HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, April 15, 2021 – With a little imagination and insight, a recent Paulick Report poll asking “which of the Top 10 point earners has the best chance to win the Kentucky Derby” provides insight into how the betting might go.
Empirically, the poll results at once are intuitive and make sense
• Essential Quality (140) 28.55%
• Hot Rod Charlie (110) 12.06%
• Super Stock (109 5.92%
• Like the King (104) 1.36%
• Known Agenda (102) 11.13%
• Rock Your World (100) 20.31%
• Bourbonic (100) 4.02%
• Another 3-year-old 16.65%
We’ve rounded the percentages in our personal calculations in order to construct a viable early odds line that might hold ante post. The percentages figure to change as long as the poll remains active but is unlikely to vary in the extreme.
The fact that this exercise is based on crowd-sourcing makes these guesstimates credible. Here’s a look at the Top 7 vote getters, the eighth category including any other three-year-old, listed in points order:
All agree that Essential Quality will be the post time favorite, and since 28% of the pollsters see it that way, he will–in theory at least–be the 5-2 public choice.
If anything, the favorite’s odds are likely to go lower for two reasons, one more valid than the other. The Derby belongs to the public and as such attracts more “square money.” The public loves their favorites, by definition, especially the undefeated, champion kind.
Back in the pre-simulcasting day when virtually handle was on-track, local “Kentucky” horses were bet down, not precipitously, but enough to remove whatever residual value might exist. But this Derby is “wide open” by consensus, so 5-2 is just about right.
Again, based on percentages, Hot Rod Charlie will be in the neighborhood of 7-1 at post time. Empirically, this skews a tad high, but definitely is in the ballpark.
Super Stock is a great story but most bettors won’t know about the Asmussen Family saga until NBC tells the tale, and won’t care when time comes to make a bet. Horseplayers know about his perfect setup, so he is likely to maintain a relatively low profile, making 15-1 fair by the crowd’s standards.
Like the King’s synthetic Steaks win is more likely to work against him than for him, as does the quality of the competition he defeated at Turfway Park, aka Churchill Lite. He has the potential to become this year’s Giacomo; 45-1.
Known Agenda’s stock has risen due to attrition, the growing Pletcher Derby bandwagon, and the favorable training reports. With the exception of Greatest Honour, who suffered an injury during or post-race, the Florida Derby horses were more Grade 2 variety than Grade 1; 8-1 is about right.
Rock Your World is the current Derby buzz horse. He, too, is undefeated, albeit lightly raced, is SoCal-based, the dominant Derby circuit in recent years, and his Santa Anita Derby victory impressed. The “could be any kind” cliché certainly applies. Odds of 4-1 could be spot on—an underlay—but possible, nonetheless.
Bourbonic garnered 4% support, which translates to 20-1 on the line, again in the realm of possibility: Wood winners are no longer in favor, extremely likely to be the case when applied to 72-1 Wood upsetters. But t’s Pletcher with Kendrick Carmouche in the midst of a career year.
An upset beyond the horses listed above is certainly not impossible. It’s the Derby, and strange things happen despite the run of short-priced winners since the advent of the points system. Odds of 6-1 on “All Other 3-Year-Olds” is a bargain compared to the usual Futures Pool pari-mutuel payouts.