The first Triple Crown event of the season is fast approaching, with the Kentucky Derby set to take place on the 1st of May at Churchill Downs. The race is easily one of the most prestigious of the season, and is one that all leading trainers and owners look to win.
This year’s race looks set to be one of the most competitive in recent seasons, with a number of credible chances having a good chance of winning the Kentucky Derby. However, could one horse that has been going under the radar have a solid chance of achieving a massive success at the Triple Crown event?
Hot Rod Charlie In Good Form
Hot Rod Charlie has always been a horse that gamblers have kept an eye on, but he is yet to make the groundbreaking run that will make fans stand up and claim that he has a leading chance in a Triple Crown event.
Up until the end of January, he hadn’t won a Graded race, with the closest that he had come being in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland. On that occasion, he was set off at a massive price of 100/1, but finished three-quarters of a length behind Essential Quality.
That was the first time that the three-year-old looked as though he could be a force to be reckoned with on the dirt. His return to the track after that run came at Santa Anita at the end of January, but it would end in disappointment, as he finished third.
However, he was beaten by just a neck by Medina Spirit in the Robert B Lewis Stakes, which is a Grade 3 race. It was another example that he is at least moving in the right direction.
Change In Trainer
His price for the Kentucky Derby has reached a new low most recently, as the three-year-old changed yards and linked up with Leandro Mora. There was an immediate change in the horse following the switch, as he won just six days later at Fair Grounds. The victory was just the second of his career, in his seventh start.
However, most importantly, it was his first Graded success in the United States. The Grade 2 success in the Louisiana Stakes would have done no damage to his reputation going into the Kentucky Derby, but the fact that he won by two lengths shows that improvement is being made.
There is still some way to go before he can be considered a leading horse in the field, but the signs are there, and gamblers are certainly going to be standing up and taking notice. Check out the current Kentucky Derby Odds 2021 here.
Essential Quality Still Leads Betting
At present, Hot Rod Charlie is considered the fourth favourite in the betting for the Kentucky Derby. At the top of the market remains Essential Quality, who maintained his perfect 100% record on his return to the track at Oaklawn Park at the end of February.
The Brad Cox trained horse won the Southwest Stakes by four and a half lengths from Spielberg and will be a hard horse to bet against come Kentucky Derby day.
Concert Tour and Greatest Honour are the only other two horses above Hot Rod Charlie in the betting for the Kentucky Derby. Concert Tour made it three wins from three in March with a win in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Greatest Honour also made it two wins from two in 2021 for trainer Claude R McGaughey III, as he most recently won the Fountain of Youth Stakes. However, his best form has come at Gulfstream Park, which could give confidence to those backing Hot Rod Charlie.