The field break from the starting gate during the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP
The Kentucky Derby is one of the most wagered on events in the world every year for 147 years now. But because horse racing is largely wagered on using pari-mutuel wagering, the odds on each horse can change dramatically on derby day, even in the final seconds before the race starts. Sometimes it’s better to bet the horse beforehand in the futures market. Here are some horses that fit that bill.
2021 Kentucky Derby
Future Value Picks
Saturday, May 1, 2021 – 06:30 PM EDT at Churchill Downs
You might see this name and think I’ve lost my mind. He’s the favorite. That is exactly why he is on this list. He is currently +275 at BetOnline and most other books as well. There is zero chance you get this horse at those odds on Derby Day. None. He will be 2-1 at best and probably closer to 8-5. For a horse that is undefeated and a rightful favorite in this race, this price represents value that you will not get on May 1. If you’re an Essential Quality fan, bet him sooner than later.
Louis Saez, riding Essential Quality, celebrates after winning the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Bobby Ellis/Getty Images/AFP
Trainer Bob Baffert lost his top two Derby contenders along the trail to Churchill Downs, but Medina Spirit made his way there. He is not one of Baffert’s top contenders in recent years. He is a quality horse for sure, but his bona fides don’t compare with some of the others in this race. Having said that he is currently +1200 in the futures market and again, there is no way the betting public lets a Bob Baffert horse go off at double digits in the Kentucky Derby. It simply won’t happen, so if you have any inclination towards this horse, bet him at +1200.
Soup And Sandwich
This was a horse I liked coming into the Florida Derby back in March. He was lightly raced for trainer Mark Casse, but showed steady improvement along the way. That is what you like to see, a horse that is improving and shows the trajectory to peak on the first Saturday in May. Soup and Sandwich looks like he could be that horse to me. Mark Casse rarely puts horses in spots where they are in over their heads and this horse ran a great race at Gulfstream Park for the Florida Derby, losing to Known Agenda. At a price of +2500, this horse is an absolute bargain. Not only will he go off at odds half of this on Kentucky Derby day, but this is a legitimate win contender for the 147th Run for the Roses.
The final entrant on my list is Helium. Another trainee of Mark Casse, Helium has run three times and won all three times. He has an impressive win in a Maiden Special Weight up at Woodbine, then came right back with a Stakes win at Woodbine and finally was an impressive winner in the Grade Two Tampa Bay Derby. The horse has done absolutely nothing wrong in his short career and nobody will be talking about him on Saturday, May 1 in Louisville, Kentucky either. Currently he sits on the future market at +3300, which is such a steal it isn’t even funny. He is undefeated, has a great trainer and a solid rider. There is very little to dislike about Helium, least of which is his price.