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2023 Kentucky Derby: Do Favorites Like Tapit Trice Win?

2023 Kentucky Derby: Do Favorites Like Tapit Trice Win? article feature image

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Forte with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

2023 Kentucky Derby favorite Forte was announced out on Saturday morning, and a new king is in town for now.

Tapit Trice is the new betting favorite at +350 odds, taking over Forte’s mantle at roughly the same odds.

But do favorites like Tapit Trice win all that often?

Favorites have won 56 of the last 148 editions of the Kentucky Derby, including six straight from 2013 to 2018.

Major hat tip to our director of research Evan Abrams for these tidbits.

But since that six year stretch in the middle of the 2010s, Kentucky Derby favorites like Tapit Trice haven’t pulled through.

In fact, last year, Rich Strike was a ridiculous 80-1 underdog before he finished the stretch in record time, sneaking up out of nowhere to win the Kentucky Derby as the longest dog in history.

Last Four Favorites

  • 2022 Epicenter, +410, finished 2nd
  • 2021 Essential Quality, +290, finished 3rd
  • 2020 Tiz The Law, -125, finished 2nd
  • 2019 Improbable, +400, finished 4th

And before the 2010s, favorites didn’t win any year between 1980 and 1999. Fusaichi Pegasus — the most expensive horse on record — broke that streak in 2000.

The two shortest favorites in the race’s history occurred in the 1940s, Abrams says. Count Fleet (1943) and Citation (1948) were both -250 on the moneyline to win — and pulled it off as massive, massive favorites. A $100 wager there would’ve returned $40 in profit.

The following data is courtesy of Abrams.

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Average Finish Position – Favorite at Derby

  • Since 2010: 2.5
  • Since 2000: 3.6
  • Since 1990: 4.8
  • Since 1950: 5.2

Favorites by Position – Derby Since 1950 (85 races)

  • Won: 21
  • 2nd: 14
  • 3rd: 9
  • 4th: 4
  • 5th: 6
  • 6th-10th: 20
  • 11th or worse: 9
  • Scratch: 1
  • DNF: 1

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