Sainthood, Essential Quality, and Rock Your World: The 2021 Kentucky Derby contenders

As 20 of the most competitive competitors race around the one-and-a-quarter mile track in Louisville, Kentucky, spectators will assemble, and dust will fly.

The Kentucky Derby in 2021 is coming up soon. Our horse racing betting tutorial can teach you the fundamentals if you’ve never placed a wager on a race.

I’m examining the candidates for the race and determining their possibilities in this four-part series. Here, I discuss Rock Your World, Essential Quality, and Sainthood.


Sainthood, a three-year-old dark bay colt from Kentucky, is prepared to compete against the best thoroughbreds in the World. Can he succeed?

He has a great trainer, and one of the most prosperous farms in the USA shares ownership with him. Add a jockey with the same skill level as those who brought him here, and voilà. Kentucky Derby winner right away.

Could it be that simple? Let’s examine Sainthood’s connections in more detail.

Training for Sainthood

This year’s Kentucky Derby has four contenders from Todd Pletcher. That is typical behavior for him.

Since the year 2000, he has entered a large number of horses in the Triple Crown races that have finished in the money. Known Agenda, Bourbonic, and Dynamic One, as well as Sainthood, might give Pletcher this year at least a numerical edge.

Recently, Pletcher told the Daily Racing Form about the embarrassing wealth of horses that are ready for a KD run.

Jockey of Sainthood

Luis Saez, John Velazquez, and Gerardo Corrales have all ridden Sainthood into the money. Which jockey Sainthood’s connections might select for a Kentucky Derby ride is yet unknown.

Owner of Sainthood

Since the start of the twenty-first century, CHC, Inc. and WinStar Farm LLC have collaborated on several racehorses, making them two of the top thoroughbred owners in the country. Their first entry into the top 20 rankings on the Road to the Kentucky Derby is Sainthood.

Edward Taylor, who gave the horse Mshawish, and Springland Farms worked together to produce him. Lemon Hero, bred by Lemon Drop Kid, is Sainthood’s dam.

Recent Forms of Sainthood

Sainthood needed to break his maiden twice. His maiden race, held in January at Gulfstream, saw him come in second. Mid-February saw the success of his subsequent attempt at Fair Grounds.

Crucial feature

Early oddsmakers predicted that Kentucky-born Essential Quality, who had spent months at a gentleman’s #11 on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby list, would take the lead in April.

He was and still is one of the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby this year, along with Known Agenda. What distinguishes the gray colt Essential Quality from the competition if there is such a thing? Let’s look at it.

Trainer of Essential Qualities

Trainer Brad H. Cox, born in Louisville, Kentucky, is running two horses for the Kentucky Derby this year. Mandaloun is additional.

Cox has the following to say regarding Essential Quality.

At the Jeff Ruby Steaks Stakes in late March, where he finished second to fellow Derby candidate Like the King, he earned his 40 Road leaderboard points. Sainthood’s performance there was described as having “a troublesome trip to far turn, brushed into stretch, and rallied in earnest for the place slot in a courageous effort” in an Equibase commentary.

Who doesn’t appreciate a valiant attempt?

If Essential Quality wins the Kentucky Derby, a native Louisvillian trainer will have won for the first time.

Jockey of Essential Quality

On May 1, Essential Quality will probably leave the starting gate at Churchill Downs with Luis Saez in the saddle. In the 2018 Preakness, Saez guided Bravazo to a second-place finish, and throughout his career, he has earned money in other Breeders’ Cup contests.

He was among the top three jockeys in terms of earnings and victories in 2020. Only Joel Rosario and Irad Ortiz, Jr. had better stats. Additionally, the likelihood that he and his mount came in first every time he finished the money is almost equal.

Owner of an Essential Quality

Godolphin LLC, the owner and breeder, operates stables and farms worldwide, and Essential Quality is merely the most recent of their triumphs. Rebel’s Romance was also scheduled to run in the Kentucky Derby in 2021, but that horse was unable to qualify.

Recent Form of an Essential Quality

Essential Quality hasn’t been waiting for his opportunity while reclined in the tall grass. He’s been on the Road to the Kentucky Derby since he broke his maiden in his first career start back in September of 2020 at Churchill Downs.

Since then, he’s crossed the wire first in four Road prep races. He won the Breeders’ Futurity in October at Keeneland (ten Road points), then the Breeders Cup Juvenile in November (20 points), also at Keeneland. In February 2021, he won the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, earning him an additional ten Road points.

His most recent victory propelled him to the top of the Kentucky Derby scoreboard came on April 3 when he triumphed in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, earning 100 Road points. By the way, since his initial professional start, each subsequent race has seen an increase in his speed figures.

In essence, Essential Quality seems only to be interested in winning.

Rock the World.

Although he was born in Kentucky, Rock Your World is primarily a West Coast product.

His connections are as close to royalty in California thoroughbred racing as you can get, and all three of his career starts have taken place at Santa Anita.

Trainer for Rock Your World

Since he started his career in 1979, Californian trainer John W. Sadler has been successful in graded stakes races. He’s ridden horses to success in various Breeders’ Cup races throughout the years, and this will be his fifth trip to the Kentucky Derby.

Sadler stated this to the media following Rock Your World’s victory in the most recent Santa Anita Derby.

Jockey of Rock the World

Rock Both Umberto Rispoli and Joel Rosario have won your World. However, Rispoli was on board when Rock Your World won the Santa Anita Derby.

Rock Your World may easily win the Kentucky Derby with either jockey on board.

Owner of Rock Your World

John Sadler, the trainer, and the Hronis brothers Kostas and Pete have been close colleagues for many years, as has Michael Talla, chairman of Sports Club Co.’s thoroughbred racing business Talla Racing LLC.

The first racing collaboration between Hronis Racing and Talla Racing is Rock Your World.

Longtime California thoroughbred trainer and breeder Ron McAnally and his wife Deborah are Rock Your World’s breeders. His father was Charm, the Maker, and his mother was Candy Ride (by Empire Maker).

Recent Work by Rock Your World

In his first career start, a six-furlong grass race at Santa Anita in January, Rock Your World broke his maiden. He won the Pasadena Stakes, a longer and more prestigious turf race, at Santa Anita a month later (Listed).

The Santa Anita Derby on April 3 was his maiden race on a dirt track and his first effort at a Road to the Kentucky Derby score. He earned 100 Road points for that victory, moving him into the top ten on the Road standings.

He’s shown he can handle anything Santa Anita throws at him, but on May 1, will he be able to repeat that success in Louisville, Kentucky?

As the odds fluctuate, I think a show wager on Medina Spirit would be a good choice.

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