Kentucky Derby Entries 2021: King Fury

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 Entries: King Fury

By Ed McNamara

After King Fury rallied to win the Lexington in the slop, trainer Ken McPeek said he thought he could get 1 1/4 miles but probably wouldn’t get into the Derby. A slew of defections put his 20 qualifying points at No. 18 on the list, so he’s in.

Positives: He’s 2-for-3 at Churchill Downs, with both wins around two turns, and he has a stayer’s pedigree.

Negatives: He’s never run farther than 1 1/16 miles and starting in 1950 every Derby winner has had at least one race at 1 1/8 miles. His speed figures also are weak.

McPeek never has shied from going against the grain. Last year he won the Preakness with Swiss Skydiver, only the sixth filly to do that. His other Triple Crown win was the ultimate shocker, Sarava’s 70-1 upset in the 2002 Belmont. That was the final win in his injury-plagued, 3-for-17 career.

I can’t envision King Fury winning the Derby, but if the pace falls apart and he has some racing luck, he might slip into the bottom of the superfecta.

Kentucky Derby 2021 Entries: King Fury

Post position: TBD

Odds: TBD

Trainer: Ken McPeek

Jockey: Brian Hernandez, Jr.

Owners: Fern Circle Stables, Three Chimneys Farm

Career record: 6-3-0-0

Career earnings: $262,739

Derby qualifying points: 20 (18th)

Best Equibase speed figure: 103

Pedigree: Curlin-Taris, by Flatter

Color: Chestnut

Running style: Closer

Notes: McPeek, 62, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, where he and former trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, 60, knew each other. Their colts Golden Ticket (McPeek) and Alpha dead-heated for the win in the 2012 Travers. McLaughlin retired in March 2020 to become the agent for Luis Saez, the rider of undefeated Derby favorite Essential Quality …    Brian Hernandez, Jr., the 2004 Eclipse-winning apprentice, won the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic on Fort Larned. He is winless in the Derby, Preakness and Belmont.