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Examining The Field Ahead Of The Kentucky Derby 2023 

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The countdown until the start of the opening Triple Crown race of the season is well underway.  The 2023 edition of the Kentucky Derby is set for the first Saturday in May, as a field of the most talented horses on the dirt aged three will compete at Churchill Downs.

This year’s race could be one of the most interesting in recent history, with a genuine contender for Triple Crown glory set to go to post. Here is our analysis for the Derby and check out here how we previewed Cheltenham before.


Forte continues to lead the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, having amassed 190 qualifying points. The Todd Pletcher runner has already won prize money of over $2.3 million and comes into the race at Churchill Downs as a genuine contender to win all three races in the Triple Crown series.

His most recent run came in the G1 Florida Derby, as he came from off the pace to beat Mage by a length. Pletcher could have a potential superstar on his hands.

He is currently leading the odds, as you can check here: https://www.twinspires.com/kentuckyderby/odds

Practical Move

Despite all the talk surrounding Bob Baffert’s potential Derby contenders moving yards, one that has certainly gone under the radar is Practical Move. Now with Tim Yakteen, the three-year-old has been in excellent form over his previous three starts.

He sits second on the leaderboard with 160 points and has picked up $822,000 in prize money. His latest success was a narrow victory over Mandarin Hero in the G1 Santa Anita Derby, and he could be a contender that could surprise a few at Churchill Downs.

Angel of Empire

Angel of Empire appears to be the leading Brad Cox chance in the Kentucky Derby this year. The three-year-old has taken massive strides in the right direction since returning to action in 2023, as he has won by a combined six lengths in stakes company.

His victory in the G1 Arkansas Derby over King Russell was incredibly professional under the guide of Flavien Prat, as he finished four lengths clear. He currently sits third on the leaderboard and has taken just over $1 million in prize money.

Two Phil’s

It has been an incredibly long time since Larry Rivelli had a genuine Derby hopeful, but Two Phils could be one of the most likable contenders in the field. The three-year-old has taken a slightly similar route to last year’s Derby hero Rich Strike, having earned his main qualifying points on the all-weather.

His victory in the G3 Jeff Ruby was a major step forward, as he finished five lengths clear of Major Dude. However, he still has a lot of forms to find on the leading contender, as he finished a distant third to Angel of Empire in the G2 Risen Star, and was eleven lengths behind Forte in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity last year.

Derma Sotogake

There is a growing expectancy that we could be nearing the day of a Japanese winner of the Kentucky Derby. That day could come this May, as the Japanese have a very serious contender in the form of Derma Sotogake.

The runner earned 100 qualifying points after winning the G2 UAE Derby in outstanding fashion and is one of the highest earners in terms of prize money on the leaderboard. The three-year-old looks a more credible contender than any previous Japanese raider in Derby history.


Another for Todd Pletcher in the Derby field this year looks set to be Kingsbarns. The three-year-old made an incredible step-up in opposition at Fair Grounds at the end of March, as he beat Disarm by over three lengths in the G2 Louisiana Derby.

All three of his performances this season have been extremely eye-catching, with the previous two scoring speed figures of 100. However, only Justify has won the Derby after failing to make a single start as a two-year-old.

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