Kentucky Derby Odds: Bodog Previews the Big Race
Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 6 because the 2023 Kentucky Derby is set to take place at Churchill Downs and it should be a memorable one. Whether or not it can top last year’s version that saw Rich Strike pull off the second-biggest upset in Derby history remains to be seen. We’ll forever remember the chestnut colt, who only became eligible for the Derby when Ethereal Road was scratched, passing the favourite in the homestretch just before the finish line as an 80-1 long shot and making a mockery of the Kentucky Derby odds in the process.
20 horses qualify for the Kentucky Derby by accumulating points in prep races throughout the season, and at press time, the top contender, Forte, is also the No. 1 pick on the Kentucky Derby odds board at Bodog. We’ll review Forte and all of the contenders within the +2000 range to get you ready for the most exciting two minutes in sports. NBC will provide live coverage of the event in Louisville, beginning at 2:30 PM ET on Saturday, May 6.
All eyes will be on the Todd Pletcher-trained colt, Forte. The three-year-old son of Violence broke his maiden on first attempt last May and followed that with a fourth-place finish at the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes. Since then, he’s been undefeated in all five starts—four of which have been grade 1 races.
Forte won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and is coming off of a Grade 1 victory at the Florida Derby where he surged from eight lengths behind at the ¾ mile mark and passed Mage, who had just raced by him, in the final 16th of the mile for the victory—no other Kentucky Derby prep race leads to more Kentucky Derby winners than the Florida Derby.
Tapit Trice +700
Another Pletcher-trained colt, Tapit Trice is fourth in points on the Kentucky Derby leader board and second on the odds board at +700. This son of Tapit is coming off of an impressive victory at the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes on April 8 where he finished a neck ahead of Verifying—another Kentucky Derby contender on this list. Before that victory, he won the Grade 3 South Tampa Bay Derby by two lengths.
Practical Move +900
Third on the Derby odds board and second on the leader board is Practical Move—a Tim Yakteen-trained son of Practical Joke. This three-year-old is well tested, having competed in four graded stakes races up to this point. His incredible speed was witnessed at the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes in March when he started ninth and blasted his way through the inside to reach the wire 2.5 lengths ahead of second-place finisher, Geaux Rocket Ride. Practical Move followed that performance with another victory at the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, proving himself to be a tough competitor for the Kentucky Derby.
Derma Sotogake +1000
This chestnut colt is one of two Japanese contenders expected at the Kentucky Derby this year. With a victory at the Grade 2 UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, Derma Sotogake appears to be rounding into form at the right time. He took the lead at the start of the race and held on to the rail, maintaining control for an easy 5.5-length victory on the dirt track. The win earned him 100 prep points—more than enough to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.
Angel of Empire +1200
This mid-range contender offers great value at +1200. He’s well tested, having competed at six different courses throughout his young career and his speed has consistently increased with each outing, peaking at the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby—his most recent outing. After sitting back for most of the race, Angel of Empire and jockey Flavien Prat pushed forward in the stretch and won by an incredible 4.5 lengths. The last horse to win the Arkansas Derby and the Kentucky Derby was American Pharoah in 2015.
Another colt trained by Pletcher, Kingsbarns is far less tested than the other contenders mentioned above, but drew attention at the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. The bay colt won the dirt race gate to wire with good speed, finishing 3.5 lengths ahead of second-place finisher, Disarm. He also won an Allowance Optional in February and a Maiden run in January, making him an intriguing pick. It’s likely that Jose Ortiz will ride Kingsbarns at the Kentucky Derby, but the official jockey announcement will happen closer to race day.
Two Phil’s +1200
The third horse available at +1200 is Two Phil’s—a son of Hard Spun, who finished second at the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2007. Two Phil’s has the unique advantage of having already competed at Churchill Downs when he competed at the Grade 3 Street Sense Stakes last October; the Larry Rivelli-trained colt won that race by 5 ¼ lengths. He then went on to finish second at the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes, third at the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes and first at the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks in March.
Brad Cox-trained Verifying has been a bit back and forth with his speed, but showed promise in early April when he rallied to a second-place finish at the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. At that race, he raced behind the pace-setter and then pushed ahead by a neck in the homestretch, only to slip back to second (by a neck) at the finish line, where Tapit Trice took the victory. It was a notable improvement from his performance at the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, where he finished fourth.
Jumping to +2000 on the Kentucky Derby odds board, we have Gustavo Delgado-trained Mage, who has competed at Gulfstream Park for all three outings of his young career. He has shown improvements in speed with each consecutive race, going so far as placing second at the Grade 1 Florida Derby on April 1. Mage raced as a closer in that one, keeping to the back of the pack until he surged to the front in the homestretch, but slipped one length behind Forte at the wire. Mage’s sire, Good Magic, finished second at the 2018 Kentucky Derby.