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2023 Kentucky Derby Odds & Best Bets

2023 Kentucky Derby Odds & Best Bets
Nicholas Berault
Written by Nicholas Berault
May 4, 2023

21+ to wager. Please Gamble Responsibly. Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS, NV), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY) Call 1-800-327-5050 (MA).

During an era of sports where Major League Baseball has implemented a pitch clock to speed up play, and D1 college football is exploring ways to reduce the length of their games, fans can count on the Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports to deliver the shot of adrenaline they’re constantly chasing.

The 149th Kentucky Derby is set for May 6 at the legendary Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. According to the official website, this spectacle has occurred annually since 1875, making it the longest-running sporting event in the United States. The 20 horses in a field of 3-year-old Thoroughbreds run the traditional 1 1/4-mile dirt track, whether rain or shine.

With odds posted for nearly 40 horses before the field is confirmed, we peer ahead in this article to the first Saturday in May and cover the early favorites, some expected long shots, and lay claim to some best bets.

Current Odds to Win 2023 Kentucky Derby

Latest Odds

Post Position Horse Odds
1 Hit Show 30-1
2 Verifying 15-1
3 Two Phil's 12-1
4 Confidence Game 20-1
5 Tapit Trice 5-1
6 Kingsbarns 12-1
7 Reincarnate 50-1
8 Mage 15-1
9 Skinner 20-1
10 Practical Move 10-1
11 Disarm 30-1
12 Jace's Road 15-1
13 Sun Thunder 50-1
14 Angel of Empire 8-1
15 Forte 3-1
16 Raise Cain 50-1
17 Derma Sotogake 10-1
18 Rocket Can 30-1
19 Lord Miles 30-1
20 Continuar 50-1

Recapping the 2022 Derby

History was made at the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby in 2022, as Rich Strike closed hard down the stretch to win the race as an 80-1 long shot. According to the Kentucky Derby’s website, Rich Strike has the second-longest odds of any Derby winner. Only Donerail, in 1913’s edition of this historic event, was a bigger underdog when the gates opened to commence the race.

The favorite, Epicenter (4-1), had emerged from a tightly packed bunch to take the lead at the exit of the final turn. Zandon (6-1) surged up the outside to challenge Epicenter, which appeared to open the inside rail for a ferocious close from Rich Strike.

However, the surprise winner closed in and passed both favorites to hit the line ahead by nearly a full length in front of a roaring crowd. That win represented the first Kentucky Derby victory for trainer Eric Reed.

2023 Betting Favorites

Three horses are listed above the rest on the early odds sheet, according to CBSSports, and have high expectations of winning the Derby. Forte is the current frontrunner, followed by Hoosier Philly and Tapit Trice.

Forte is trained by Todd Pletcher, an acclaimed name in the sport who has overseen the development of two previous Kentucky Derby winners, Super Saver (2010) and Always Dreaming (2017). Forte has two Grade 1 wins on the Derby’s website from October to November 2022. Both came on dirt surfaces.

Hoosier Philly won her first three races in 2022. That stretch includes a five-length rout at Churchill Downs in the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes on November 26.

Despite a recent stumble out of the gate in her first race of 2023, Hoosier Philly is among the favorites for the Derby this year based on a solid 2-year-old season. In addition, her trainer, Tom Amoss, won the 2019 Kentucky Oaks with a filly named Serengeti Empress. That race runs the day before the Kentucky Derby each year at Churchill Downs.

Tapit Trice is another Pletcher horse among the favorites in 2023. The colt has excelled in shorter-distance races, including a recent win at Gulfstream Park. The added distance of the track at Churchill Downs may be an adjustment, but it doesn’t change the potential of this horse.

One significant development as May 6 approaches is the status of the horses under the direction of Bob Baffert. Baffert is serving a two-year suspension that restricts any horse he’s trained from competing at Churchill Downs after Medina Spirit’s 2021 Derby win was stripped when the horse tested positive for an anti-inflammatory medication.

This suspension was upheld in February by a US District Court judge, meaning that any horse Baffert had worked with to this point needed to be positioned under another trainer for them to be eligible to run in the Kentucky Derby in 2023.

His top horse this year, Arabian Knight, is now being trained by a former assistant, Tim Yakteen. Yakteen trained Messier (8-1) and Taiba (12-1) in 2022.

Both horses ran in last year’s Derby, but neither finished in the top ten. Arabian Knight is poised to be next in line to compete at Churchill Downs, barring any setbacks between now and May.

2023 Long Shots

With roughly 40 horses currently having odds, most would be considered long shots. As we mentioned above, there are only 20 spots in the Derby.

Half of the horses listed will not even participate in the race on May 6. Regardless, we predict some specific horses will run and would be long shots to wear the rose garland.

Instant Coffee has won twice since November, once at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and again at the Lecomte Stakes in New Orleans. His trainer, Brad Cox, was awarded his first Derby victory in 2021 with Mandaloun (15-1) after Medina Spirit’s disqualification.

Blazing Sevens is a colt that won the Champagne Stakes at Belmont in October and finished 4th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November. He comes from a lineage that includes Good Magic, a competitor to Triple Crown winner Justify in 2018, and Curlin, the 2007 Preakness Stakes and Breeders’ Cup winner.

Confidence Game is currently first on the leaderboard for Derby qualifying this year. Trained by J. Keith Desormeaux, who developed 2016 Preakness winner Exaggerator, Confidence Game won the Rebel Stakes in sloppy conditions over horses like Reincarnate, Giant Mischief, Red Route One, and Verifying. Those competitors are all vying for a spot in the Derby this year.

2023 Best Bets

We've scoured the board and found a couple of early best bets! If you need a solid racebook for your Kentucky Derby action, check out the following options. Both of these have incredible bonus offers as well, so be sure to take advantage of those.

Tapit Trice 15-1

This horse is building momentum when qualifying points will be up for grabs over the coming weeks. Pletcher is keeping his two horses separated on track for now. The next time we see them together could be in Louisville.

If that’s the case, we expect Tapit Trice to have another win or two on his record. We intend to seal in some value now while Forte is the betting favorite between Todd Pletcher’s duo of top horses.

Instant Coffee 15-1

Sometimes it’s in the name, right? This American classic is also starting to string wins together as May draws closer, and the experience of doing so at Churchill Downs can’t hurt.

We’ll add him to our group of early tickets now in anticipation of beating the closing line on race day. After all, who doesn't like coffee?

May 3rd Update

As we sit here just 3 days until race day, there is some good news and some bad news. The good news is that we got a great number on Tapit Trice, who is now sitting at 5-1 odds to take home the Kentucky Derby crown. At the time of this writing, only Forte (who's also trained by Todd Pletcher) has better odds of winning.

Unfortunately, our pick on Instant Coffee has gone down in flames. He won at Churchill Downs back in November and at Fair Grounds back in January. However, Instant Coffee faded down the stretch and won't be in the field at the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

Hopefully, our early 15-1 bet on Tapit Trice will pay off. We'll find out soon, as post time is on Saturday at 6:57 PM Eastern Time. Good luck with your bets!

Past Kentucky Derby Winners

Are you trying to remember which horse won the Kentucky Derby in a specific year? We've compiled the following table to help with that. Here are all of the horses that have won the Derby since the turn of the century.

Year Winner
2022 Rich Strike
2021 Mandaloun
2020 Authentic
2019 Country House
2018 Justify
2017 Always Dreaming
2016 Nyquist
2015 American Pharoah
2014 California Chrome
2013 Orb
2012 I'll Have Another
2011 Animal Kingdom
2010 Super Saver
2009 Mine That Bird
2008 Big Brown
2007 Street Sense
2006 Barbaro
2005 Giacomo
2004 Smarty Jones
2003 Funny Cide
2002 War Emblem
2001 Monarchos
2000 Fusaichi Pegasus

Kentucky Derby FAQ

The Kentucky Derby is a true "bucket-list" event for all sports fans. Have any further questions about the Kentucky Derby? Our goal with this Q&A section is to provide you with the information you're looking for.

Who won the first-ever Kentucky Derby?

The first ever Kentucky Derby was won by a horse named Aristides, ridden by jockey Oliver Lewis, on May 17, 1875.

What jockey has won the most Kentucky Derbys?

The jockey with the most Kentucky Derby wins is Eddie Arcaro, who won the race five times between 1938 and 1952. Bill Hartack and Bill Shoemaker each won the race four times, and several other jockeys have won it three times, including Kent Desormeaux, Gary Stevens, and Calvin Borel.

What trainer has won the most Kentucky Derby titles?

The record for the most Kentucky Derby wins by a trainer is held by Ben Jones, who won the race six times between 1938 and 1952. His son, Horace A. "Jimmy" Jones, also had a successful career as a trainer, winning the Kentucky Derby twice himself, and the two of them combined to win the race a total of nine times. Other trainers who have won the Kentucky Derby multiple times include Bob Baffert, who has won the race seven times, and D. Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher, who have each won it four times.

Why is the Kentucky Derby so popular?

There are several reasons why the Kentucky Derby is so popular and has become one of the most famous horse races in the world:

Tradition: The Kentucky Derby has a long history dating back to 1875, and it has become a beloved tradition not only in Kentucky but across the United States.

Prestige: The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Winning the Triple Crown is considered one of the greatest achievements in horse racing, and as such, the Kentucky Derby is viewed as a prestigious event.

Fashion: The Kentucky Derby has become known as a fashion event, with attendees often dressing in elaborate hats and colorful outfits.

Party atmosphere: The Kentucky Derby is known for its festive atmosphere, with fans enjoying traditional Southern food and drinks like mint juleps.

Betting: Horse racing is a popular form of betting, and the Kentucky Derby is no exception. The race attracts a lot of attention from bettors who are looking to win big on the outcome of the race.

Overall, the combination of tradition, prestige, fashion, party atmosphere, and betting has made the Kentucky Derby a beloved and highly anticipated event.

What horse is the fastest in Kentucky Derby history?

The fastest time ever recorded in the Kentucky Derby was set by Secretariat in 1973 when he won the race in a time of 1:59.40. This remains the current track record for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, and no other horse has ever broken the two-minute mark in the race. Secretariat's record-breaking performance is widely regarded as one of the greatest moments in the history of horse racing.

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21+ to wager. Please Gamble Responsibly. Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS, NV), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 for confidential help (MI). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY) Call 1-800-327-5050 (MA).

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