Undefeated Essential Quality opens as 2-1 Kentucky Derby favorite

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Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and Champion 2-Year-Old Male Essential Quality leads the 20-horse field as the 2-1 favorite from the No. 14 position in the 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

The undefeated grey colt is trained by Brad Cox, who looks to become the first Louisville native to win the Derby.

Jockey Luis Saez seeks redemption after finishing first in the 2019 Derby aboard Maximum Security, whose historic Kentucky Derby disqualification snaked through courts for over a year. Saez didn’t ride in last year’s race.

Essential Quality is owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin, which has never fielded a Derby winner.

Bourbonic (30-1) will be ridden by Kendrick Carmouche, the first Black jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby since Kevin Krigger in 2013. A Black rider hasn’t won the Derby since Jimmy Winkfield went back-to-back in 1901 and 1902.

Bourbonic made waves when he pulled off the biggest Wood Memorial upset in history at 72-1 on April 3. He will start on the far outside in the No. 20 post position.

Trainer Vicki Oliver makes her Kentucky Derby debut with 50-1 longshot Hidden Stash from the No. 13. She becomes the first woman to saddle a Derby contender since Carla Gaines with Bolo in 2015. No female trainer has ever won in the race’s 147 editions.

The 2021 Kentucky Derby will air on Saturday, May 1 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available to stream live on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app. Post time for the 2021 Kentucky Derby is set for approximately 6:57 p.m. ET.

Related: How to watch the 2021 Kentucky Derby

NBC Sports will also air the Kentucky Oaks the day before on Friday, April 30 from 12 to 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

Fans will return to Churchill Downs after the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted last year’s race. The 146th Kentucky Derby was moved from Saturday, May 2 to Saturday, Sept. 5 and was run without fans in the stands.

Related: What to know about the 2021 Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby 2021 post positions, odds

Below are the post positions for the 2021 Kentucky Derby, including current odds as of April 27.

1. Known Agenda (6-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

2. Like the King (50-1)
Trainer: Wesley Ward
Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke

3. Brooklyn Strong (50-1)
Trainer: Daniel Velazquez
Jockey: Umberto Rispoli

4. Keepmeinmind (50-1)
Trainer: Robertino Diodoro
Jockey: David Cohen

5. Sainthood (50-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Corey Lanerie

6. O Besos (20-1)
Trainer: Greg Foley
Jockey: Marcelino Pedroza

7. Mandaloun (15-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux

8. Medina Spirit (15-1)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: John Velazquez

9. Hot Rod Charlie (8-1)
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Flavien Prat

10. Midnight Bourbon (20-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Mike Smith

11. Dynamic One (20-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Jose Ortiz

12. Helium (50-1)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Julien Leparoux

13. Hidden Stash (50-1)
Trainer: Vicki Oliver
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano

14. Essential Quality (2-1) – Morning-line favorite
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Luis Saez

15. Rock Your World (5-1)
Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Joel Rosario

16. King Fury (20-1)SCRATCHED
Trainer: Kenny McPeek
Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

17. Highly Motivated (10-1)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Javier Castellano

18. Super Stock (30-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

19. Soup and Sandwich (30-1)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

20. Bourbonic (30-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche

Watch the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Full coverage is also available on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.