Kentucky Derby Trifecta Picks, Advice and Tips

Here are my 2021 Kentucky Derby Trifecta picks. I’ve made my picks for a winning trifecta part wheel. Hitting a straight trifecta is extremely difficult. It’s better to wheel multiple horses into your trifecta bet. It’s a smart way to win more money with less risk.

Essential Quality was the morning line favorite as of April 29, 2021. Now, let’s review my trifecta picks for this year’s race!

Book Bonus Bet
Twinspires Sportsbook
#1 Twinspires
$100 Signup Bonus New Customers - Wager $500 Within 30 Days to Claim
Tvg Sportsbook
#2 Tvg
Get up to $300 back on your first single-horse win bet

Kentucky Derby Part Wheel Keys

  • 1: Known Agenda, Hot Rod Charlie, Essential Quality
  • 2: Known Agenda, Hot Rod Charlie, Highly Motivated
  • 3: Known Agenda, Essential Quality, Highly Motivated, Sainthood

Total Cost: $18, $1 per combination

2021 Kentucky Derby Futures Odds - All Available Horses
Last Updated April 30, 2021 1:34 pm
Outcometwinspires Twinspires
14. Essential Quality
15. Rock Your World
9. Hot Rod Charlie
1. Known Agenda
17. Highly Motivated
8. Medina Spirit
10. Midnight Bourbon
7. Mandaloun
19. Soup and Sandwich
18. Super Stock
6. O Besos
11. Dynamic One
16. King Fury
20. Bourbonic
5. Sainthood
12. Helium
13. Hidden Stash
4. Keepmeinmind
3. Brooklyn Strong
2. Like The King

Cached 2021-10-25 22:54:18

Ways to bet Trifectas

There are 3 ways to bet trifectas. The most common is the straight trifecta. It’s also the most difficult to reliably win. Trifecta Boxes and Wheels are solid alternatives. You can add more than 3 horses to your trifecta bet. This increases the likelihood of winning with a higher investment upfront.

The following video explains how to place a wheel bet. The procedure is the same for exactas and superfectas. Watch the entire video for help with other bets!

  1. Straight Trifecta Bet – Pick 3 horses to finish in the top 3 positions. Final order matters.
  2. Trifecta Box Bet – Pick any number of horses to finish in the top 3 positions. Final order does not matter.
  3. Trifecta Part Wheel Bet – Select horses to key into each position: first, second and third. Final order does matter depending on how you key each horse.

Efficiency Matters

Trifecta Boxes are more likely to win because final order does not matter. But a box is less efficient than a wheel because you end up buying more combinations than you need.

Trifecta Part Wheels are harder to win because you must select and key horses correctly. However a part wheel is more efficient than a box. You will invest less bankroll to potentially win more money.

Kentucky Derby Trifecta Betting Advice

I recommend a 5 horse Trifecta Part Wheel, keying 3 horses in the first and second position, then 4 horses in the third. Why?

A 5 horse Trifecta Box costs $60, $1 per combination. But a 5 horse Trifecta Part Wheel using my recommendations is only $18, $1 per combination.

That means our 4th horse must finish second or third. I add a less-likely 5th horse to finish third, just to cover the bases.

You’ll be making a more efficient bet with higher profit potential. And you’ll be way ahead of the novices betting it all on one horse!

Picking 5 horses to finish first, second or third shouldn’t be hard. Plus you get bonus horse for the third key.

How to Key Horses in a Trifecta Part Wheel

Review this clip from our “How to Bet on Horses” video tutorial. I’ll discuss this wager and each horse below.

Let’s assemble our Trifecta Part Wheel keys from the table above. As of writing, Essential Quality is the heavy favorite. He’ll be put in Keys 1 and 3 with our other picks.

Known Agenda recently won the G1 Florida Derby on March 27, 2021. Before that, he won a Gulfstream Park Allowance and was 5th at the Sam F Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on February 6, 2021.

Handicappers must consider whether or not Known Agenda is peaking in time to beat Essential Quality, the current odds-on favorite.

Now let’s pick 1 more horse for our first and second keys.

Hot Rod Charlie last raced at Fair Grounds on March 20, 2021, winning the G2 Louisiana Derby. Prior to that, he was 3rd at the Robert B Lewis Stakes and second behind Essential Quality at the Breeders Cup Juvenile race on November 6, 2020.

The Rest: Kentucky Derby Trifecta Picks

Now, a 3rd horse for our first and third keys. After, a 4th horse for the second and third keys. Finally, a 5th horse for the third key only.

Essential Quality will be the 3rd horse found in our 1st and 3rd keys. He’s trained by Brad Cox. He’s been undefeated since September 5, 2020, recently winning the Blue Grass Stakes, Southwest Stakes and Breeders Cup Juvenile races.

Highly Motivated will be the fourth horse found in our second and third keys. He’s trained by Chad C. Brown. He was second to Essential Quality at the Blue Grass Stakes and third at the G3 Gotham Stakes on March 6, 2021.

Sainthood will be the fifth horse found in our third key. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Sainthood was recently second at the G3 Jeff Ruby Stakes on March 27, 2021 held at Turfway Park.

MSW Abbreviation: MSW means “Maiden Special Weight”. It’s an event reserved for horses who have never won a race.

2021 Kentucky Derby Part Wheel Keys

  • 1: Known Agenda, Hot Rod Charlie, Essential Quality
  • 2: Known Agenda, Hot Rod Charlie, Highly Motivated
  • 3: Known Agenda, Essential Quality, Highly Motivated, Sainthood

Total Cost: $18, $1 per combination

How to Place a Kentucky Derby Trifecta Wheel Bet?
Visit our recommended online race books below. Wait until the field is set and each horse is assigned a starting position. Fill out your Trifecta Wheel ticket with each horse’s corresponding number. Then sit back and get rich!

Good luck from Ron Halfback and the gang!

Kentucky Derby Required Reading

More Trifecta betting information, cost tables and advice:

  1. Trifecta Wheel Betting – Includes trifecta wheel equation, calculations and cost tables.
  2. Trifecta Box Betting – Discussion of Trifecta Box Bet, cost calculation and tables


Featured Image: