The 2021 Kentucky Derby will be the 147th run for the roses. Keeping track of all the latest Kentucky Derby workouts and news from the backside of Churchill Downs can be a daunting task.
We’ll track it all here for you in the lead up to the first Saturday, complete with our Kentucky Derby cheat sheet. The downloadable pdf is an easy one-stop-shop reference point for useful information on each horse in the field.
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2021 Kentucky Derby Cheat Sheet
Click to download TheLines.com 2021 Kentucky Derby Cheat Sheet with the latest info on each horse, including trainer, jockey and Kentucky Derby points.
Estimated odds are also included, as well as Beyer Speed figures most recent race results and available Kentucky Derby workout times.
Kentucky Derby workouts tracker and news
Tuesday, April 27
– Post Positions and morning line odds are out for the Kentucky Derby! Click on the cheat sheet above to see where each horse ended up in the starting gate and their opening odds. And be on the look out tomorrow for our deep dive into this field with our best bets on a TheLines.com Sports Betting podcast.
Monday, April 26
– Brooklyn Strong had a clean workout Monday and is now Kentucky Derby bound after working five furlongs in 1:00.92 at Parx. He will depart Bensalem, Pennsylvania Monday evening and arrive in Louisville Tuesday morning. “It was perfect,” trainer Danny Velazquez said. “I’d like to say it went just as planned, but none of this has been planned. We’re excited. He worked great. Cooled out great. He’ll have all day to relax before he leaves.”
– Midnight Bourbon, in what will likely be the last major workout for any Derby starter, went five furlongs in 1:02.40. He posted splits of 24.40 and 49.60 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16.20. “I’m very happy with how he went,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “We got exactly what we wanted and he continues to do very well.”
Sunday, April 25
– Trainer Brad Cox has removed Caddo River from the Kentucky Derby field. That could really shake up how the race plays out early, as most assumed Caddo River would set the pace with his early speed. Now, a handful of horses could compete to get to the front and avoid traffic around the first turn, where chaos has ensued in the past.
– Get Her Number is also out of the Kentucky Derby. King Fury is now No. 18 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard, Keepmeinmind No. 19 and Brooklyn Strong at No. 20. There are no other alternates under consideration. If any more horses drop out at this point, the 2021 Kentucky Derby will not have the traditional full field of 20 horses.
– This is the first time we’re hearing of Brooklyn Strong in the Derby field. He has just 10 Derby points from prep races, a first-place finish in the Remsen on December 5th. His only race this year was a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Wood Memorial, finishing three-to-four lengths behind Bourbonic and Dynamic One. An illness forced him to miss some time earlier this year. “We feel a lot better about the Wood Memorial than (other people) feel about it,” owner Mark Schwartz said. “We feel we were pulled up a few times in that race. We were going to have a burst and the burst was cut off.” Since the Derby points system started (excluding 2020 when there were just 15 starters), Brooklyn Strong will be only the second starter to make field with 10 points, the first since 2013 when the points system began.
Saturday, April 24
– Likely Kentucky Derby morning line favorite Essential Quality put in his final Derby work before dawn, going five furlongs in 1:00.20, with early splits of 12.4, 24.4 and 48.1, galloping out in 1:14.30. “Galloping out around the turn, I got on the radio to Edvin and told him not to let him go too strongly,” said trainer Brad Cox. “Spa City is a horse we used as a workmate for Essential Quality the last three or four works. He’s a good matchup for him because he’s a good work horse.”
– Mandaloun put in his final work before the Kentucky Derby, finishing five furlongs in 1:00, with splits of 23.1, 35.3, 47.3 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.30. “Going into the pole, Joe Frazier was a little bit strong, and I didn’t want to ask Mandaloun to catch up to him too much,” jockey Florent Geroux said. “I didn’t want to get him in the bit too early so we started six or seven lengths behind but going around the turn he really picked up the pace. He has a big stride to him and was full of himself getting over this track.”
– Super Stock’s final Derby work went five furlongs in 1:01.10. He posted splits of 12.4, 24.3 and 36.2, galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.30.
– Highly Motivated looked just that in his final work, reaching five furlongs in 1:00.4. The splits are intriguing though. Early splits of 13.3, 25.1 and 36.3 reveal an 11.2-second third furlong. That’s fast, and the potential extra gear he’ll need to avoid early traffic and kick for home late in the race. Highly Motivated galloped out in 1:14.2. “I wasn’t afraid to give him a good solid breeze, and he did it and he did it well with some in reserve too,” said trainer Chad Brown. “He got over the track well, which I really wanted to see. He had been galloping well over it, but really, when you get to see a breeze, you can see more, obviously.”
– King Fury’s final Derby preparations resulted in a five-furlong Derby workout of 1:00.1. His early splits were 12.1, 25.1, 36.4 and 48.2, galloping out to six furlongs in 1:12.4. “He did it with his ears up and he seems like he’s a happy horse,” said trainer Kenny McPeek. “He’s got a little confidence in himself coming out of the Lexington. He’s coming into the Derby with some confidence.”
– Hot Rod Charlie worked six furlongs at Santa Anita in California, going a the first quarter mile in 24.64 seconds, a half mile in 48.94 seconds, five-eighths in 1:00.90 seconds and six furlongs in 1:13.68 seconds. He’s scheduled to fly to Louisville Sunday. Santa Anita’s track analyst watched the work and said he believes he’ll have no problem running a 1 1/4-mile race.
Friday, April 23
– Another shake up to the potential field of 20, with defections from Dream Shake and Hozier. Both will not run in the Kentucky Derby. That moves King Fury into the field at No. 20 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard, with Keepmeinmind at No. 21 now the first horse out.
-Trainer Todd Pletcher’s Derby contenders put in works Friday. Dynamic One worked Friday, completing four furlongs in 47.80 seconds. Bourbonic worked the same distnace, going a half mile in 49.60 seconds. Known Agenda and Sainthood completed five furlongs together in 1:01. “Known Agenda is not the most aggressive work horse,” said Pletcher, when asked about his Florida Derby-winning horse. “He is not an Always Dreaming (2017 Kentucky Derby winner) that will work in :59. He has had two good works here, and I liked the way Sainthood worked with him.” Pletcher also said he like how Dynamic One finished his work with full energy and ears pricked.
– Trainer Mark Casse worked his two Derby hopefuls, Heliuem and Soup and Sandwich. Helium went four furlongs in company in :49.80, galloping out five furlongs in 1:03. Soup and Sandwich, with jockey Tyler Gafflione on board, completed four furlongs in :50, while galloping out five in 1:03.60. “I thought Helium’s work was good. He’s a very smooth-moving horse,” said Casse. He’s the better work horse of the two and went absolutely beautifully.”
– If it rains on Derby day, trainer Kenny McPeek says King Fury won’t mind the mud. “Rain shouldn’t bother him,” said McPeek, speaking about possibly working the horse Saturday in the rain, one week before the race. “They (King Fury and Crazy Beautiful) both like the mud. So, I think they’ll be fine.”
Thursday, April 22
– O Besos hit the track for his final official workout before the Kentucky Derby, and he impressed. He is the only son in the field of a past Kentucky Derby winner, sired by Orb, and he got the attention of clockers on the backside. O Besos worked four furlongs in 48.13, but he continued to accelerate to five furlongs in 59.70 and 3/4 mile in 1:12.59. He finished third last out in a very strong Louisiana Derby race. Closers have typically had a hard time winning the Kentucky Derby, but O Besos is turning into a popular longshot pick in Louisville and definite consideration in exotics.
“Our horse has shown improvement in every start so far. We think leading up to the Derby he’s going to keep showing that improvement and run a big effort, said trainer Greg Foley. “He’ll be ready to make a run at the field at the top of the stretch. We had some distance questions when we ran in the Louisiana Derby but he was the only horse in the field that day who was making up any ground.”
– Nine Derby hopefuls are scheduled to have final works Friday, with rain in the forecast for Louisvile Saturday. They are: Bourbonic, Dynamic One, Helium, Highly Motivated, Keepmeinmind, Known Agenda, Sainthood, Soup and Sandwich, Starrininmydreams
–Highly Motivated galloped then walked to the starting gate this morning, while trainer Chad Brown is also trying to figure out the weather for his final work. “I’m just trying to figure out now when I’m going to try and breeze,” said Chad Brown. “I’d prefer to work him Saturday morning before the rain comes. I was speaking to the track superintendent and looking for a little guidance on that.”
Wednesday, April 21
-There has been a shake up at the bottom of the field. Previously thought to be off the Derby trail, Hozier is now back in the mix. Trainer Bob Baffert confirmed the horse will try to get into the field of 20. However, Hozier currently sits 21st in Derby points and would need a top-20 horse to withdraw to get into the starting gate. Hozier finished sixth in the Arkansas Derby last out, after a second-place finish behind Concert Tour in the Rebel Stakes. This now bumps King Fury to No. 22 on the leaderboard.
Tuesday, April 20
-Trainer Brad Cox confirmed Arkansas Derby runner-up Caddo River will run in the Kentucky Derby. He’s scheduled to work Saturday. “He came out of the Arkansas Derby in great shape. He’s a sound horse who is training well,” said Cox.
-Trainer Todd Pletcher plans to work his four Derby horses – Known Agenda, Bourbonic, Dynamic One and Sainthood – Saturday if the weather in Louisville cooperates. “We will watch that and could move the works to Friday,” said Pletcher.
-Highly Motivated, runner-up to likely Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality in the Blue Grass Stakes, made his first appearance on the Churchill Downs main track. He galloped with no issue after arriving Monday. “He got around there good this morning, and I am pleased with the way he shipped in,” said trainer Chad Brown.
-King Fury galloped a mile and a half shortly after 5:30am, still working towards the Derby despite sitting No. 21 in points. He would need one horse currently in the field of 20 to drop out of the race to get in the starting gate.
-Keepmeinmind galloped a mile and a half before dawn. He would need two defections to get into the field, currently sitting No. 22 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
-Super Stock galloped about 1 3/8 miles and is scheduled to work Saturday.
-O Besos will have his final Derby workout Wednesday or Thursday. The son of Orb is the only colt from a Kentucky Derby winner in this year’s field. “The first time I worked this horse I couldn’t believe he won going six furlongs,” said jockey Marcelino Pedroza. “He loved the extra distance in the Louisiana Derby.”
Monday, April 19
-Midnight Bourbon worked five furlongs in 59.8 seconds, the fastest of 13 other horses to work that distance at Churchill Downs Monday. He ran through fractions of :12.40, :24 and :35.60 in his first three furlongs. The Louisiana Derby runner-up galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.80 and completed seven furlongs in 1:26, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols. It was an eventful day, as Midnight Bourbon also briefly broke loose outside his stable.
Saturday, April 17
– Derby favorite Essential Quality breezed five furlongs in 59.60 seconds. He posted splits of :12.80, :24.60 and :47.40 with jockey Luis Saez aboard. Essential Quality galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.20 and finished seven furlongs in 1:28.60. “I’m not taking a deep breath yet but we’re very pleased with where we are at today two weeks from the Derby,” trainer Brad Cox said. “He really had to work for that win in the Blue Grass and we were very pleased how well he ended up bouncing out of it.”
-Another horse out of the Cox barn, Mandaloun, hit the track as well. Working with jockey Florent Geroux aboard, he posted splits of :12.40,:24.20, :35.60 and recorded a five-furlong time of :58.80. Mandaloun continued to extend his stride in front through a seven-furlong gallop out in 1:25.20. “(Mandaloun) worked great,” Cox said. “We were all puzzled after the Louisiana Derby, but he’s been doing great since that race maybe that was just a head scratcher.” Mandaloun finished sixth in the Louisiana Derby, after three wins and a third-place finish in his first four races.
–Soup and Sandwich cruised five furlongs in 59.40 seconds with jockey Tyler Gaffalione on board. He worked through opening fractions of:12.40, :24.20 and :35.20. Soup and Sandwich began drawing clear of his workmate at the wire and galloped out strongly in front with a six-furlong time of 1:12.40. “This horse is just starting to figure things around the racetrack,” trainer Mark Casse’s assistant David Carroll said. “Tyler was in cruise control around there and that gallop out was great.”
-Three other potential Derby contenders worked at Santa Anita in California – Rock Your World, Hot Rod Charlie and Dream Shake. Rock Your World worked five furlongs Saturday in 59.60. “It was a pretty effortless work, just smooth and relaxed. I was very happy,” said trainer John Sadler.
– Dream Shake went five furlongs with Flavien Prat aboard in a bullet 59.20 for trainer Peter Eurton. Dream Shake’s time was the fastest of 72 at the distance.
– Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie went six furlongs in 1:14.20.
-For Kentucky Derby workout times before April 17th, please reference our Kentucky Derby Cheat Sheet above.
(Some workout notes courtesy of Darren Rogers, Churchill Downs Senior Director of Media Services)