There are a few races on the calendar that capture the same amount of attention as the Kentucky Derby.
This year’s race looks set to be one of the most exciting recent editions of the Derby at Churchill Downs, with horses aged three looking to take their shot at history on Saturday, May 6.
In case you don’t remember you can check the complete list of winners of the KD: https://www.twinspires.com/kentuckyderby/winners
The betting for the illustrious race has been open since the Breeders’ Cup, but who are five of the most likely winners of the famous race, according to the latest odds?
Forte has battled off a number of contenders to lead the betting for the Kentucky Derby. The three-year-old has been at the top of the market since landing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile by a length from Cave Rock last year. That was his third straight success after falling to defeat on debut.
His performances have continued to progress since that success, with both of his appearances this year ending in victories. Forte’s 2023 campaign kicked off with a four-length victory over Rocket Can in the G2 Fountain of Youth, scoring an RPR of 119.
However, his standout win came from an extremely wide draw in the G1 Florida Derby, as he battled back late to see off Mage by a length. The manner of the victory was extremely eye-catching, and it saw him achieve an RPR of 121 for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher’s hand for the Derby this year is exceptionally strong, evident by the fact that the second choice in the betting is also from his yard. Tapit Trice broke his maiden at the second attempt last year, landing a win in a maiden special weight at Aqueduct. His 2023 season started in allowance company once again, but a considerable step forward was made to land a competitive race at Gulfstream Park.
He has looked incredible in stakes company since that success, beating Classic Car Wash by two lengths in the G3 Tampa Bay Derby in March. However, his standout win came on his previous start, as he held off Verifying in the closing stages to win the G1 Blue Grass Stakes by a neck. While his route hasn’t been as glamorous at Forte, all the ability is clearly there.
Angel of Empire
Another trainer with a strong hand in the Kentucky Derby field this year is Brad Cox. His main chance appears to come in the form of Angel of Empire, who has won four from his six career starts. Since turning three, he has won twice from three starts, with his only loss this calendar year coming behind Victory Formation in the Smarty Jones Stakes in January.
Angel of Empire took a step up in opposition following that narrow defeat, and landed the G2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in the middle of February, holding off Sun Thunder to win by a length. However, his standout win came on his final start before the Kentucky Derby, landing the G1 Arkansas Derby by over four lengths from King Russell to reach an RPR of 116.
Practical Move is one of the runners now under the care of Tim Yakteen due to Bob Baffert’s continued suspension at Churchill Downs. However, the three-year-old comes into the Kentucky Derby with a very realistic chance of landing the top prize this year.
His record since the turn of the year has been stunning. He returned to action after a 77-day break by landing the G2 San Felipe Stakes by over two lengths from the talented Geaux Rocket Ride. Another step up in opposition was made at the start of April, as the Yakteen runner landed the G1 Santa Anita Derby. It was a narrow victory over Mandarin Hero, but there is every suggestion that he looks perfectly tailored for the Derby trip.
Kingsbarns will be looking to join illustrious company at Churchill Downs this year, as he looks to become the tenth undefeated horse to win the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Todd Pletcher, he made an instant impact on debut at Gulfstream Park in January, as he landed a maiden special weight with a speed figure of 84.
That was bettered on his following start, landing a dominant win at Tampa Bay with a rating of 100. Questions were asked of the three-year-old when he was stepped into graded company for the first time at the end of March, but he showed his class to win by a stylish three lengths from Disarm in the G2 Louisiana Derby. We may not have yet seen the best from this runner, which could make him an exciting choice in the Kentucky Derby betting.