Get to know the trainers who will have horses running in the 2021 Kentucky Derby

Jon Hale, Louisville Courier Journal
·5 min read

When planning your Kentucky Derby bets, considering the résumé of the trainer can be prudent.

For the 2021 Derby field, there is no shortage of storylines for the various trainers in the field.

One could break the record for all-time Kentucky Derby wins. Another could end the streak of most Derby starts without a victory.

Four trainers have multiple horses in the field. Three could have their first Derby starts. A Louisville native who could have three horses in the field, including the favorite, falls into both categories.

Want to factor in the trainer to your Derby bets? Here is what you need to know about the 2021 Kentucky Derby trainers:

More: Which Kentucky Derby horse contenders are in the field and on the bubble?

Steve Asmussen

Kentucky Derby horses: Super Stock, Midnight Bourbon

Asmussen holds the record for most Kentucky Derby starters without a victory (21). He has finished second in the race twice with Nehro (2011) and Lookin At Lee (2017). He has won the Preakness twice and Belmont once. Super Stock is co-owned by Asmussen’s father, Keith.

Trainer Bob Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby six times.
Trainer Bob Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby six times.

Bob Baffert

Kentucky Derby horse: Medina Spirit

Baffert is looking to break a tie with Ben Jones for most Kentucky Derby victories by a trainer with a win this year. He has previously won the race six times: Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002), American Pharoah (2015), Justify (2018) and Authentic (2020). Baffert will have just one horse in the Derby this year after the decision to hold his other Derby hopeful Concert Tour for the Preakness was made earlier this month.

News: Trainer Bob Baffert wins again — this time before Arkansas Racing Commission

Chad Brown

Kentucky Derby horse: Highly Motivated

The Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding trainer for four consecutive years from 2016 to 2019, Brown is 0 for 5 in Kentucky Derby starts. His best finish was second with Good Magic in 2018. Brown won the Preakness with Cloud Computing in 2017.

Mark Casse

Kentucky Derby horses: Helium, Soup and Sandwich

Casse won the second and third legs of the Triple Crown in 2019 with War of Will in the Preakness and Sir Winston in the Belmont, but he is 0 for 8 in previous Kentucky Derby starts. Casse’s best Derby finish to date was fourth with Classic Empire in 2017.

Brad Cox

Kentucky Derby horses: Essential Quality, Mandaloun, Caddo River

Louisville native Brad Cox won the Eclipse Award for 2020 Outstanding Trainer in January after winning four Breeders’ Cup Races and the Kentucky Oaks. Cox has won the Kentucky Oaks twice but will start a horse in the Kentucky Derby for the first time this year. He could do so with as many as three horses, including the race favorite, Essential Quality.

More: Brad Cox says he's planning for Caddo River to run in Kentucky Derby

Peter Eurton

Kentucky Derby horse: Dream Shake

Eurton could start a horse in the Kentucky Derby for the second consecutive year and third time in his career. Both his previous Derby starts, Dance With Fate (2014) and Storm the Court (2020), finished sixth. Eurton has won two Breeders’ Cup races in his career.

Greg Foley

Kentucky Derby horse: O Besos

An Oldham County native, Foley could saddle a horse in the Kentucky Derby for the second time in his career. He finished 10th with Major Fed in 2020. Foley ranks seventh all-time in career wins at Churchill Downs.

Peter Miller

Kentucky Derby horse: Get Her Number

Both of Miller’s previous Kentucky Derby starts, Comma to the Top (2011) and Gray Magician (2019), finished 19th. He became the first trainer to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and Turf Sprint in consecutive years in 2017 and 2018. The 2018 wins came at Churchill Downs.

Victoria Oliver

Kentucky Derby horse: Hidden Stash

Oliver could become the first female trainer to start a horse in the Kentucky Derby since Carla Gaines with Bolo in 2015. She would be the 18th woman to saddle a horse in the Derby as a trainer. The best finish by a female trainer in the Derby was a second place from Shelley Riley with Casual Lies in 1992. Oliver’s father, G. Watts Humphrey Jr., is the former Churchill Downs Incorporated chairman of the board.

Doug O'Neill

Kentucky Derby horse: Hot Rod Charlie

O’Neill has two Kentucky Derby winners on his resume — I’ll Have Another (2012) and Nyquist (2016) — in six career starts. O’Neill’s nephew, Patrick O’Neill, is one of five former Brown University football players who own a stake in Hot Rod Charlie.

Todd Pletcher

Kentucky Derby horses: Known Agenda, Sainthood, Bourbonic, Dynamic One

A seven-time Eclipse Award Trainer of the Year winner, Pletcher could have four starters in the same Kentucky Derby for the fifth time in his career. In 55 career starts, he has won the race twice with Super Saver (2010) and Always Dreaming (2017)

Earlier: Pletcher quartet works at Churchill Downs; Derby decision coming on Chad Brown's duo?

John Sadler

Kentucky Derby horse: Rock Your World

Sadler won the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs with American Horse of the Year Accelerate, but he is 0 for 4 in Kentucky Derby starts. His best finish was sixth with Corby in 1993. His last Derby start came in 2013 with Candy Boy. Now, Sadler has his best chance at a Derby win yet with undefeated Rock Your World.

Wesley Ward

Kentucky Derby horse: Like the King

One of three trainers with their first Kentucky Derby start this year, Ward has four Breeders’ Cup wins on his resume. Ward just missed a Derby starter in 2014 when Pablo Del Monte was scratched after drawing the No. 20 post position.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky Derby 2021: These trainers could have horses in the field