Horses that can Win the Kentucky Derby in 2023
Known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports", the Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown in horse racing, also being comprised of the Preakness States (in Maryland) and the Belmont Stakes (in New York). Unlike these two, however, the Derby has run uninterrupted since its inaugural race in 1875.
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With a full field of 20 entries, it can be slightly daunting attempting to handicap the race. Let Doc's 50+ years in the sports handicapping business be your guide in narrowing down the field with a list of the top 5 contenders in "The Run for the Roses".
Verifying: None of the contenders in the 2023 Kentucky Derby field have run 1 1/4 mile length, which then makes researching the lineage that much more important. It doesn't get much better than having your father be the most recent Triple Crown winner. With Justify as the sire, the lineage looks just about right. Verifying's tactical speed will serve him well and he should be in the mix at the finish line.
Tapit Trice: Sire Tapit has produced four Belmont winners, so the increased distance of the Derby shouldn't be an issue at all. He clearly has the talent, running down the aforementioned Verifying to win the (G1) Blue Grass. His past races show the ability to use different tactics, which will only increase his chances come race day.
Angel of Empire: The winner of his last two stake races, Angel of Empire's speed figures have improved in every race he has entered. Some thought the son of Classic Empire was a fluke with his stakes debut win in the (G2) Risen Star. He quieted the doubters with an even more impressive showing in the (G1) Arkansas Derby. If he continues his penchant for early speed, we may have a replay of Authentic's wire-to-wire victory in 2020.
Practical Move: With stamina from his dam's side and speed to burn from his sire, Practical Move has proven himself to be a formidable opponent. On a three-race winning streak, he races his best when the class of his opponent rises. In winning the Santa Anita Derby, he ran an intelligently-run race and held off a very game challenge from Mandarian Hero and Skinner. Oddsmakers currently have him as the second favorite to do the same at Churchill Downs.
Forte: What scares me most about picking Forte is his greatness. On paper and in video, it's clear he is deserving of his current favored status. From his lineage (sired by Violence and his dam grandsire was Arch), to his recent form of winning five consecutive stakes races, including the (G1) Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Forte seems to be type-casted to play the part of heavy favorite.
The draw for the 2023 Kentucky Derby post positions will take place on Monday, May 1. The post position is vital to the odds, as the betting lines will shift depending on where certain horses start, most notably the No. 1 and furthest outside positions. Once the post positions are known, expect the betting favorites, and our top five contenders, to change.
Some fun Kentucky Derby Facts
-There have been 23 editions of the Kentucky Derby in which the winner led from start to finish for a "wire-to-wire" victory, most recently Authentic in 2020.
-The Kentucky Derby has been decided by a winning margin of a neck or less on 25 occasions, and the winning margin has been less than a length in 44 editions of the race, so there is a very good chance for a thrilling finish.
-The fastest time ever run in the Derby was in 1973 at 1:59.4 minutes, when Secretariat broke the record set by Northern Dancer in 1964. Also during that race, Secretariat did something unique in Triple Crown races: for each successive quarter run, his times were faster.
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