The eagerly anticipated Kentucky Derby will be one of the horse racing highlights of 2021, after the 2020 event was put back a few months and then run behind closed doors.
What do you need to know about this race?
When and Where Will It Be Held?
The Kentucky Derby will be held on May 1 this year, It is the 147th version of this race and its move back to early May means that it is once again the first leg in the sought-after American Triple Crown. In 2020, it was moved to September to put it in the unusual situation of being the second leg of the Triple Crown.
The location will once again be the historic Churchill Downs in Louisville. It is run over 1 1/4 miles, which you might see referred to as 10 furlongs. Only three-year thoroughbreds can compete in this grade 1 race.
This is part of the overall Kentucky Derby Festival, with other races taking place here in the lead-up to the main event.
How Can I See the Race?
With millions of people keen to watch the action unfold, most people will settle for seeing it on TV. The Kentucky Debry is shown on NBC, who also have a mobile app that will let you stream it.
The horses line up just before 7pm for the start, and you should remember that the Run for the Roses is known as the most exciting two minutes in sports because it only lasts this long.
The good news is that crowds will be allowed in this year. The latest reports suggest that up to 50% of the normal capacity will be allowed, so it is possible that up to 30,000 fans get to enjoy the experience at Churchill Downs.
Which Horses Will Take Part?
All of the horses that run at this event will have qualified through a long series of trials. More than 30 races are run in the lead-up, giving the horses the chance to earn points towards qualifying for the Kentucky Derby. The top 4 finishers at each race win points.
At the end of the qualifying series, the horses with the best points totals are those that will take a place. Some will also earn their place by winning big events like the Arkansas Derby.
A total of 20 horses will make up the field for the big day, with foreign horses also able to qualify through Japanese and European versions of the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
You can click here to check the contenders for the race: https://www.twinspires.com/kentuckyderby/contenders
Who Is the Favorite for the Kentucky Derby 2021?
It is still very early to know which horses will be the favorites among gamblers this year. However, one of the names to feature heavily so far is Greatest Honour, who is trained by Shug McGaughey and won the Fountain of Youth Stakes. He became more heavily-backed when it was revealed that an injury to Life is Good is going to keep that popular horse from running in the Kentucky Derby.
Another horse that has attracted a lot of attention is Essential Quality, who is the current Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion and is trained by Brad Cox. The Bob Baffert-trained Concert Tour has also moved to near the top of the favorites list following an impressive victory in the $1 million Rebel Stakes. Todd Pletcher recently saw his Known Agenda horse clinch a place at Churchill Downs by reaching 100 points.
With a few races still to go to decide the final places, the odds are likely to shift as we get closer to May 1. What seems certain is that we can look forward to an exciting Kentucky Derby where a few horses all have a great chance to write their names into the history books.