Kentucky Derby Odds 2021: Bourbonic

In the days leading up to the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1), is profiling all the contenders. The 1 ¼-mile Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs is May 1 and is the first leg of the Triple Crown. All profiles will be updated with post positions, odds, and jockeys following the draw on Tuesday, April 27.

Kentucky Derby Profile: Bourbonic

By Ed McNamara

Todd Pletcher has built a historic career with horses that can set or track the pace. Bourbonic, the 72-1 hero of this year’s Wood Memorial, is an outlier.

“He doesn’t have any early speed,” Pletcher said. “We always knew this horse would handle added distance. He was able to get a perfect trip, sit back and make one run. It was a big effort.”

Hot rider Kendrick Carmouche fit Bourbonic perfectly on April 3 over Aqueduct’s deep, tiring track. They made the last move to get up by a head over 15-1 stablemate Dynamic One after a slow 1 1/8 miles (1:54.49).

“Todd asked me what I was going to do, and I told him I wouldn’t move,” Carmouche said. “I was just going to sit, sit, sit, sit and hopefully get the last quarter of a mile. I knew he would go on from there.”

Unlike many in the prospective Derby field, Bourbonic has the pedigree to handle 1 1/4 miles. His sire, Bernardini, won the 2006 Preakness, and his damsire, Afleet Alex, would have swept the 2005 Triple Crown if not for a brutal trip in the Derby.

Bourbonic was sixth and 11th in his first two starts last year but has three wins and a second in his next four, all at a mile or longer. The Wood transformed him from a nobody to a Derby dark horse.

“Sometimes the worst thing you can have is a hot hand in January and February,” said Pletcher, who went from empty-handed to having four of the top 20 in the Derby qualifying points standings. “We were hoping things would come together, and we always thought Bourbonic had the potential to step up.”

The last deep closer to take the Derby was Orb in 2013. Since that rainy day, no winner has been farther back than third at any point in the race. Maybe we’re due to see a horse finish first after being far back.

“There’s a lot of speed this year for the Derby,” six-time winner Bob Baffert said. “It’s still wide open. This could be one of those Giacomo years. You never know.”

Baffert was referencing the 50-1 shot who came from 18th at the first call to get up by a head with a wide rally. That’s how Bourbonic pulled his shocker in the Wood. If the fractions are hot and contested, maybe he can do it again May 1. Difficult, but not impossible.

Kentucky Derby 2021 Entries: Bourbonic

Post position: TBD

Odds: TBD

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche

Owner: Calumet Farm

Career record: 6-3-1-0

Career earnings: $465,880

Derby qualifying points: 100 (7th)

Best Equibase speed figure: 100

Pedigree: Bernardini-Dancing Afleet, by Afleet Alex

Color: Dark bay

Running style: Closer

Notes: Carmouche, a 37-year-old native of Louisiana, is one of the country’s hottest riders. He earned his first Grade 1 win last fall in the Cigar Mile on the way to leading the Aqueduct meeting, his first title on the New York Racing Association circuit … He’s a bright, articulate guy who moved from Parx to New York in 2015. He could become the first African-American jockey to win the Derby since Jimmy Winkfield in 1902 … Pletcher has trained a record 55 Derby starters, winning with Super Saver (2010) and Always Dreaming (2017) … Calumet Farm has campaigned eight Derby winners. Brad Kelley has owned it since 2012. Oxbow’s Preakness victory the next year was Calumet’s first in a classic since 1968.