Kentucky Derby 2021 Odds: Highly Motivated

In the days leading up to the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1), usracing.com is profiling all the contenders. The 1 ¼-mile Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs is May 1, and 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 2021 Profile: Highly Motivated

By Lynne Snierson

Chad Brown is a numbers guy and heading into the Kentucky Derby the math is adding up in the column of Highly Motivated.

The four-time Eclipse Award winning trainer (2013-2016) said of the Klaravich Stables homebred, “His numbers are good. I’ve always followed the numbers of my horses as they’ve developed in their careers. I try to stack them against the field. He’s definitely one of the faster horses, and in the top handful of horses in the field on his figures. It’s a good feeling.”

Highly Motivated, who gave Derby favorite Essential Quality a run for his money in the Blue Grass last out, was trying two turns for the first time that day. While he passed the two-turn test at 1 1/8 miles, the Derby distance remains a question.

Highly Motivated is by super sire Into Mischief, who fathered 2020 Derby and BC Classic winner Authentic. His dam is Strong Incentive, who won one stake at 7 furlongs, and she is by Warrior’s Reward, who excelled in graded stakes sprints.

“He came out of it (the Blue Grass) well and he’s had one work since and he worked super,” said Brown, referring to the colt’s April 18 bullet at Keeneland when he went 4 furlongs in 47.20. “I think this horse is really going to move forward off that race.

Klaravich Stables owner Seth Klarman had two charges earn enough points to be in the starting gate, but Brown opted to only run this one and point Crowded Trade to the Preakness.

Brown is looking for his first Derby win. He came close when Good Magic was second in 2018.

Kentucky Derby 2021 Entries: Hot Rod Charlie

Post position: TBD

Odds: TBD

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Trainer: Chad Brown

Owner: Klaravich Stables

Career record: 5-2-2-1

Career earnings: $320,050

Derby qualifying points: 50 (12th)

Top Equibase speed figure: 108

Pedigree: Into Mischief-Strong Incentive by Warrior’s Reward

Color: Bay

Running style: Frontrunner/Can sit off the lead

Notes: Hall of Fame rider and four-time Eclipse Award winner Javier Castellano has not won the Derby either in 14 tries (0-0-1), though he did win the Preakness for these connections on Cloud Computing … Klarman and Brown have enjoyed phenomenal success together, winning the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2018 with Newspaperofrecord and five Grade 1s with 2019 BC Turf victor and Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar. That one was co-owned with William Lawrence … Brown will saddle the undefeated Search Results for Klarman in the Kentucky Oaks. The owner and trainer have not yet won that race either … Klarman, a billionaire investor and hedge fund manager from Boston, names his horses with financial terms or for Boston landmarks like Yawkey Way and Fenway Park … Brown has been the leading trainer on the New York circuit for six straight years and won his latest title at the recently concluded Aqueduct meet.

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