Essential Quality opens as 7-2fav in KDFW Pool 4

The Road to the Kentucky Derby is really starting to take shape...
The Road to the Kentucky Derby is really starting to take shape...
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Kentucky Derby Futures Pool 2021 #4
  • Horse
  • Opening Odds
  • Closing Odds

Horse

  • Caddo River
  • Candy Man Rocket
  • Collaborate
  • Concert Tour
  • Dream Shake
  • Essential Quality
  • Freedom Fighter
  • Greatest Honour
  • Highly Motivated
  • Hot Rod Charlie
  • Hush of a Storm
  • Keepmeinmind
  • Life is Good
  • Mandaloun
  • Medina Spirit
  • Midnight Bourbon
  • Prevalence
  • Proxy
  • Risk Taking
  • Roman Centurian
  • Rombauer
  • Spielberg
  • The Great One
  • Mutuel Field

Opening Odds

  • 15-1
  • 35-1
  • 30-1
  • 20-1
  • 30-1
  • 7-2
  • 30-1
  • 6-1
  • 20-1
  • 30-1
  • 50-1
  • 30-1
  • 4-1
  • 15-1
  • 30-1
  • 30-1
  • 20-1
  • 20-1
  • 30-1
  • 50-1
  • 50-1
  • 20-1
  • 50-1
  • 10-1

Closing Odds

  • 16-1
  • 71-1
  • 29-1
  • 17-1
  • 71-1
  • 5-1
  • 84-1
  • 6-1
  • 36-1
  • 53-1
  • 146-1
  • 30-1
  • 2-1
  • 17-1
  • 39-1
  • 52-1
  • 29-1
  • 41-1
  • 42-1
  • 94-1
  • 109-1
  • 63-1
  • 79-1
  • 7-1

The fourth Futures Pool for the 2021 Kentucky Derby is set to open on Friday and for the first time this cycle - a named horse has opened as the betting favorite rather than All Other Three-Year-Olds. It won't be a shocker to most that it is Brad Cox's Essential Quality that has been granted that status. Following a strong showing on a soggy track at Oaklawn in the Southwest Stakes last Saturday, it made it four from four for the Godolphin horse with three of those victories coming at Graded Stakes level. He isn't the runaway choice however.

This weekend sees three Derby Prep Races from across the country. Up in New York, Aqueduct hosts the Grade III Gotham. Highly Motivated and Freedom Fighter will be the two biggest names expected to fight for the points. The former has yet to step foot on the trail but his run at Keeneland on the Breeders' Cup Juvenile under-card in the Nyquist Stakes was nothing short of phenomenal. If he can carry that speed over a mile then he will quickly vault into real contention. He has a 20-1 opening price but a win in the race will shrink those odds considerably.

It is the same with Bob Baffert's Freedom Fighter who has been shipped cross-country. He's lightly raced but has a 30-1 opening price following a second-place finish to Concert Tour in the San Vicente early in February. Jerome winner Capo Kane isn't a named horse in the pool but if he follows up that run with a strong run on Saturday, he's another to at least have in mind.

Down in Florida, the Tampa Bay Derby hasn't attracted so many big names but Candy Man Rocket for Bill Mott is surely one very much on the radar. If he backs up his Sam F. Davis win with Tampa Bay Derby victory then expect that 30-1 number to drop somewhat. If a horse is to come out of nowhere to become a genuine Derby Contender then this is the race to be watching. A year ago King Guillermo stunned everyone by romping home as a 49-1 shot and until injury ruled him out, he was likely to go off as one of the horses in the bunch behind overwhelming betting favorite Tiz the Law.

The real action may well be coming from out west however as the San Felipe might only have seven entries but five of them are named in this Futures Pool and three of them are very interesting to me. Everyone knows about Life is Good and Medina Spirit but The Great One is a thoroughly exciting prospect.

Starting with Life is Good, he is the 4-1 second favorite in the pool and despite having only two races under his belt, the Bob Baffert trained horse has been at the forefront of the Derby 2021 thought-process for a while now. He broke is Maiden in sublime style back in November and he held off a fast-finish from stablemate Medina Spirit at the Sham.

Speaking of Medina Spirit, the 30-1 opening price is stunning to me. I like this horse a great deal and his guts in holding off a challenge down the final two furlongs of the Robert B. Lewis vaulted him briefly to number one in my rankings. The Great One was spectacular in finally breaking his Maiden at Santa Anita in January. This is a real wildcard horse who could be that late charger who bursts on to the scene. He has a 50-1 opening price but a strong run on Saturday over at Santa Anita will surely see that price collapse.

The fourth Kentucky Derby Futures Pool opens at Noon ET on Friday, March 5, 2021 and will remain open for 54 hours - therefore closing on Sunday, March 7,, 2021. You can bet on it with our betting partners listed below, so if you want to get in early on the 2021 Kentucky Derby, open an account with BetAmerica, TVG or TwinSpires today to take advantage of their sign-up offers for new customers as listed below.

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