Essential Quality is the clear Ky. Derby favorite – or is he?

Essential Quality is the clear Ky. Derby favorite – or is he?

Funny how the world does not see eye to eye with America. Or vice-versa.

Whether it is the fixed-odds market in Las Vegas or last month’s nationwide pari-mutuels via Churchill Downs, undefeated Essential Quality is the clear favorite among bettors to win the Kentucky Derby.

Even before his thrilling victory Saturday in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2), Essential Quality was best-priced at 4-1. With his neck victory at Keeneland over Highly Motivated, his record moved to 5-for-5, and his odds were cut to 7-2 at William Hill Nevada and 3-1 at Circa Sports.

[RELATED – First Look: Arkansas Derby leads 6 weekend graded stakes]

That is not quite how they see it at foreign books. A 3-for-3 record and trainer Bob Baffert’s six Derby victories doubtlessly contributed to Concert Tour being the joint favorite globally with Essential Quality. They each are best-priced at 7-2 at European bookmakers surveyed by At the off-shore site Bovada, they are each 4-1 (plus-425).

Whether the split opinion will make it past next weekend will be determined by Concert Tour’s performance in his final prep, Saturday’s Arkansas Derby (G1).

Another undefeated colt, Rock Your World, is the consensus third choice worldwide. After he graduated from turf to dirt to win the Santa Anita Derby (G1), he shortened from 35-1 to best odds of 8-1 at both Circa and William Hill. Rock Your World is 7-1 in foreign markets.

Concert Tour is the only horse among Nevada’s top eight choices who has not run his last prep. The rest of the top five were winners last time out. They are followed immediately by three horses that hit the board in their final preps.

  7-2 Essential Quality

  6-1 Concert Tour

  8-1 Rock Your World

  9-1 Known Agenda

12-1 Hot Rod Charlie

14-1 Greatest Honour

15-1 Highly Motivated

15-1 Medina Spirit

More than half of the horses that were on the boards last week in Las Vegas are not there anymore. One, however, came from out of nowhere to be added during the weekend.

Bourbonic (50-1 Circa Sports, 100-1 William Hill). Theoretically, the 72-1 winner of the Wood Memorial is seen at Circa as being more likely to win the Derby than he was to win his stakes debut Saturday at Aqueduct. With his deep close from worst to first, the Calumet Farm homebred by Bernardini is 3-for-3 going at least a mile on fast main tracks. He gives trainer Todd Pletcher four Derby candidates. Florida Derby (G1) winner Known Agenda, Wood runner-up Dynamic One and maybe Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) third-place finisher Sainthood also are in the mix.

While Bourbonic was added, 39 other horses came off the boards in Nevada, leaving 31, shown here with their odds at Circa and William Hill:

Circa   WH

  50-1 100-1 Bourbonic

  50-1   50-1 Caddo River

    4-1    6-1 Concert Tour

  50-1 125-1 Crowded Trade

200-1 125-1 Dream Shake

  30-1 125-1 Dynamic One

    3-1    7-2 Essential Quality

  50-1 100-1 Get Her Number

    9-1   14-1 Greatest Honour

  40-1   40-1 Helium

200-1 125-1 Hidden Stash

  15-1   15-1 Highly Motivated

  12-1   12-1 Hot Rod Charlie

  40-1   25-1 Hozier

    9-1    7-1 Known Agenda

  50-1   90-1 Like the King

  30-1   30-1 Mandaloun

  15-1   15-1 Medina Spirit

  35-1   24-1 Midnight Bourbon

100-1           Nova Rags

  70-1 125-1 O Besos

  40-1          Panadol

  75-1   55-1 Proxy

  30-1          Rebel’s Romance

    8-1    8-1 Rock Your World

  75-1   75-1 Roman Centurian

  65-1 100-1 Rombauer

  60-1 100-1 Sainthood

  24-1   45-1 Soup and Sandwich

300-1 250-1 Super Stock

  55-1 100-1 Weyburn

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