Kentucky Derby Odds & Predictions 2023

Last Updated: May 5, 2023

Year after year, the Kentucky Derby offers a betting opportunity that is unique from any other in sports.

It’s not the best horse race on the calendar, although it is the most intriguing. With horses still coming into their own, a robust field that creates odd pace breakdowns, this is racing chaos at its finest.

This year, we have a sizable favorite that will steal plenty of attention and be on plenty of tickets. We also have a slew of fascinating horses that could factor at much better odds.

Let’s explore some predictions and prop bets for the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby Best Odds To Win & Position Draws

Horse racing lines were provided by TwinSpires Sportsbook and are current as of Friday, May 5, at 9:00 a.m. ET.

Use these racing tips to take advantage of our best Kentucky Derby betting promotion at TwinSpires:

Below are the odds to win the 2023 Kentucky Derby:

POSHorse NameOdds To WinJockeyTrainer
01Hit Show30-1Manny FrancoBrad H. Cox
02Verifying15-1Tyler GaffalioneBrad H. Cox
03Two Phil’s12-1Jareth LoveberryLarry Rivelli
04Confidence Game20-1James GrahamKeith Desormeaux
05Tapit Trice5-1Luis SaezTodd Pletcher
06Kingsbarns12-1Jose OrtizTodd Pletcher
07Reincarnate50-1John VelazquezTim Yakteen
08Mage15-1Javier CastellanoGustavo Delgado
11Disarm30-1Joel RosarioSteve Asmussen
12Jace’s Road15-1Florent GerouxBrad H. Cox
13Sun Thunder50-1Brian Hernandez Jr.Kenny McPeek
14Angel of Empire8-1Flavien PratBrad H. Cox
15Forte3-1Irad Ortiz Jr.Todd Pletcher
16Raise Cain50-1Gerardo CorralesBen Colebrook
17Derma Sotogake10-1Christophe LemaireHidetaka Otonashi
18Rocket Can30-1Junior AlvaradoBill Mott
21Cyclone Mischief*44-1TBDDale Romans
22Mandarin Hero*28-1Kazushi KimuraTerunobu Fujita
23King Russell*45-1Rafael BejaranoRon Moquett

Scratched from Kentucky Derby

As of Friday, May 5, at noon ET, these horses have been scratched from the Triple Crown race at Churchill Downs on Saturday:

  • 9 Skinner
  • 10 Practical Move
  • 19 Lord Miles
  • 20 Continuar

21 Cyclone Mischief,, 22 Mandarin Hero, and 23 King Russell enter the race.

Kentucky Derby Prediction to Win/Place/Show

No. 5 Tapit Trice to Win (5-1)

Forte will be on the most tickets, but Tapit Trice feels like the best horse in the field and a logical horse racing bet of the day.

The post position will be just fine, and it feels likely that he will build on the most recent performance and Beyer. The extra distance should be just fine, assuming he gets a good trip along the way.

No. 6 Kingsbarns to Place (12-1)

Kingsbarns is one of the least experienced horses in the race, and that is certainly a concern. But it also delivered a 95 Beyer Speed Figure in his third race. Plus, he’s a Pletcher horse and should enter this one on a high.

It might be a smidge early, but I am willing to take that chance with the odds attached. A big run by Kingsbarns would not surprise at all.

No. 14 Angel of Empire to Show (8-1)

This is a bet on style. Angel of Empire seems to be improving, and I feel confident in Brad Cox as a trainer. With an outside post, Angel of Empire should start right where it needs to when it comes to a pathway to a finish.

The key to closing will be a fast start, and there are enough horses hoping to move quickly where this should transpire.

Kentucky Derby Odds Favorites To Win

No. 15 Forte (3-1)

Although his record isn’t pristine, it’s awfully close. Trainer Todd Pletcher has a monster horse on his hands, and it’s not hard to see why Forte has settled into the sport as a favorite.

He’s won his last five races, seemingly getting better each time. And perhaps most notably, Forte seems comfortable coming off the pace. He also has looked quite comfortable as the races have gotten longer, meaning the longer trek suits his style.

His Beyer Speed Figures aren’t dominant, but they are excellent. And with this class of horses, they certainly stand out. He’s also incredibly seasoned, having already won four G1 races thus far.

Simply put, there aren’t many (any?) blemishes. This is a potentially special horse.

No. 5 Tapit Trice (5-1)

What does $1.3 million buy you? The answer is Tapit Trice.

Yes, the cost of this three-year-old is lofty, but he has been outstanding.

Although he’s only raced five times, Tapit Thrice has improved drastically each time out. He’s also won his last four races, including a thrilling victory in the Blue Grass Stakes last time out.

That performance came with a 99 Beyer Speed Figure, which was an 11-point increase. Again, all signs seem to be pointing upwards for a horse with tremendous bloodlines.

The concern, of course, will be inexperience. Other horses have been in tougher races against more competition. In an environment with a lot of traffic, that could loom large.

But this is a horse on the rise, regardless of what it cost to get him here.

No. 14 Angel of Empire (8-1)

In a race full of horses with incredible bloodlines, Angel of Empire doesn’t exactly fit in. But what this horse lacks in pedigree, it makes up for in running style.

Over the last two races, Angel of Empire has done a brilliant job closing down the backstretch. While it’s not a guarantee that this running style will translate to Derby success, closers often have a huge impact on this race down the stretch.

I’m curious where his odds ultimately land, but the horse is interesting enough to look a bit closer.

Kentucky Derby Sleeper Horse

No. 1 Hit Show (30-1)

Yes, the 1-post comes with issues (more on that in a bit). There’s no escaping it. With 19 horses on the outside, Hit Show is going to need a superb trip to hit the board.

There is, however, some hope. The horse is coming off a runner-up finish in the Wood Memorial, although it was flying towards the finish in that run. That running style could be crucial in a race that should allow horses to come off the pace, as long as Hit Show can get a clean enough trip to get there.

The Beyer Speed Figure of 93 is a step below the top contenders, but Hit Show has improved each time out.

At 30-1 or higher, even with a less-than-ideal post, I love the potential.

Kentucky Derby Racing Notes & Churchill Downs Tips

Before we get into some more specific tips, let’s quickly go over some of the basics of horse betting.

Odds in the Kentucky Derby work the same way as with other horse races in the United States: they are pari-mutuel odds. This means that the odds are based on how the public is wagering. If bettors on the whole put more money on a horse, that horse is a favorite and the odds are lower. If bettors put less money on a horse, that horse is a long shot, and the odds will be higher.

When the Kentucky Derby is drawn, Churchill Downs will release a morning line that is essentially an estimate, not a guarantee, of what the odds will be on race day. Betting will then open at 9:00 a.m. ET on the day before the race.

The odds will fluctuate on Saturday and Sunday based on the wagers coming in, and the final odds will be determined by how much has been bet on each horse once the gates fling open.

Be Mindful of the Weather

I cannot say this enough. In a race this big, you must keep an eye on the radar.

From horses that like running in the mud to the heat, the Derby can produce a wide variety of days. So far, however, this Derby looks clean. At the moment, they’re calling for sun and 70s.

Put the Pieces Together

This, more than anything, helps me handicap a race. It’s not just about a particular horse; it’s how that horse fits into a much larger picture against other horses.

How many of them will attempt to get the lead? How many will sit back off the pace and attempt to close? Where are those horses situated relative to post positions? It’s a puzzle, and solving it is both hard and a great deal of fun.

Beware the Post Positions

Where a horse starts is crucial to the race, and a few notable keys come to mind. The 1-post position, as mentioned, has been historically awful in terms of results, while horses on the outside (Post 15 and beyond) can also have a difficult time in this race.

It’s simple, really. A bad post position will force a horse out of its comfort zone. As such, it looms large when it comes to running styles and overall talent.


Adam Kramer

Adam Kramer is an NFL, college football, and gambling analyst for The Game Day. While college football has long been his calling, he’s also covered sports such as boxing, horse racing, and baseball at The Game Day and in other places. He’s also written for Bleacher Report, VSiN, and various other outlets over the past decade-plus.

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