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2021 Kentucky Derby odds, best predictions: Expert who hit 9 Derby-Oaks Doubles shares picks

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 5/1/2021 CBS Sports Staff
a person wearing a helmet riding a brown horse: Jockey Kent Desormeaux urges Silver Tree past Giant Wrecker for a win by a neck in the Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park in West Long Branch, New Jersey on Haskell Invitational Day. Silver Tree clipped .36 seconds off the track record previously held by Giant Wrecker for the 1 1/16 miles course. (Photo by Scott Serio/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images) © Provided by CBS Sports

Jockey Kent Desormeaux urges Silver Tree past Giant Wrecker for a win by a neck in the Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park in West Long Branch, New Jersey on Haskell Invitational Day. Silver Tree clipped .36 seconds off the track record previously held by Giant Wrecker for the 1 1/16 miles course. (Photo by Scott Serio/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)

Plenty of longshots have been draped in roses over the 146 editions of the Kentucky Derby, but none got to the winner's circle quite like 65-1 underdog Country House two years ago. The colt crossed the line second, but the apparent winner, Maximum Security, was disqualified by stewards for interference. Although such an occurrence is somewhat common in horse racing, it was the first disqualification in Kentucky Derby history involving the horse that crossed the finish line first. The 19 horses that comprise the 2021 Kentucky Derby field will go to post at 6:57 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Essential Quality has never earned a DQ victory in his five previous wins and is the favorite at 2-1 in the latest 2021 Kentucky Derby odds. Will Essential Quality win as the prohibitive favorite or can one of the other 2021 Kentucky Derby contenders like Rock Your World (5-1), Known Agenda (6-1) or Hot Rod Charlie (8-1) instead win the 147th Run for the Roses? With so much to consider, you'll want to see what SportsLine's Jody Demling has to say before entering any 2021 Kentucky Derby picks and predictions of your own.

A fixture in the horse racing world who has been writing about, talking about and betting on races for years, Demling enters the 2021 Kentucky Derby after a major heater in 2020: At one point last year, he picked the winners of six straight races: the Saudi Cup, Gotham Stakes, Rebel Stakes, Louisiana Derby, Florida Derby and Belmont Stakes.

This is the same handicapper who hit the Derby-Oaks double at Churchill Downs nine times in the last 12 years. That means he held a ticket with the winners of both the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby all but three times in his last 12 tries.

He opened last season's Triple Crown schedule on a heater too. At last year's Belmont, Demling said Tiz the Law was clearly the class of the field, and Barclay Tagg's horse pulled away for a convincing 3 3/4-length victory. Anyone who has followed him is up huge.

Now, with the 2021 Kentucky Derby lineup taking shape, Demling is sharing his picks and predictions at SportsLine. Go here to see them.

Top 2021 Kentucky Derby predictions


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One shocker: Demling is fading Hot Rod Charlie, even though he's one of the top 2021 Kentucky Derby favorites. In fact, Demling says Hot Rod Charlie doesn't even hit the board. Trainer Doug O'Neill already has two Kentucky Derby victories on his mantle, but adding a third became considerably tougher last month.

Once a $110,000 yearling purchase, Hot Rod Charlie captured the Louisiana Derby with jockey Joel Rosario aboard. However, Rosario will ride Rock Your World at Churchill Downs, forcing O'Neill to tap Flavien Prat for Saturday's mount. Although Demling believes that Hot Rod Charlie "seems to get better each time he steps on the track," having a new jockey aboard feels like too big of a risk, which is why Demling is fading the colt in his 2021 Kentucky Derby bets.

Another stunner: Demling loves Highly Motivated, even though he's a 10-1 long shot in the latest Kentucky Derby 2021 odds. He's a target for anyone looking for a huge payday. The son of Into Mischief out of Strong Incentive, Highly Motivated shocked handicappers and onlookers alike when he ran strong for the entire 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass Stakes before falling by a nose to prohibitive favorite Essential Quality.

That run at Keeneland drastically changed the conversation around trainer Chad Brown's thoroughbred and established himself as a true contender on Saturday. "So much for all those, including me, who felt like he looked like a sprinter," said Demling after Highly Motivated's Blue Grass performance. He's a strong choice for your 2021 Kentucky Derby bets, according to Demling.

How to make 2021 Kentucky Derby picks, bets

Demling is especially high on a double-digit long shot who has "looked amazing" during training. Demling is sharing which horse it is, along with his entire projected leaderboard, over at SportsLine.

Which horse wins the Kentucky Derby 2021? And which huge underdog is a must-back? Check out the latest 2021 Kentucky Derby odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Demling's picks for the Kentucky Derby.

2021 Kentucky Derby odds, post positions

Program #HorseOdds
1Known Agenda6-1
2Like the King50-1
3Brooklyn Strong50-1
4Keepmeinmind50-1
5Sainthood50-1
6O Besos20-1
7Mandaloun15-1
8Medina Spirit15-1
9Hot Rod Charlie8-1
10Midnight Bourbon20-1
11Dynamic One20-1
12Helium50-1
13Hidden Stash50-1
14Essential Quality2-1
15Rock Your World5-1
16King FurySCR
17Highly Motivated10-1
18Super Stock30-1
19Soup and Sandwich30-1
20Bourbonic30-1
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