Pedigree of Kentucky Derby Contenders – Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Highly Motivated, Known Agenda & Hot Rod Charlie

  • The 147th Kentucky Derby is slated for Saturday, May 1st
  • Looking at the bloodlines of several contenders can aid your handicapping
  • Breeding can help us understand what horses will like distances, surfaces, and are up for top competition

It is amazing to think about how many sports superstars grew up in professional locker rooms. From Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, to Ken Griffey Jr, and Peyton and Eli Manning, their dad’s all played at the highest level.

Horse racing is even more skewed towards equine with accomplished parents, and it makes sense. People have children for a wide variety of reasons, but not usually in a concerted effort to produce professional athletes. That is the whole point of horse breeding, who can we match-up that will lead to the fastest horse?


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Many champions had mothers or fathers or both that excelled on the track. In September Authentic won the Kentucky Derby. His dad, Into Mischief, was a grade one winner trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella. His grandfather, Harlan’s Holiday, was the Kentucky Derby favorite after winning the Florida Derby and Blue Grass Stakes.

2021 Kentucky Derby Odds

Horse Odds at TVG
Essential Quality +200
Rock Your World +500
Known Agenda +600
Hot Rod Charlie +800
Highly Motivated +1000
Medina Spirit +1500
Mandaloun +1500
Midnight Bourbon +2000
King Fury +2000
Dynamic One +2000
O Besos +2000
Super Stock +3000
Bourbonic +3000
Soup and Sandwich +3000
Helium +5000
Like The King +5000
Brooklyn Strong +5000
Hidden Stash +5000
Sainthood +5000
Keepmeinmind +5000

Odds as of Apr 28

It is rather odd, but almost all racehorses come from the same background. That said, we can look carefully at recent relatives to get an idea of how the current crop might perform on Saturday.

Let’s look closely at this year’s top contender’s family tree and see what we can gather before we do our online Kentucky Derby betting.

2021 Kentucky Derby Favorites by Pedigree

Essential Quality

Essential Quality will be the Kentucky Derby favorite and while his parents had decent careers, they were not stars. Father, Tapit, won the Wood Memorial and finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby. His mom, Delightful Quality, ran in 13 races, winning twice and finishing second eight times.

Grandfather Elusive Quality has experienced success in the breeding shed including Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones.

Rock Your World

Rock Your World’s father, Candy Ride, was a stud in every sense of the word. Unbeaten in six career races, he set a track record in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. After his running career, he sired champions Shared Belief and Gun Runner among others.

Rock Your World’s mom, Charm the Maker, won three times. Her father, Empire Maker won the Belmont Stakes.

Highly Motivated

Like Derby rivals, Mandaloun and Soup and Sandwich, Highly Motivated’s dad is Into Mischief. While he won three of six career races and was a top contender for Triple Crown races before injury, Into Mischief is best known as the leading sire in North America in 2019 and 2020. Last year’s Derby winner Authentic is his most decorated progeny.


Highly Motivated’s mom, Canadian native Strong Incentive, won two of six career races. Both of Highly Motivated’s grandfathers were grade one winners.

Known Agenda

It is pretty easy to understand why Known Agenda is intriguing. His dad, Curlin, earned more than $10 million and won the Preakness Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Dubai World Cup. In the breeding shed, Curlin has fathered Palace Malice, Keen Ice, Exaggerator, Good Magic, and Kentucky Oaks contender Malathaat.

Byrama, Known Agenda’s mother, had a long racing career. She was in the money in 21 of 29 career starts and earned more than $650,000. A grade one winner, she is owned by St. Elias Stable. St. Elias is the racing operation for Florida Panthers owner Vinnie Viola. St. Elias owns Known Agenda too.

Hot Rod Charlie

Hot Rod Charlie is the son of Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow. While Oxbow earned $1.2 million, his father Awesome Again won the Breeders Cup Classic and earned close to $4.5 million.

Mother Indian Miss raced just twice and did not taste victory. However on the same side of the family, grandmother Glacken’s Gal was two-for-two with a stakes win, and grandfather Indian Charlie ran third in the Kentucky Derby and was an excellent sire.

The post Pedigree of Kentucky Derby Contenders – Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Highly Motivated, Known Agenda & Hot Rod Charlie appeared first on Sports Betting Dime.

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