Promotion Banner

Kentucky Derby 2023: Ranking the Entire Field

Kentucky Derby 2023: Ranking the Entire Field article feature image

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Tapit Trice, one of our top horses in the Kentucky Derby 2023 rankings of the entire field at Churchill Downs for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby on May 6.

It’s time for the 149th Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs — better known as the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

Leading into the most famous horse race in the world on Saturday, May 6, we have ranked every single horse in the field to help you make smarter bets.

Kentucky Derby 2023: Ranking the Entire Field

19. King Russell

Trainer: Ron Moquett

Jockey: Rafael Bejarano

Post Position: 23

Odds: 44-1

After Continuar was scratched, King Russell is in, but don’t expect too much from this inexperienced horse.

King Russell only won his maiden race a couple of months ago. But after getting his maiden, King Russell ran for second place at the Arkansas Derby, which is the reason he found himself on the alternate list.

18. Hit Show

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Manny Franco

Post Position: 1

Odds: 34-1

Hit Show had a successful 2-year-old campaign and has taken that into year three, with a first and second place finish in two races during 2023. It’s hard to predict what we’ll see from this horse, as he doesn’t have the same experience as other horses, and speed figures suggest he hasn’t been racing the same competition. A challenging rail position means this horse could struggle.

17. Confidence Game

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Jockey: James Graham

Post Position:

Odds: 17-1

Confidence Game performed admirably in his last race all the way back on Feb. 25 in the Rebel Stakes. He beat a solid field and posted a speed score of 95, the fastest score of his career. The issue, however, was that was Confidence Game’s last race before the Kentucky Derby, and it is difficult to tell what kind of form he will be in on Saturday.

It would take a lot for this horse to factor into the biggest race of the year.

16. Rocket Can

Trainer: Bill Mott

Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Post Position: 18

Odds: 34-1

Rocket Can has had a steady 3-year-old campaign, but nothing he has done has jumped off the page. His speed figures have gone down over his last couple of races, and he has struggled against more talented fields. This doesn’t appear to be a horse that is going to factor in much in the race.

15. Jace’s Road

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Post Position: 12

Odds: 37-1

This is a horse that many sports fans will be interested in, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport and Fox Sports’ Joy Taylor and Lindsay Czarniak are part owners in the horse. With Quality Road as his sire, Jace has the pedigree to perform at the biggest of stages but has not won a race since 2022. Jace’s Road would have to have an otherworldly performance to get the roses. I’m not sure this horse has what it takes. 

14. Disarm

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Post Position: 11

Odds: 31-1

Disarm found himself in the Kentucky Derby after needing a third-place finish at Lexington, which is exactly what he did. In the process, he posted a 99 speed figure, which is the fastest of his career. But he didn’t factor much in getting second or first in the race. It’s difficult to know what to expect from this horse. He has raced a lot over the last couple of months.

A bet here would not be a complete throwaway but not necessarily a horse I would focus on. 

13. Mandarin Hero

Trainer: Terunobu Fujita

Jockey: Kazushi Kimura

Post Position: 22

Odds: 29-1

Mandarin Hero is one of the few Japanese horses that already has experience in the States. He came over for the Santa Anita Derby and had an impressive second place showing and almost had the speed to take down Practical Move, who ironically is one of the reasons Mandarin Hero is in the race.

12. Cyclone Mischief

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Corey Lanerie

Post Position: 21

Odds: 45-1

Cyclone Mischief is a late entrant into the Kentucky Derby after Practical Move was scratched. Cyclone Mischief isn’t your typical alternate. He raced in the Florida Derby and the Fountain of Youth and placed third in both. Most impressively, Cyclone Mischief posted a speed figure of 98 and had the lead at the turn in the Florida Derby, but Forte proved to be too fast.

11. Raise Cain

Trainer: Ben Colebrook

Jockey: Gerardo Corrales

Post Position: 16

Odds: 36-1

Raise Cain had an impressive performance on a muddy track at Gotham back in March, posting a 97 speed figure and winning by almost 10 lengths with an impressive closing stretch.

If the weather gets bad and the track gets muddy, this is a horse I could trust. But I’m not sure he has the pedigree to compete in good conditions.

10. Two Phil’s

Trainer: Larry Rivelli

Jockey: Jareth Loveberry

Post Position: 3

Odds: 8-1

Two Phil’s is not a horse to look past. He has already won four races on four different tracks. His fastest win came in his last race, with a speed score of 103.

Against stiffer competition, however, Two Phil’s has struggled. He never factored in The Breeder’s Cup Futurity, a race that was won by Kentucky Derby favorite Forte. This is a horse to put in the backend of your exotics.

9. Sun Thunder

Trainer: Kenny McPeek

Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr. 

Post Position: 13

Odds: 32-1

Sun Thunder has struggled in the more talented fields since winning its maiden race on New Year’s Eve. With that being said, he did finish 4th and 5th in the stacked fields at the Blue Grass Stakes and the Louisiana Derby.

Maybe not a complete throwaway at the bottom of your exotics but not a horse that is going to factor for the win.

8. Reincarnate

Trainer: Tim Yakteen

Jockey: John Velazquez

Post Position: 7

Odds: 15-1

It will be interesting to see at what odds Reincarnate will go off. If the trainer name said Bob Baffert, there’s a chance he could’ve gone off as one of the favorites. Instead, Baffert relinquished Reincarnate to Yakteen after being notified of his suspension from Churchill Downs.

Reincarnate has posted two third place finishes since moving stables, one in the Rebel and the other in the Arkansas Derby. Part of me wants to back a Baffert and Velazquez horse, the other part is saying the performances so far just haven’t been up to standard.

7. Mage

Trainer: Gustavo Delgado

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Post Position: 8

Odds: 18-1

Mage made a really nice move at the turn at the Florida Derby to take over the lead before Forte proved to be too fast for everybody. In the process, Mage posted a 102 speed figure. Mage has had some impressive results in just three career races.

He’s not a horse to count out of the exotics but would take quite an impressive showing to come out on top.

6. Kingsbarns

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Post Position: 6

Odds: 12-1

One of the least-experienced horses in the field, Kingsbarns has only raced in three races — but he has won all three, and they’ve all come as a 3-year-old. Kingsbarns went wire-to-wire to win the Louisiana Derby and opened a 5-length lead down the stretch.

It’s always difficult to handicap horses with little experience. Speed figures show that Kingsbarns could keep up with the pace. He also has experience on longer tracks, so there’s not a lot of respect in throwing him in your exotics. Maybe a shot at a win? It’s not out of the question.

5. Angel of Empire

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Post Position: 14

Odds: 5-1

The winner of the Arkansas Derby appears to be a horse that is flying under the radar heading into the Run for the Roses. This is a horse that could absolutely factor, and the combination of Cox and Prat has been aces before. 

4. Verifying

Trainer: Brad Cox 

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Post Position: 2

Odds: 22-1

The kin of Triple Crown winner Justify, Verifying is a horse to keep an eye on and likely have in a few of your verticals. Verifying has won twice during his six-race career. One of those came on his debut. However, the most impressive race might’ve come in Verifying’s most recent, where he took Tapit Thrice to the wire at the Blue Grass Stakes but lost on the last second.

Expect this horse to race toward the top for the Derby’s entirety.

3. Derma Sotogake

Trainer: Otonashi Hidetaka

Jockey: Christophe Lemaire

Post Position: 17

Odds: 8-1

Sotogake-san won the United Arab Emirates Derby to qualify, and this could be the best chance Japan has ever had at winning the Kentucky Derby. He posted a very impressive workout running next to his workmate and fellow Kentucky Derby entrant Continuar. 

2. Tapit Trice

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Luis Saez

Post Position: 5

Odds: 5-1

Tapit Trice is one of the presumptive favorites in this race. He currently has the second shortest odds, but I don’t believe many would be surprised if he closed as the outright favorite, especially with uncertainty around Forte. Tapit Trice has won his last four races after placing third in his debut in 2022. Trained by the legendary Todd Pletcher, all things point to Tapit Trice being right in the mix as the horses turn for the stretch.

1. Forte

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Post Position: 15

Odds: 9-2

The Todd Pletcher-trained Colt is expected to be the favorite when the horses enter the gates on Saturday. Forte has won six of its seven career races and won the last five. Although they haven’t all been pretty. Forte came from the back of the pack to win the Florida Derby just a month ago and if the race were any shorter, Forte wouldn’t have pulled it off. Mike Repole is looking for his first-ever Kentucky Derby win as an owner. 

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.