He ran only seven furlongs, not the 10 that possibly awaits next May. Even so, Red Flag’s 7¼-length romp in Sunday’s Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar vaulted the juvenile from off the board to 50/1 on William Hill Nevada’s 2021 Kentucky Derby Futures Board.

Red Flag-Derby Futures
Red Flag and Victor Espinoza flew up the Kentucky Derby Futures Board with their 7-1/4-length breeze in Sunday’s Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar. The Tamarkuz colt is 50/1 to win the 2021 Derby. (Image: Benoit Photo)

The $220,000 purchase by A&M Records founder Jerry Moss and his wife Tina is now one of five new horses on William Hill’s board. At 50/1, he is the fifth-favorite among the 130 listed horses.

Red Flag shares those 50/1 odds with holdovers Dr. Schivel and Hot Rod Charlie, himself a relative newcomer to the double-digit odds Derby futures neighborhood. Interestingly, Red Flag went into Del Mar’s starting gate on Sunday at 10/1 to win the Bob Hope.

“I didn’t really expect that kind of performance. I was hoping to get a placing,” trainer John Shirreffs said after the race. “He broke his maiden from way off the pace and he’s been doing better and better in the mornings, but he’s not a brilliant work horse. So this was a pleasant surprise.”

2021 Kentucky Derby Top Contenders

Horse Odds
Essential Quality 8/1
Jackie’s Warrior
Highly Motivated 45/1
Dr. Schivel
Hot Rod Charlie
Red Flag*
Jaxson Traveler 60/1
Caddo River*
Get Her Number
Midnight Bourbon
Stayin’ Out Late
Santa Cruiser 90/1
* = Board debut
Source: William Hill Nevada

One of the horses he beat, 3/5 favorite Spielberg, finished fourth. As a result, the Bob Baffert charge’s Derby futures price rose from 70/1 to 100/1.

Essential Quality Only Derby Futures Horse in Single-Digits

Essential Quality, who plunged to 10/1 last week after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, is now the prohibitive 8/1 favorite. The next closest horses are Baffert’s “other” 2-year-old – Classier – and Jackie’s Warrior. Both are 40/1.

Brad Cox brings more than Essential Quality to the Derby mix. He trains two of the futures newcomers: Caddo River (75/1) and Gagetown (120/1). Caddo River broke his maiden in his third career race on Sunday, winning a one-turn mile race at Churchill Downs by 9 ½ lengths as the 1/5 favorite. That was the Hard Spun progeny’s first race longer than seven furlongs.

Gagetown broke his maiden last Friday at Churchill Downs, winning a six-furlong maiden race at 5/1.

Seeing More Horses Lower Than 100/1

The other two newbies to the list are Santa Cruiser (90/1) and Uno (120/1). Trained by Keith Desormeaux, Santa Cruiser won his first race on Sunday by 1½ lengths in his third try. Uno battled through the Aqueduct slop last Thursday, prevailing by nearly four lengths in a six-furlong maiden race. It was the Todd Pletcher-trainee’s debut outing.

This week, 19 horses are lower than 100/1. The odds on the 130 listed horses range from Essential Quality’s 8/1 – a huge underlay 5½ months out from the Derby – to Valiant Thor’s 350/1. Advance Cash, who was 250/1, climbed to 300/1 after finishing fifth in the black-type Juvenile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream Park West on Saturday.

Other big shifts involved Kenny Had a Notion (140/1 from 75/1), Weston (150/1 from 100/1), and Tiz Handsome (200/1 from 150/1). Kenny Had A Notion finished a miserable sixth in the black-type James F. Lewis Stakes at Laurel Park. Weston placed fifth in the Bob Hope with a glacial 66 Equibase Speed Figure. Tiz Handsome didn’t finish the Juvenile Sprint Stakes.