Kentucky Derby Betting Guide from Top Rated Handicapper. The 2023 Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday, May 6 at Churchill Downs. Florida Derby winner Forte is the 3-1 favorite in the 2023 Kentucky Derby odds. Tapit Trice (5-1), Angel of Empire (8-1), Derma Sotogake (10-1), Two Phil’s (12-1) and Kingsbarns (12-1) are also among the top 2023 Kentucky Derby horses according to Betting markets.
With a talented 20-horse field set to leave the starting gate and a strange lead up into the 2023 field, our Top Rated Horse Racing Handicapper and former leading Jockey agent Michael McCabe selects his top pick for the 149th edition of the Kentucky Derby.
THE BETTING FAVORITES
15 Forte (3-1)
He’s the Kentucky Derby and after showing prowess as a juvenile, he has been unstoppable as a 3-year-old. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winners have not fared all that well in the Derby but Forte seems strong enough to buck all the trends. His Florida Derby win seemed to be a gut-buster on the surface, but I think that he still has gas in the tank and I have loved the way he has looked at Churchill Downs. He has been forward in his works, even springing out of them to gallop the next day, whereas other horses generally take a few walk days. The trip could be challenging if he gets far back, but he has the uber long stretch at Churchill to help him out. He is a favorite you can get behind and if you happen to get a good price on him, run with it. Contender.
5 Tapit Trice (5-1)
He hasn’t done much wrong in 2023, rattling off wins in the Tampa Bay Derby and the Blue Grass Stakes. But neither of those races has been impactful in the Derby the last 20 years or so. Also, he does his best running late, and that running style can lead to massive ground loss and/or traffic trouble in the 20-horse Derby field. There’s a reason only one late runner (Rich Strike) has won the Derby since 2014, and he needed a serious pace meltdown. Tapit Trice is a big, long-striding colt who needs to pass horses on the outside so he’s very likely to go wide around the far turn. This colt looks well and trains well, but you won’t get much of a price on him. If you fancy a gray horse trained by a master (Todd Pletcher), this is your guy. But he’s a pass for me. He is my pick for the Belmont.
14 Angel of Empire (8-1)
The Arkansas Derby victor seems to be finding his best stride at the right time. He is undefeated when facing graded stakes foes and has notched wins at three different tracks. Should it rain, he has won in the slop. This closer had modest beginnings, but that gave him some experience and confidence when he stepped in with the big dogs. He should have the pace to run at and looks like he wants to run all day.
17 Derma Sotogake (10-1)
Japanese raider Derma Sotogake made a terrific impression in the UAE Derby (G2), leading all the way to win by 5 1/2 lengths in a very fast time. He’s versatile in terms of running style, and drawing an outside post gives him options for setting or stalking the pace as needed. The UAE Derby has yet to produce a Kentucky Derby winner, but Derma Sotogake appears poised to change that storyline. He’s the son of a champion pedigree sprinter, but his win in the UAE Derby proves he has what it takes and the trip is no issue.
I think foreign jockey Christophe Lemaire takes a lot of experience after riding in the Kentucky Derby last year and may even lead or stalk the pace from the gun draw. 10-1 is disrespectful for this Japanese raider and he lands the upset and wins the 149th edition of the run to the roses.