2021 Kentucky Derby Exotic Betting Picks: Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta Plays
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Kentucky Derby contender Rock Your World.
- Look for Kentucky Derby horses to use in exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagers? Look no further.
- Jeremy Pond breaks down his picks for a pair of undercard races, plus exotics for the Kentucky Derby.
- Get his full previews for each below.
If there was ever a day that could be declared a national holiday in the sports world, it just might be the first Saturday in May.
Yes, I’m talking about the Kentucky Derby, which takes place Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The 147th running of the race, which is the first jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown, will feature a field of 19 talented 3-year-olds going 1 1/4 miles on the dirt in search of their place among the “Sport of Kings” immortals.
We have a huge, 14-race card on the schedule, with several competitive events taking place. Obviously, the four to five races coming before the annual “Run for the Roses” are of extreme interest to sports bettors getting involved in exotic wagering, including the Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5 and Pick 6 bets.
Let’s take a look at two of the biggest races — the Churchill Downs Stakes and Turf Classic — preceding the Derby to see if we can deliver some winners before ” the fastest two minutes in sports” takes center stage.
Race 10: Churchill Downs Stakes
Outside of the Derby, this might have been the toughest race to handicap on the entire card. There are 13 horses set to leave the starting gate, headlined by 2020 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Whitmore.
Currently the race’s second-betting choice at 7-2 odds, Whitmore will have to deal with morning-line favorite Flagstaff (3-1), who is my top undercard pick. Flagstaff captured the Grade III Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland back in April, sitting just off the leaders before tipping outside as they approached the eighth pole and mowing down everyone else to earn the victory.
Derby preps to come on TVG! Watch live. pic.twitter.com/csnZ4PM1xD
— TVG (@TVG) April 3, 2021
For me, this is a huge opportunity for the gelding and 7-year-old son of champion sire Speightstown to flip the script on Whitmore, whom he finished second to in last year’s Count Fleet Sprint Handicap.
For me, this is Flagstaff’s race to lose. If he gets the right trip and stays out of trouble, I don’t see him getting beat. So, do yourself a favor and play Flagstaff across the board in your Win, Place and Show wagering and hope his odds stay right around this number or hopefully drift up with the anticipated money coming in on Whitmore leading up to the race.
If you’re looking to get involved with some exotic wagering, take a swing with my simple ticket. I will be using No. 4 Flagstaff (3-1), No. 5 Tap It To Win (8-1), and No. 9 Whitmore (9-2) on top of the bet, with No. 3 Basin (8-1) added to the back end of it. That way you get three chances to win, including Tap It To Win at nice odds, and Basin underneath on the play.
$10 Win | Place | Show
No. 4 Flagstaff (3-1)
$5 exacta — 4-5-9 over 3-4-5-9
Horses on ticket — No. 3 Basin (8-1); No. 4 Flagstaff (3-1); No. 5 Tap It To Win (8-1); and, No. 9 Whitmore (9-2)
Race 11: Turf Classic
I absolutely love the price I’m getting on Count Again in the nine-horse field for Grade 1 $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes. The 6-year-old gelding by Awesome Again looked fantastic in his third-place effort in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park last time out.
Piloted by jockey Luis Saez, Count Again was second to last when the field approached the far turn before launching a seven-wide move at the top of the stretch. The Ontario (Canada) bred wound up behind eventual winner Hit The Road and Turf Classic entrant Smooth Like Strait , but his gallop out after crossing the finish line might have been the most impressive part of his run.
HIT THE ROAD captures the G1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile @SantaAnitaPark!
— TVG (@TVG) March 7, 2021
Count Again, who has been third or better in eight of his 10 career starts, had more in the tank than anyone else in the field in the Kilroe Mile, which has me hoping we get these same — or even better –odds come post time.
I will be playing Count Again across the board (Win-Place-Show), then using him in my exacta box with No. 3 Colonel Liam (3-1), No. 7 Smooth Like Strait (4-1) and No. 9 Ride The Comet at 5-1 odds. I’m then going to put those four horses, along with No. 5 Domestic Spending (9-2) in a trifecta box ticket.
$10 Win | Place | Show — No. 2 Count Again (10-1)
$4 exacta box — 2-3-7-9
Horses on ticket — No. 2 Count Again (10-1); No. 3 Colonel Liam (3-1); No. 7 Smooth Like Strait (4-1); and, No. 9 Ride The Comet (5-1).
$1 trifecta box (play for $0.50 if looking for a smaller investment): 2-3-5-7-9
Horses on ticket: No. 2 Count Again (10-1); No. 3 Colonel Liam (3-1); No. 5 Domestic Spending (9-2); No. 7 Smooth Like Strait (4-1); and, No. 9 Ride The Comet (5-1).
Race 12: Kentucky Derby
I’m not going to lie. I knew little to nothing about No. 15 Rock Your World (5-1) prior to his start and ensuring 4 1/4-length romp in the Santa Anita Derby.
However, after watching the son of Candy Ride do what he did to the field in that race, I immediately thought of 2006 Derby champion Barbaro. Both horses began their careers on turf, with Rock Your World winning his first two races on the surface.
After those wins, trainer John Sadler opted to take a shot on the Santa Anita dirt, which proved he can flourish on both surface. Rock Your World, who will get jockey Joel Rosario in the saddle, set the tone out of the gate and wired the field en route to Grade I victory.
ROCK YOUR WORLD wins the #Runhappy Santa Anita Derby & stamps his ticket to Louisville! @umbyrispoli aboard for @SadlerRacing & @KostaHronis / Talla Racing!#RoadtotheDerby @SpendthriftFarm pic.twitter.com/l05wo0lbue
— TVG (@TVG) April 3, 2021
Obviously, most of the attention — and money for that matter — will fall on unbeaten favorite No. 14 Essential Quality (2-1), which is deserved. However, my gut feeling is he’s reached his plateau, while others in this field are still improving as race horses.
Another huge historical fact working against Essential Quality? Only two Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champions have won the Derby (Street Sense in 2007; and, Nyquist in 2016), which has me fading the Blue Grass Stakes winner.
That being said, I will be playing Rock Your World across the board in my Win, Place and Show wagering. I will also bet No. 1 Known Agenda (5-1) for Place and Show. If the Florida Derby winner would have gotten a better post draw, he would have contended for my top selection.
I will use both of those horses on top of my exacta wagers, with No. 7 Mandaloun (15-1); No. 9 Hot Rod Charlie (9-2); No. 11 Dynamic One (20-1); No. 14 Essential Quality (2-1); and, No. 17 Highly Motivated (10-1).
$20 Win | Place | Show — No. 15 Rock Your World (5-1)
$10 Place | Show — No. 1 Known Agenda (6-1)
$5 exacta — 1-15 over 1-7-9-11-14-15-17
Horses on ticket — No. 1 Known Agenda (6-1); No. 7 Mandaloun (15-1); No. 9 Hot Rod Charlie (9-2); No. 11 Dynamic One (20-1); No. 14 Essential Quality (2-1); No. 15 Rock Your World (5-1); and, No. 17 Highly Motivated (10-1).