2021 Kentucky Derby Odds Favor ‘Essential Quality’ and ‘Life is Good’

  • Go to BetOnline for the latest Kentucky Derby odds on every horse in the field
  • Six-time Derby champion Bob Baffert has three top contenders in Life is Good (+1000), Concert Tour (+1600), and Medina Spirit (+2200)
  • Trainer Brad Cox hopes to extend his recent winning streak with Essential Quality (+1000) or Caddo River (+1600)

Returning to its traditional spot on the calendar, the 2021 Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday, May 1 at Churchill Downs. Essential Quality and Life is Good opened as the early co-favorites at +1000, but with the race still three months out, this is no time to bet chalk. After all, top contenders like Charlatan, Maxfield, and Art Collector all went down in the lead up to the event last year.

Instead, let’s look at the odds and pick out some ponies who offer big paydays.

Odds to win 2021 Kentucky Derby

More Horse Racing betting resources can be found here.

Essential Quality and Life is Good favored

The two-year-old champion from 2020, Essential Quality (+1000) won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November, but that event hasn’t been quite the harbinger one would expect with only two Juvenile winners crossing the Churchill Downs finish line first since 1984. Essential Quality is trained by Brad Cox, a Louisville native who won four Breeders’ Cup races in the fall.

While Cox has never had a starter in his hometown Kentucky Derby, Life is Good (+1000) is trained by the legendary Bob Baffert, who has claimed three of the last six Derby’s, and is mounted by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. Rather than bet on the favorites, however, let’s look at the other horses that Baffert and Cox have in the field.

Essential Qualityto win Kentucky Derby
Bet now
Life is Goodto win Kentucky Derby
Bet now

Kentucky Derby Longshots

Also trained by Cox, Caddo River (+1600) followed up an impressive 9½-length victory in a maiden race at 1 mile over the Churchill Downs track in November with a wire-to-wire 10-length win at the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park to start the 2021 season.

At +1600, Concert Tour is another contender out of Baffert’s barn. While the colt has competed only once (an easy 6 furlong win at Santa Anita in January), as the son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, he is well-bred for the distance at Churchill Downs and is ridden by Joel Rosario, a top-tier jockey with a 2013 Derby win aboard Orb.

Baffert will also be running Medina Spirit (+2200), who only finished a length behind stablemate Life Is Good in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in December. After the race, Baffert said the horse’s toughness down the stretch reminded him of Silver Charm, his first Kentucky Derby winner 24 years ago.

With a couple of contenders in the field, Baffert could break a tie with Ben Jones for the most Derby wins of all time if he returns to the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs for the seventh time.

Concert Tourto win Kentucky Derby
Bet now

See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:



50% up to $250

Bet Now



50% up to $1,000

Bet Now



125% Sports Bonus – up to $2,500

Bet Now

Steve Dominey

Steve has almost 15 years of experience in marketing, PR and sports television. After acquiring a Journalism degree from Carleton University, he assembled highlight packs for Canada's most-watched sports network (TSN) before transitioning to a career in communications. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.