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2023 Kentucky Derby Betting Favorites, Dark Horses & Longshots

By Jeff Stinger

The 2023 Kentucky Derby happens this Saturday on May 6. Two Todd Pletcher trained horses, Forte and Tapit Trice, are the favorites. Which horses should be on your radar to take the roses back to the barn? Keep reading for analysis of five Derby favorites, three Derby dark horses, and three Derby longshots.

2023 Kentucky Derby Race Info

  • When: Saturday, May 6, 2023. 2:30 pm EST
  • Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY
  • TV/Streaming: Peacock
  • Distance & Surface: 1 ¼ miles on dirt

READ MORE: 2023 Kentucky Derby Trifecta, Superfecta & Exacta Picks

2023 Kentucky Derby Entry List

  1. Hit Show +3000
  2. Verifying +1500
  3. Two Phil’s +1200
  4. Confidence Game +2000
  5. Tapit Trice +500
  6. Kingsbarns +1200
  7. Reincarnate +5000
  8. Mage +1500
  9. Skinner +1200
  10. Practical Move +1000
  11. Disarm +3000
  12. Jace’s Road +1500
  13. Sun Thunder +5000
  14. Angel of Empire +800
  15. Forte +300
  16. Raise Cane +5000
  17. Derma Sotogake +1000
  18. Rocket Can +3000
  19. Lord Miles +3000
  20. Continuar +5000

Top Five 2023 Kentucky Derby Favorites

  • Forte
  • Tapit Trice
  • Angel of Empire
  • Derma Sotogake
  • Practical Move

We’re going out on a limb and throwing out Forte and Practical Move. Forte hasn’t worked well leading up to the Derby, which tells us the Pletcher runner peaked when winning the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Practical Move isn’t bred to want to run more than, maybe, 1 1/8 miles. Practical Move won the Santa Anita Derby, but it was a desperate ending. Even if the Tim Yakteen runner can get the distance, the SA Derby win may have taken too much out of Practical Move.

Tapit Trice, Angel of Empire, and Derma Sotogake can all win the roses.

Derma Sotogake, the UAE Derby horse, gets speed from his sire, Mind Your Biscuits. The Japanese trained runner gets stamina from his broodmare. Derma Sotogake might be a freak. So keep an eye out for clues.

Tapit sired Tapit Trice. The $1.3 million purchase can run close to the pace or close from the clouds. Also, Trice got into a dog fight with Verifying in the Bluegrass Stakes and out worked his rival to the wire. So Tapit Trice is also tough.

Angel of Empire has an incredible closing kick. His closing kick is reminiscent of Victory Gallop’s, the 1998 Kentucky Derby second place finisher and 1998 Belmont Stakes winner. Angel of Empire could be a rockstar in the making.

Top Three 2023 Kentucky Derby Dark Horses

  • Two Phil’s
  • Kingsbarns
  • Verifying

If Derma Sotogake or Verifying doesn’t challenge Kingsbarns early, the Todd Pletcher trained equine will gallop along the front end and then pull away around the final turn. The undefeated Uncle Mo sired colt can also hang behind the speed if required.

Verifying was all out to beat Tapit Trice in the Grade 1 Bluegrass Stakes. Trained by Angel of Empire’s conditioner, Brad Cox, Verifying can steal this on the front end if no other jockey wants the lead. 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify sired.

Some horseplayers are writing off Two Phil’s Jack Ruby Steaks victory because it happened on tapeta. But Two Phil’s has decent dirt form. Also, the way Two Phil’s dominated the rest of the field in the Jack Ruby suggests the horse has turned into a legit Kentucky Derby contender.

Top Three 2023 Kentucky Derby Longshots

  • Mage
  • Skinner
  • Hit Show

Mage will be closing fast. The problem with backing Mage is that he must get a decent trip and trainer Gustavo Delgado doesn’t often put the saddle on a Derby contender.

Skinner goes second time for trainer John Shirreff’s. Shirreff’s pulled off one of the Derby’s biggest upsets with Giacomo. For sure Skinner will improve second time running for the SoCal based trainer.

Hit Show shouldn’t offer anything close to +3000. Lord Miles beat Hit Show by a nose in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial. The Brad Cox trainee breaks from post-position 1. So if jockey Manuel Franco can make out a trip, Hit Show could pull a Rich Strike and get the win via a rail run.

Where to Bet on the Horse Racing

2023 Kentucky Derby odds and lines are available on the Nitrobetting Racebook. Create a Nitrobetting account now to start placing stakes on the dozens of daily horse racing events happening all over the world!

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