what horses are racing in the kentucky derby 2021

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May. It is the most prestigious horse race in the United States and one of the most famous in the world. The race is open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds and is run over a distance of 1.25 miles. The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I race, which means that it is the highest level of race for Thoroughbreds in the United States.

The Kentucky Derby is a very challenging race, and only the best horses in the world are able to win it. The race is often won by horses that have won other important races, such as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile or the Florida Derby. However, there have been several horses that have won the Kentucky Derby without winning any other major races.

The Kentucky Derby is a very popular event, and it attracts a large crowd of spectators every year. The race is also televised around the world, and it is estimated that over 100 million people watched the race in 2021.

The Kentucky Derby is a very important race in the horse racing world, and it is a major event on the social calendar. The race is a celebration of the sport of horse racing, and it is a chance for people to come together and enjoy a day of excitement and competition.


The contenders in the 2021 Kentucky Derby are a mix of talented and experienced horses. Some of the top contenders include:

  • Essential Quality
  • Hot Rod Charlie
  • Known Agenda
  • Rock Your World
  • Highly Motivated


The favorites in the 2021 Kentucky Derby are Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie. Both horses have impressive records and have shown strong performances in their recent races.

Essential Quality2-1
Hot Rod Charlie5-2

Rising Stars

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world, and this year’s field is filled with some of the most talented horses in the sport. Here are a few of the rising stars to watch for:

  • **Essential Quality**: The undefeated son of Tapit is the current favorite for the Kentucky Derby. He has won all five of his career starts, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Blue Grass Stakes.
  • **Rock Your World**: Another undefeated horse, Rock Your World is a son of Candy Ride who has won all three of his career starts. He is expected to be one of the main challengers to Essential Quality.
  • **Highly Motivated**: A son of Into Mischief, Highly Motivated has won two of his three career starts, including the Risen Star Stakes. He is another horse who could challenge Essential Quality for the win.

Dark Horses

In addition to the rising stars, there are a few dark horses who could surprise in the Kentucky Derby. Here are a few to watch for:

  • **Caddo River**: A son of Hard Spun, Caddo River has won two of his four career starts. He is a long shot, but he has the potential to upset the favorites.
  • **Super Stock**: A son of Dialed In, Super Stock has won two of his four career starts. He is another long shot, but he could surprise if he gets a good trip.
  • **Known Agenda**: A son of Curlin, Known Agenda has won two of his four career starts. He is a bit of a late bloomer, but he has the potential to be a contender in the Kentucky Derby.
Essential QualityBrad Cox2-1
Rock Your WorldJohn Sadler5-2
Highly MotivatedChad Brown6-1
Caddo RiverBrad Cox10-1
Super StockBrad Cox12-1
Known AgendaTodd Pletcher15-1

Notable Breed and Bloodlines

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world, and the horses that compete in it are some of the finest thoroughbreds in the country. This year’s race is no exception, with a field of 20 horses that includes some of the most promising young horses in the sport.

Here is a look at some of the notable breed and bloodlines that will be represented in the 2021 Kentucky Derby:

  • American Pharoah: The 2015 Triple Crown winner is the sire of two horses in this year’s Derby, Medina Spirit and Known Agenda. American Pharoah is a son of Pioneerof the Nile, who is also the sire of Audible, the 2019 Preakness Stakes winner.
  • Curlin: The 2007 Preakness Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner is the sire of four horses in this year’s Derby, Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie, Proxy, and Soup and Sandwich. Curlin is a son of Smart Strike, who is also the sire of 2004 Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones.
  • Tapit: The leading sire in North America for the past several years, Tapit is the sire of three horses in this year’s Derby, Mandaloun, Highly Motivated, and Midnight Bourbon. Tapit is a son of Pulpit, who is also the sire of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense.
  • Uncle Mo: The 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner is the sire of two horses in this year’s Derby, Candy Man Rocket and Keepmeinmind. Uncle Mo is a son of Indian Charlie, who is also the sire of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb.
Medina SpiritAmerican PharoahMongolian Changa
Known AgendaAmerican PharoahHoly Helena
Essential QualityCurlinDelightful Joy
Hot Rod CharlieCurlinIndian Miss
ProxyCurlinDiscreet Marq
Soup and SandwichCurlinSpicy Pie
Highly MotivatedTapitMotivated by Gold
Midnight BourbonTapitCatch the Moon
Candy Man RocketUncle MoCandy Ride’s Girl
KeepmeinmindUncle MoLady Tilbury

Who’s Racing in the 2021 Kentucky Derby?

The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby is set to take place on Saturday, May 1, 2021, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The race is open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds and is considered the most prestigious race in American horse racing.

Eligible Qualifiers

To qualify for the Kentucky Derby, a horse must earn points in a series of races known as the “Road to the Kentucky Derby”. The top four finishers in each of these races receive points, with the winner receiving 100 points.

  • Risen Star Stakes
  • Rebel Stakes
  • Louisiana Derby
  • Florida Derby
  • Wood Memorial Stakes
  • Blue Grass Stakes
  • Santa Anita Derby
  • Arkansas Derby
  • Toyota Blue Grass Stakes

In addition to the Road to the Kentucky Derby races, horses can also earn points by winning or placing in other graded stakes races.

Qualifying Horses

The following horses have qualified for the 2021 Kentucky Derby:

Essential QualityBrad CoxGodolphin
Rock Your WorldJohn SadlerHronis Racing
Hot Rod CharlieDoug O’NeillRoadrunner Racing
Highly MotivatedChad BrownKlaravich Stables
Known AgendaTodd PletcherSt. Elias Stable
Midnight BourbonSteve AsmussenWinchell Thoroughbreds
Super StockGregory FoleyErv Woolsey
Greatest HonourAidan O’BrienCoolmore
MandalounBrad CoxJuddmonte Farms
Dynamic OneTodd PletcherRepole Stable
SainthoodGreg FoleyJohn & Susan Moore
O BesosGreg FoleyMagdalena Racing
King FuryKenny McPeekPhoenix Thoroughbred III
KeepmeinmindRobertino DiodoroCYBT, Inc.
Like the KingPeter EurtonExline-Border Racing
Brooklyn StrongDanny GarganCalumet Farm
Tawny PortBrad CoxJuddmonte Farms
HeliumMark CasseD. J. Stable

Well, there you have it, folks! The lineup for the 2021 Kentucky Derby is set, and it’s shaping up to be an exciting race. Be sure to tune in on Saturday, May 1st, to catch all the action. And thanks for reading! Be sure to check back later for more updates and coverage of the “Run for the Roses.”