2021 Kentucky Derby one-liners
If you’re finding it challenging to sift through the Kentucky Derby (G1) contenders this year, you’re not alone.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, a two-time Derby winner who has four going in the race, sees a well-matched field at Churchill Downs.
“It looks like a fairly wide-open year. I don’t see anybody I’m really afraid of. But on the other hand, I don’t see anybody I’d leave out.”
After all the analysis, the final verdict rests as much on intuition as on data. So here’s my summary judgment of each runner, in post-position order.
#1 Known Agenda
Newfound dominance since adding blinkers, but must deal with the traffic challenges of the rail post.
#2 Like the King
Improving sort won a weaker prep on synthetic and has something to prove on dirt.
#3 Brooklyn Strong
Training over the winter was compromised by illness and bad weather, and it’s asking a lot off a fifth in his belated prep.
Affinity for Churchill and blinkers off might help him run back to juvenile form.
Consistency could carry him more than his bare form suggests.
#6 O Besos
Closer figures to gain late but can’t drop too far back and needs luck in trip.
Eye-catching works point to a rebound, although the flop in his final prep, six weeks out, isn’t textbook.
#8 Medina Spirit
Tough battler can be outkicked but can’t be outgamed.
#9 Hot Rod Charlie
Tactical type should work out an advantageous trip.
#10 Midnight Bourbon
Pedigree hints we haven’t seen his best yet.
#11 Dynamic One
Wide trip might have cost him last time, but he remains a work in progress.
Unbeaten colt overcame adversity in his latest, but tough to tackle this off an eight-week layoff.
#13 Hidden Stash
Flashes of talent and form over the track won’t be enough, unless he finally gets his racing brain together.
#14 Essential Quality
Champion has gotten the job done every time, although overall impression is more solid than spectacular.
#15 Rock Your World
Star quality from day one, if raw ability can offset inexperience.
#16 King Fury
Pattern so far has been impressing versus lesser, only to disappoint on the big stage.
#17 Highly Motivated
Efforts in defeat look like beneficial stepping stones to this main objective.
#18 Super Stock
Perfect-trip winner last time faces a much more complex dynamic.
#19 Soup and Sandwich
Mental part of the game needs work.
72-1 shot’s last-to-first surge, in a slow race, could be the sign of a colt getting good at the right time.
Good luck and enjoy Derby 147!