Kentucky Derby Profile: Highly Motivated

Javier Castellano gets the ride on Highly Motivated for the 2021 Kentucky Derby
Javier Castellano gets the ride on Highly Motivated for the 2021 Kentucky Derby

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Both our in-house handicapper take a look at all the horses in the Kentucky Derby.

All their results over the past 12 months are listed below along with their Morning Line Odds and the full field of runners for the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby.

This piece is all about Highly Motivated who may well be our editors top pick when all is said and done. He's got Post Position 17 and our two guys are split on his chances...

Highly Motivated Results
  • Date
  • Race
  • Track
  • Distance
  • Finish

Date

  • April 3, 2021
  • March 6, 2021
  • November 6, 2020
  • September 27, 2020
  • August 29, 2020

Race

  • Blue Grass Stakes (G2)
  • Gotham Stakes (G3)
  • Nyquist Stakes
  • MSW
  • MSW

Track

  • Keeneland
  • Aqueduct
  • Keeneland
  • Belmont Park
  • Saratoga

Distance

  • 1m 1/8
  • 1m
  • 6.5f
  • 6.5f
  • 6f

Finish

  • 2nd
  • 3rd
  • 1st
  • 1st
  • 2nd
Kentucky Derby Entries & Post Positions 2021
  • Post Position
  • Horse
  • Morning Line Odds
  • Jockey
  • Trainer

Post Position

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10.
  • 11.
  • 12.
  • 13.
  • 14.
  • 15.
  • 16.
  • 17.
  • 18.
  • 19.
  • 20.

Horse

  • Known Agenda
  • Like the King
  • Brooklyn Strong
  • Keepmeinmind
  • Sainthood
  • O Besos
  • Mandaloun
  • Medina Spirit
  • Hot Rod Charlie
  • Midnight Bourbon
  • Dynamic One
  • Helium
  • Hidden Stash
  • Essential Quality
  • Rock Your World
  • King Fury
  • Highly Motivated
  • Super Stock
  • Soup and Sandwich
  • Bourbonic

Morning Line Odds

  • 6-1
  • 50-1
  • 50-1
  • 50-1
  • 50-1
  • 20-1
  • 15-1
  • 15-1
  • 8-1
  • 20-1
  • 20-1
  • 50-1
  • 50-1
  • 2-1fav
  • 5-1
  • 20-1
  • 10-1
  • 30-1
  • 30-1
  • 30-1

Jockey

  • Irad Ortiz
  • Drayden Van Dyke
  • Umberto Rispoli
  • David Cohen
  • Corey Lanerie
  • Marcelino Pedroza
  • Florent Geroux
  • John Velazquez
  • Flavien Prat
  • Mike Smith
  • Jose Ortiz
  • Julien Leparoux
  • Rafael Bejarano
  • Luis Saez
  • Joel Rosario
  • Brian Hernandez Jr.
  • Javier Castellano
  • Ricardo Santana Jr.
  • Tyler Gaffalione
  • Kendrick Carmouche

Trainer

  • Todd Pletcher
  • Wesley Ward
  • Daniel Velazquez
  • Robertino Diodoro
  • Todd Pletcher
  • Greg Foley
  • Brad Cox
  • Bob Baffert
  • Doug O'Neill
  • Steve Asmussen
  • Todd Pletcher
  • Mark Casse
  • Victoria Oliver
  • Brad Cox
  • John Sadler
  • Kenny McPeek
  • Chad Brown
  • Steve Asmussen
  • Mark Casse
  • Todd Pletcher
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Sean's Take...

While he’s a fashionable pick to turn the tables on Essential Quality, the horse who beat him last out in the G2 Blue Grass, I have a hard time seeing it with him. Highly Motivated had everything go his way in the Blue Grass on the front end, and even though failing to stave off the undefeated Essential Quality is no major indictment, I thought last time was the time for him given his affinity for Keeneland. Things certainly won’t be as easy in the Derby, where the waters also get much deeper, and he’s not one I’m taking seriously as a win candidate.

J.N's Take...

The tactical planning of Chad Brown when it comes to spotting runners can, at times, be unparalleled. He made the tough decision to send this son of Into Mischief to Keeneland for the Blue Grass Stakes (G2), knowing full well that Cox’s ace was waiting for him at the green-clad Starting Gate. It was a wise move to enter, to have Javier Castellano aboard once again, and for the pair to go to the lead.

For the first time in this colt’s career, he circumvented a pair of turns. Now, the distance test gets even more challenging with the Derby, but Brown is bullish that it should not be an issue. It is obvious that his fitness level is superb, and now that Authentic shattered the notice that “Mischiefs” cannot go long, the sky is the limit.

If Castellano can keep near Luis Saez and his celebrated mount, then he might have a shot in the end to go after the score. Klaravich Stables continues to operate at such a high-level when it comes to their stock. They load and reload at an astonishing rate. Can the red “KS” take this for Brown and Co. all the way to the winner’s podium? Like the Godolphin story with Cox and Saez, these connections have not won a Derby either!  

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Kentucky Derby 2021 Racecard

14
PP 14

Essential Quality

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: Luis Saez /
  • Trainer: Brad Cox /
Morning Line Odds

Brad Cox finally has a Derby horse (two actually) but he rolls into Churchill Downs with the favorite. Undefeated and oozes class. 2-1 is short for me but our turf-man has him as his selection.

15
PP 15

Rock Your World

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: Joel Rosario /
  • Trainer: John Sadler /
Morning Line Odds

A very very impressive winner of the Santa Anita Derby. Installed as the 5-1 second-favorite. Has only run once on dirt and blew away a good field. Not entirely sure if he's the real deal but I know he's got a real chance.

1
PP 1

Known Agenda

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: Irad Ortiz /
  • Trainer: Todd Pletcher /
Morning Line Odds

Tricky inside Post Position. Arguably the most effected by the PP draw. 6-1 on the Morning Line should drift. Not heavily fancied by the HR.net team

9
PP 9

Hot Rod Charlie

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: Flavien Prat /
  • Trainer: Doug O'Neill /
Morning Line Odds

A California invader who impressively took out the Louisiana Derby. He may well provide the early speed. Win contender.

17
PP 17

Highly Motivated

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: Javier Castellano /
  • Trainer: Chad Brown /

Plenty of buzz surrounding this Into Mischief colt. Went stride for stride with Essential Quality at the Blue Grass. He will be our editor's pick.

7
PP 7

Mandaloun

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: Florent Geroux /
  • Trainer: Brad Cox /

If you are looking at a value play from the middle of the odds then Mandaloun may well be it. That clunker at the Louisiana Derby has people worried but if was just one of those days - 15-1 could be long.

8
PP 8

Medna Spirit

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: John Velazquez /
  • Trainer: Bob Baffert /

Bob Baffert's only Derby horse. Was at #1 with our in-house handicapper for the final few weeks of the Prep season. Our editor likes him too. Real game horse who won't let anybody down. 15-1 screams value.

11
PP 11

Dynamic One

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: Jose Ortiz /
  • Trainer: Todd Pletcher /

If Dynamic One is in the mix for the Derby then it'll be quite the surprise. Runner-up to stablemate Bourbonic in the Wood Memorial. Real long-shot.

16
PP 16

King Fury

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr. /
  • Trainer: Kenny McPeek /

Kenny McPeek is a darn good trainer. This horse is getting better with every race. Can he get in and among the front-runners coming down the stretch? I'm dubious but you can't just rule him out.

10
PP 10

Midnight Bourbon

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: Mike Smith /
  • Trainer: Steve Asmussen /

Plenty of tactical speed for a nice horse who seems a step below the top contenders. Could win if everything - and I mean everything - falls his way. Most likely to be in the mix for the exotics if anything however.

Show All Runners
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