Kentucky Derby Horses

The Kentucky Derby is scheduled for April 30th, 2021.

This article previews the Kentucky Derby horses for the next running of the race in 2021. The Kentucky Derby is the most prestigious horse race in the United States. It is the first leg of the US Triple Crown, completed by the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

The race takes place on the first Saturday in May. The host track is Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The track is dirt and the distance is 10 furlongs. Only horses aged three are eligible to run in the Kentucky Derby.

It is known as “The Run to the Roses” because roses are placed over the winning horse after the race. The attendance is usually the biggest for any single race day in North America.

Kentucky Derby Horses 2021

The Kentucky Derby horses for 2021 are reviewed in this article. The Kentucky Derby is one of the Classics in US horse racing. It mirrors the Classics in the United Kingdom in that only horses aged three can take part.

Some of the most likely Kentucky Derby entries prospects can be seen on the leaderboard. The qualifying races leading up to the derby have not yet ended, so there is still a chance for more horses to earn points.

Much can happen in racing leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Some possible runners may improve their rating and qualify for the race. Other possible entries will have raced as two-year-old juveniles.

Here is a selection of Kentucky Derby horses that could line up in the 2021 race. Below you can find the current Kentucky Derby Horses Leaderboard, based on the number of points gained during the Road to Kentucky Derby challenge races. Please note that this is not the final lineup and the list is subject to change.

Kentucky Derby Leaderboard

Here are the top Kentucky Derby point leaders as of July 2020:

  1. Tiz the Law – 272 points.
  2. Authentic – 200 points.
  3. Honor A.P. – 120 points.
  4. Ny Traffic – 110 points.
  5. Art Collector – 100 points.
  6. King Guillermo – 90 points.
  7. Dr Post – 80 points.
  8. Ete Indien – 74 points.
  9. Modernist – 70 points.
  10. Mischevious Alex – 50 points.
  11. Country Grammer – 50 points.
  12. Enforceable – 43 points.
  13. Swiss Skydiver – 40 points.
  14. Shivaree – 40 points.
  15. Max Player – 40 points.
  16. Major Fed – 38 points.
  17. Storm the Court – 36 points.
  18. Thousand Words – 33 points.
  19. Anneau d’Or – 32 points.
  20. Sole Volante – 30 points.

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Kentucky Derby Horses
Photo credit: Bill Brine on / CC BY

Kentucky Derby Picks & Predictions

Kentucky Derby betting attracts a great deal of interest. Bookmaker publishes ante-post (futures) betting about nine months ahead of the race. The odds are based on how horses have performed as two-year-olds or potential runners who have the breeding to be competitive in the race.

Futures Kentucky derby betting is fraught with danger. If the backed horse is withdrawn ante-post stakes are lost. Some books may offer non-runner/no bet nearer race day.

This Kentucky Derby betting concession means stakes are returned for bets on horses that do not run. Futures odds are often better than the odds on the day of the race but there is inherent risk.

Ky Derby picks are difficult to work out six months ahead of the race. You will be able to find the odds once all entries are announced on various online horse betting platforms. TVG is one of the bookmakers for horse racing and the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

Here is more information about the four leading Kentucky Derby entries that could be your Ky Derby picks:

Tiz The Law

The connections of Tiz The Law won the Kentucky Derby in 2003 and they have another leading contender for the race. Tiz The Law has won both his starts and was impressive in winning the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park by four lengths. The horse has stamina in his breeding but did not run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to prove that point. This horse is currently the leader after having won the Belmont Stakes.

Eight Rings

Eight Rings is trained by Bob Baffert who has won the Kentucky Derby five times. The horse has stamina in his pedigree but has to deliver on the track in the Kentucky Derby in May 2021. Eight Rings won his first race by six lengths but was disappointing in the Del Mar Futurity and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The trainer has the ability to make eight Rings a leading colt in 2021.


Maxfield won his first race, at Churchill Downs, and then won the Breeders’ Futurity by five and a half lengths. The horse suffered a minor injury which meant he missed the Breeders Cup Juvenile.

Maxfield is bred to excel at the Classic distances in 2021. On form and breeding, Maxfield is one of the potential 2021 Kentucky Derby winners.

Dennis’ Moment

Dennis’ Moment stumbled at the start of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile which cost the horse any chance of winning the race. He won his debut race by over 19 lengths and was then an easy winner of the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Dennis’ Moment has the tactical speed and a strong finish which makes the horse one of the main Kentucky Derby contenders.

Bettors who want to place bets in the 2021 Kentucky Derby futures market should consider Dennis’ Moment because the horse has the form and there is some value in the odds.

However, the horse must get to post next May so stakes should be kept to a minimum. The Kentucky Derby entries betting will take shape after the trials at the start of the 2021 season.

Kentucky Derby Winners 2019

Here is the result of the Kentucky Derby in 2019:

Position Horse Trainer Jockey Odds
First Country House William I. Mott Flavien Prat 65.20
Second Code of Honor Claude R. McGaughey John Velazquez 14.40
Third Tacitus William I. Mott Jose Ortiz 5.80

Maximum Security was first past the post but was subject to the first disqualification due to a breach in the race in the history of the Kentucky Derby. The horse interfered with several other runners after swerving on the final turn and the Stewards had no alternative but to demote the horse to 17th place.

Bookmakers did not complain because the horse that was awarded the winner was not one of the Kentucky Derby favorites in 2019. Country House is William Mott’s first Derby winner.

Past Winners of the Kentucky Derby

Here are the Kentucky Derby winners from 2009 to 2018:

Year Horse Trainer Jockey
2009 Mine That Bird Bennie L. Woolley Calvin Borel
2010 Super Saver Todd Pletcher Calvin Borel
2011 Animal Kingdom Graham Motion John Velazquez
2012 I’ll Have Another Doug O’Neill Mario Gutierrez
2013 Orb Claude R. McGaughey Joel Rosario
2014 California Chrome Art Sherman Victor Espinoza
2015 American Pharoah Bob Baffert Victor Espinoza
2016 Nyquist Doug O’Neill Mario Gutierrez
2017 Always Dreaming Todd Pletcher John Velazquez
2018 Justify Bob Baffert Mike E. Smith

The Road to Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby 2021 entries field will have a maximum of 20 runners. These horses qualify by earning points in the 2019 Road to Kentucky Derby. The Main Road consists of 34 races in North America and one in Dubai.
The seven most important trials for the race are as follows:

The winners of these races are almost certain to get one of the Kentucky Derby post positions. There is also a European Road and Japan Road which allows horses trained in other parts of the world the chance to be Kentucky Derby entries.

Kentucky Derby History

The Kentucky Derby was first run in 1875. It talks the name from the Epsom English Derby which is the most prestigious Flat race in the world. The original race distance was one mile and four furlongs which replicated the English version.

The race was shortened to its current distance of 10 furlongs in 1896. The Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes joined with the Kentucky derby to create the Triple Crown. Only 13 horses have won the three races in the same season.

The Kentucky Derby is the most important Flat race in North America and Derby Day is one of the most popular sporting events in the country. The race attracts a huge crowd at Churchill Downs and a big television audience.

The race is known as the most exciting two minutes in sports. The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown and there is always speculation about how the winner will perform in the other two Classic races.

Here are the current records for the Kentucky Derby:

  • Leading Owner: Calumet Farms with 8 wins (1941 to 1968)
  • Leading Trainer: Ben A. Jones with 6 wins (1938 to 1952)
  • Leading Jockey: Eddie Arcaro with 5 wins (1938 to 1952) and Bill Hartack with 5 wins (1957 to 1969)

No horse has won the race more than once because only horses aged three are eligible.

The Kentucky Oaks

Colts, geldings, and fillies can run in the Kentucky Derby. Geldings are not eligible for the English Derby due to the race’s importance to the breeding industry. Fillies get a weight allowance in the Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Oaks is a Grade 1 race for fillies aged three. The race is run on the Friday before Saturday’s Derby. The Kentucky race is the US equivalent of the English Oaks at Epsom. The race distance of the Kentucky Oaks is nine furlongs. The race is the most prestigious female horse race in North America. It was first run in 1865, like the Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about the Kentucky Derby:

When is the Kentucky Derby in 2021?

The Kentucky Derby usually run on the first Saturday in May. This year the event will start on April 30th and finish on Saturday, May 1st, 2021.

What city is the Kentucky Derby in?

The race takes place in Louisville.

How long Is The Kentucky Derby?

The race distance is one mile and two furlongs.

How many horses run in the Kentucky Derby?

The maximum field for the Kentucky Derby is 20 runners.

Who is the favourite for the Kentucky Derby?

Tiz The Law is the current favourite for the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

Who won the Kentucky Derby last year?

Maximum Security was first past the post in the 2020 Kentucky Derby but was disqualified so Count House was promoted to first place.

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