Zipse: How I will be betting Kentucky Derby 2021

Zipse: How I will be betting Kentucky Derby 2021
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Happy Kentucky Derby week, everyone … it’s finally here! The most exciting two minutes in sports is not only the crowning achievement for any horse and their connections, but it also offers a great chance for us bettors to collect something substantial.

The 2021 edition is not the easiest to handicap, but I feel good about where I have landed. Essential Quality is a deserving favorite, but at 5-2 or so, I don’t believe he offers great value in this difficult race.

On the other hand, at somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 or 10-1, I do believe Hot Rod Charlie offers excellent value. I really like everything about the son of Oxbow.

• He has strong tactical speed to find a good position early in the race, and he can pass horses.

• He has a strong foundation with plenty of solid 2-year-old form.

• Given six weeks, he comes into the big race relatively fresh and ready to fire his absolute best.

• He’s got the pedigree and the past performances to handle the 10-furlong trip of the Derby.

• He travels well, already having shipped and run big at Keeneland and Fair Grounds.

• He’s proven against top competition and is still getting better.

As far as his connections – Doug O’Neill is clearly a trainer who knows how to get a horse to his best at Kentucky Derby time. Flavien Prat, who already won a Kentucky Derby via disqualification, is riding better than ever as California’s current best.

Hot Rod Charlie is going to be the horse I live or die with in this year’s Kentucky Derby.

We’ll see how the draw goes on Tuesday morning, but I don’t expect it to change my plays much. If it does, I will put up a message in the comments section.

How to Crush the Kentucky Derby 2021 Superfecta

Kentucky Derby 2021 superfecta

My first trifecta play will be three simple keys using Hot Rod Charlie in first, second and third with the three horses I consider his most dangerous competition in Essential Quality, Rock Your World and Known Agenda. While I do expect a long shot to make it into this year’s Kentucky Derby trifecta, this will be a bet to double up on the chalk just in case it finishes a little more formful than I expect. A $1 dollar wager on each trifecta key will cost $6 each, for a total of $18

• Hot Rod Charlie over Essential Quality, Rock Your World and Known Agenda over Essential Quality, Rock Your World and Known Agenda.

• Essential Quality, Rock Your World and Known Agenda over Hot Rod Charlie over Essential Quality, Rock Your World and Known Agenda.

• Essential Quality, Rock Your World and Known Agenda over Essential Quality, Rock Your World and Known Agenda over over Hot Rod Charlie. 

My main trifecta play will use Hot Rod Charlie in the top two spots. If he runs first or second, I will have a good shot to collect, and with plenty of long shots on the ticket, I am looking to cash something nice. With my top pick keyed in first or second, I will use his three top competitors plus six horses with odds in the other two spots. These $1 bets will cost $144 total.

• Hot Rod Charlie over Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Known Agenda, O Besos, Midnight Bourbon, Dynamic One, Soup and Sandwich, King Fury and Brooklyn Strong over Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Known Agenda, O Besos, Midnight Bourbon, Dynamic One, Soup and Sandwich, King Fury and Brooklyn Strong.

• Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Known Agenda, O Besos, Midnight Bourbon, Dynamic One, Soup and Sandwich, King Fury and Brooklyn Strong over Hot Rod Charlie over Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Known Agenda, O Besos, Midnight Bourbon, Dynamic One, Soup and Sandwich, King Fury and Brooklyn Strong.

If another horse happens into the trifecta, I do not want to be shut out when Hot Rod Charlie wins the Kentucky Derby. It’s not the big score, but I will happily take an approximate win payoff of $20. Let’s put $20 to win on his nose.

• Hot Rod Charlie to win. 

Finally, I will use my top two picks from the Kentucky Oaks in an Oaks-Derby double with Hot Rod Charlie. With good value in both races, I would expect a nice payoff when it hits. Two $5 bets will cost a total of $10.

• Travel Column and Clairiere with Hot Rod Charlie.

That’s $192 total worth of bets for the Kentucky Derby with hopes that Hot Rod Charlie runs big, as I expect. If so, this could be a very profitable Run for the Roses. Either way, I will enjoy watching the big race, as I have done for the last half-century, and celebrating a wonderful two days of racing at Churchill Downs. I wish you all the best of luck!

***I've altered my trifecta play just a bit after the draw. ~BZ 3/28

Here are the new tickets: 

$1 Trifecta key - Hot Rod Charlie over Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Known Agenda, O Besos, Dynamic One, King Fury, Highly Motivated, Brooklyn Strong over Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Known Agenda, O Besos, Dynamic One, King Fury, Midnight Bourbon, Brooklyn Strong = $56

$1 Trifecta key - Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Known Agenda, O Besos, Dynamic One, King Fury, Highly Motivated, Brooklyn Strong over Hot Rod Charlie over Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Known Agenda, O Besos, Dynamic One, King Fury, Midnight Bourbon, Brooklyn Strong  = $56

$1 Trifecta key - Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Known Agenda, O Besos, Dynamic One, King Fury, Highly Motivated, Brooklyn Strong over Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Known Agenda, O Besos, Dynamic One, King Fury, Midnight Bourbon, Brooklyn Strong over Hot Rod Charlie = $56


Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to HRN, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing webcast HorseCenter, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars and is a Vox Populi committee member. He is a voter for racing's Hall of Fame, as well as a weekly NTRA poll voter. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

 
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