By Gil Martin

Horse racing’s Triple Crown is ready to return to its normal schedule after the usual schedule was disrupted in 2020 by the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the Kentucky Derby will get things started on May 1st which means that the biggest events in American horse racing are rapidly approaching.

The Derby is usually the race with the largest field among the Triple Crown races which often makes it the most challenging to pick a winner. If horses are not competitive in the Derby, they often don’t even run in the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes while those horses that finish well continue to enter subsequent races.

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With that in mind, here are four horses who are considered early favorites to win “The Run for the Roses” next month.

  1. Mandaloun

Mandaloun has been very successful in his last four races, winning three of them and finishing third in the other. The three-year-old Colt is trained by Brad H. Cox and is scheduled to run in the Louisiana Derby in late March before competing in the Kentucky Derby on May 1st

The trainer has gradually increased the distance that Mandaloun has been running to prepare him for the Triple Crown races. 

This is a horse that likes to get off to a fast start and could be the one that dictates the pace in the Derby this year.

  1. Greatest Honour

Greatest Honour is fresh off a win at the Fountain of Youth Sweepstakes last month at Gulfstream Park. Trainer Shug McGaughey hopes his horse is ready for the Triple Crown races and their longer distances.

Greatest Honour started slowly at the Fountain of Youth Sweepstakes but finished strong and won the race by 1 ½ lengths. 

Overall, this horse has been performing better in recent months after a bit of a slow start this year.

The Florida Derby is up next for this strong horse that is getting more attention as we get closer to the Run for the Roses.

  1. Life Is Good

Bob Baffert trains this horse that is getting more recognition as a potential favorite in this year’s Kentucky Derby. 

Life Is Good continues to mature and has exceled at longer and longer races. His latest win was at the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita which was the second consecutive first-place showing for this exciting horse who also won at Del Mar.

Life Is Good is an intriguing horse who seems to be peaking at the right time to compete for this year’s Triple Crown.

  1. Essential Quality

Most experts consider Essential Quality to be the biggest favorite to win this year’s Kentucky Derby. The horse is fresh off a victory in the Southwest Stakes which garnered him a lot of attention.

Trainer Brad H. Cox and jockey Luis Saez have gotten the most of their horse who is considered one of the most talented three-year-old horses in the world.

Right now, most experts view Essential Quality as the frontrunner to capture this year’s Kentucky Derby.