Churchill Downs Horse Racing Picks for Saturday 5/1/21

There are 14 races at Churchill Downs on Saturday, including the Kentucky Derby. Which horses should you bet at TVG?

It's a great time to dive into horse racing, and TVG gives you the chance to do just that.

Starting at 10:30 a.m. EST, we have 14 races at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, including seven graded stakes races. Here are some of the best bets.

As always, check the program for scratches and changes, and monitor the weather and track conditions.

(I will reference Equibase's Speed Figure in selected races, which tells you how fast a horse has been running in each of its races -- adjusted for track, distances, and conditions.)

Jackie's Warrior and Whiskey Double, Race 8

TVG Odds: 3/1 and 12/1

Race 8 is the $500K Pat Day Mile for three-year-olds. The top pick for Daily Horse Picks and Guaranteed Tip Sheet is Jackie's Warrior (3/1). He won four straight races to start his career, including a pair of Grade I races before finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile behind 2021 Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality. Jackie's Warrior was the 4/5 favorite in that race and was on the Derby trail but elected to run here instead after finishing third in the Southwest Stakes (again behind Essential Quality). He returns to his best distance and a one-turn race.

Defunded (6/1) had a shot at the Kentucky Derby but finished fourth in the Santa Anita Derby, and trainer Bob Baffert elected to run him in the Pat Day Mile. Whiskey Double (12/1) is showing signs of living up to his high purchase price as a son of Into Mischief, and Horse Racing Radar notes his last two races were his best with a win and runner-up finish in a graded stakes race. Dream Shake (7/2) finished third in the Santa Anita Derby last race and should enjoy the shorter distance.

Colonel Liam and Smooth Like Strait, Race 11

TVG Odds: 3/1 and 4/1

Race 11 is the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic for older horses racing 1 1/8 miles on the turf. The Grade 1 race features the two strongest entries in Colonel Liam (3/1) with top trainer/jockey combo of EPO trainer Todd Pletcher and Irad Ortiz, Jr., and Domestic Spending (9/2), who has won 4-of-5 for EPO trainer Chad Brown and makes his 2021 debut following a pair of wins with strong triple-digit speed figures.

Smooth Like Strait (4/1) may get the best trip at a comfortable pace. Horse Racing Radar notes he's finished first or second in four straight graded stakes starts and has hit triple-digit speed figures with a best of 112. Top turf jockey and regular rider Umberto Rispoli should have him in the money again with a chance to win for EPO trainer Mike McCarthy.

Known Agenda and Rock Your World, Race 12

TVG Odds: 6/1 and 5/1

Race 12 is the 147th running of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby for three-year-olds, racing the classic 1 1/4-mile distance. A total of 19 runners are set to run for the roses in the $3 million race.

Essential Quality (2/1) is the prohibitive morning-line favorite, and his parimutuel closing odds will likely be less than even money. He’s won 5-of-5 starts and fits a winning Derby profile of registering a triple-digit Brisnet Speed rating in one of his last three Derby prep races.

The other three major contenders with the speed figure profile are Highly Motivated (10/1), Rock Your World (5/1) and Known Agenda (6/1). Rock Your World is the Derby win pick of both Guaranteed Tip Sheet and Top Race Reports. With a huge field of runners, TVG offers more racing options and bet types for wagering on America's most popular race.