predictions

Life is Good emerged as the most favorite to win the Kentucky Derby 2021, especially with bettors. He had the most interest in individual betting with an odds of 5.4/1 in November last year.

Life is Good even improved his racing background when he won the Sham Stakes this month and not to mention the dynamic duo behind his achievements, the Hall of Famer trainer Bob Baffert and his rider Mike Smith.

Baffert is the trainer of last year’s Derby winner Authentic who is also one of the most famous horses.  His performance and background should not be taken for granted, which is why he is the favorite in the expert’s predictions of who will dominate the Kentucky Derby contenders list.

Another favorite this year is Essential Quality. With all his achievements that make him undefeated, he has a huge chance of winning the Derby this year. He also proved that he could recover well off the pace, which is his advantage among the other top contenders.


These picks are based on the list given by six experts and were put together to provide a summary for the fans. The favorites, predictions, and picks can still be changed as we are nearing the Kentucky Derby 2021 race.


John Bman
John Bman
Founder and Owner of Tireball Sports.

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