Who will win the 2021 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs?

The 147th running of the most historic American race will take place this Saturday, May 1, under the twin spires in Louisville. Twenty horses will enter, but who will come out the victor?

Planet Sport is here to preview the big race as well as give you some tips and tricks to beat the bookies this Saturday.

What is key in this race is the fact that historically speaking, closers and horses who do not have an early front running speed tend to fare poorly. We'll focus on horses who have a shot, either sprinting away or those coming from closer to the middle of the running pack.

Essential Quality (2/1)

Trainer: Brad Cox Jockey: Luis Saez

2021 form: 2-2-0-0 Career form: 5-5-0-0

Silks: Royal blue, royal blue cap

Undefeated two-year-old champion in 2020, coming in third off the winter layoff with the best figures of the bunch. Trainer won the Eclipse Award in 2020 and jockey just won the prestigious Keeneland Spring meet. As grey as the clouds rolling in on a chilly spring day.

Planet Sport rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Rock Your World (5/1)

Trainer: John Sadler Jockey: Joel Rosario

2021 form: 3-3-0-0 Career form: 3-3-0-0

Silks: White, burnt red 'Rock Your World' emblem, burnt red sleeves, burnt red cap

Undefeated and took an interesting path, winning first over turf, then ran huge in the Santa Anita Derby on dirt. Best Beyer speed figure in the field. Has tactical speed and good workouts coming into Saturday.

Planet Sport rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Known Agenda (6/1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

2021 form: 3-2-0-0 Career form: 6-3-1-1

Silks: Forest green, white 'STE,' white bars on sleeves, white 'STE' on forest green cap

Drew the unfortunate rail position but is more of a stalker than a pacesetter. Won the Florida Derby prep impressively, coming from three lengths back going into the final turn. Has the best North American jockey.

Planet Sport rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Hot Rod Charlie (8/1)

Trainer: Doug O'Neill Jockey: Flavien Prat

2021 form: 2-1-0-1 Career form: 7-2-1-2

Silks: White, green road runner emblem, green band on sleeves, white cap

Won Louisiana Derby prep handily on the lead in a race with fair fractions. Third race off the winter layoff and a healthy six weeks since the last start could bode well for this front runner. Has the best West Coast jockey shipping to Kentucky for the ride.

Planet Sport rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Highly Motivated (10/1)

Trainer: Chad Brown Jockey: Javier Castellano

2021 form: 2-0-1-1 Career form: 5-2-2-1

Silks: White, red 'KS' and braces, red and white halved sleeves, red and white cap

Finished second to Essential Quality by a neck in the Bluegrass Stakes prep and seems to get better with each race. He is out of last year's derby winning sire Into Mischief. Has never finished worse than third in his lifetime.

Planet Sport rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Mandaloun (15/1)

Trainer: Brad Cox Jockey: Florent Geroux

2021 form: 3-1-0-1 Career form: 5-3-0-1

Silks: Green, pink sash, white sleeves, pink cap

Beaten favourite by a fair amount in the Louisiana Derby but undefeated prior to that affair except for a third-place finish in the Lecomte Stakes. Could be sitting on a big race with recent workout times. Connections won the Kentucky Oaks last year and could be primed to upset again on Saturday.

Planet Sport rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Medina Spirit (15/1)

Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: John Velasquez

2021 form: 4-1-3-0 Career form: 5-2-3-0

Silks: Blue, red sash, white sleeves, red cap

Winning connections of last year's Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit has never finished below second place. Has tactical speed and will be near the front end. Hard to pass up, as the trainer has won several of these affairs.

Planet Sport rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Midnight Bourbon (20/1)

Trainer: Steve Asmussen Jockey: Mike Smith

2021 form: 3-1-1-1 Career form: 7-2-2-3

Silks: Maroon, white circled 'W,' white bars on sleeves, white cap

Took a strong second to Hot Rod Charlie in the Louisiana Derby and has tactical speed. Jockey won the last Triple Crown with Justify. Should sit off the early lead and make a strong move coming into the final turn. Seems to be bred for distance.

Planet Sport rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Planet Sport's top four: Rock Your World, Essential Quality, Highly Motivated, Midnight Bourbon

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