After over a year of society being gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, there are now signs of a return to some semblance of normalcy.
Classrooms have begun to fill, the echo of cheers and jeers is in the air at stadiums again, and the Kentucky Derby has returned to the first weekend in May, reclaiming its mantle as the kick-off leg of the Triple Crown series.
The 20-horse field for the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville is packed with talented, dynamic runners — and some very juicy odds that can present some high-value betting opportunities.
Chief among the field of runners is morning line betting favorite No. 14 Essential Quality (2-1). Essential Quality comes into the Derby with five wins in five career starts. The Brad Cox-trained colt has demonstrated the ability to both win as a pure stalker or, as we saw last time out in the Blue Grass Stakes, be up on the lead, pushing the pace and still having enough in the tank to go the distance.
With that said, he’ll be up against quite a few other foes that possess a similar skill set in No. 15 Rock Your World (6-1), No. 9 Hot Rod Charlie (8-1), and No. 17 Highly Motivated (15-1), to name a few. Typically, these types of runners shape the race. If Essential Quality, for example, decides to make a run for the lead early, it will likely force all the other runners to change their plans and begin the chase. Everyone is aware of the speed he possesses, and he’s proven he can sustain it for at least 1 ⅛ miles. So it’ll be very interesting to see how the pacing possibilities shake out.
In preparation for the Derby, Essential Quality has turned in some strong workouts and appears to be primed to start his run toward Triple Crown immortality. While talent alone can give you a decisive edge, you need a lot to go right to go 5-for-5 in horse racing, and Essential Quality is looking to go 6-for-6 at the Derby. But the colt has the goods to make anybody a believer.
More from Yahoo Sports: