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Tuesday 2nd May 2023

Kentucky Derby 2023: Preview of the Highly Anticipated Event

Horse racing enthusiasts gather at Churchill Downs to witness the Kentucky Derby every year, and 2023 will be no different. The 2023 Kentucky Derby, held on May 6, will be the race's 149th edition since its inception in 1875. Like its previous versions, it'll take place at Churchill Downs, a horse racing complex with a capacity of 170,000 located in South Louisville.

The National Broadcasting Company will cover the event and stream it live on Besides being broadcast on TV, horse betting sites reviewed by team will offer markets for the race. So, bettors and fans alike have a lot to look forward to.

If you want to increase your betting experience, you should learn everything about the event before punting on it. We have provided all the details you need in the following sections. Read on to learn about the racecourse, how horses get qualified, the top horses to look out for, and more.

What You Should Know About the Event

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race in May to conclude the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival in the United States. Winners of the event are draped in a blanket of roses; hence, it’s been dubbed "The Run for the Roses." This race, held at Churchill Downs, is a Grade I stakes event for three-year-old Thoroughbreds and is run over a distance of one and a quarter miles. Due to its length, it is commonly referred to as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" in the United States.

The horse race is the first leg of the American Triple Crown, including the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Of all three, the Kentucky Derby is the only one that has been held continuously since its first running in 1875. It’s also the most well-known and draws a crowd of over 150,000 people. Thanks to its distinctive spectacle, historical significance, and massive attendance, Forbes calls the Kentucky Derby one of America's "Greatest Bucket-List Sporting Events."

What is Churchill Downs Course?

The Kentucky Derby, similar to the Ascot Gold Cup, is a race run on a flat surface devoid of hurdles or other obstacles. However, unlike the Gold Cup, which is run on the Ascot racecourse, the Kentucky Derby is run on the Churchill Downs course.

Located on Central Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky, Churchill Downs is a Thoroughbred racecourse best known for holding the Kentucky Derby. The 147-acre racecourse has a one-mile oval racetrack and a seven-furlong turf racetrack. It started operations in 1875, and that same year, it held the inaugural Kentucky Derby and the first Kentucky Oaks.

Churchill Downs was named in honour of John and Henry Churchill, who lent 80 acres of land to their nephew, Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. Clark sold it to William E. Applegate in 1894, who made different changes, including shortening the race to a distance of 10 furlongs and adorning the Derby winner with a blanket of roses.

How Do Horses Get Qualified for the Derby?

Horses qualify for the event via the Road to the Kentucky Derby, a series of races where the top four finishers get points. Some horses, like Tapit Trice, that participate in the Tampa Bay Derby also take part in the Road to the Kentucky Derby. For 2023, the qualifying event consisted of 37 races, split into the Kentucky Derby Prep Season (21) and the Kentucky Derby Championship Season (16).

The Kentucky Derby Prep Season qualifying races provide points to the top-five finishers on a scale of 10-4-3-2-1 or 20-8-6-4-2. The only exception is the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, which has a scale of 30-12-9-6-3 to represent the significance of that event. In 2023, the prep season races started in January.

The Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds kicks off the Kentucky Derby Championship Series races every February. Points are awarded based on one of two scales: 50-20-15-10-5 points for the top five or 100-40-30-20-10 for the top races in the last six weeks before the Kentucky Derby. The Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, held three weeks before the Kentucky Derby, is the only race in this group that distributes points on a 20-8-6-4-2 scale.

Churchill Downs introduced the European Road to the Kentucky Derby and the Japan equivalent, offering room for Europeans and Japanese to participate in the event. So, of the 20 slots for the Kentucky Derby qualifiers, one is reserved for the European Road winner and another for the Japanese Road winner. If these winners decline the invitation, the slot goes to the next qualifying horse on the road to the Kentucky Derby.

Top Horses to Lookout for

As already noted, 20 horses qualify for the event. Of these, there are four with higher winning chances. These include:


Forte, an American Thoroughbred racehorse, was sired by Violence, winner of the 2012 Grade I CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park. Foaled on February 3, 2020, it’s owned by Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable and trained by Todd A. Pletcher. Forte won the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and the Grade I Hopeful Stakes as a two-year-old. As a three-year-old, he won the Florida Derby, which earned the Thoroughbred 100 points, pushing him up the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 190 points overall. So, it's unsurprising that he’s at the top of this list with 3.50 odds.

Tapit Trice

Our second-ranking horse, with odds of 7.00, is Tapit Rice. The American Thoroughbred was born on February 17, 2020, and is the foal of Tapit, the leading sire from 2014 to 2016 in the United States. It is also trained by Todd A. Pletcher but owned by Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable. He ran twice in 2022 in the maiden event and won the second. Since the beginning of 2023, he has run thrice and emerged victorious. Two of these victories pushed him to fourth place on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 150 points.


With 100 points on the Kentucky Derby board, Kingasbarns is our third-ranking horse with 11.00 odds. It's also another horse on our list that Todd A. Pletcher trains, though Spendthrift Farm owns it. He was sired by Uncle Mo and was born by the Tapit mare, Lady Tapit. The horse has participated in only three races, including the Louisiana Derby, which he won.


This colt, born on May 11, 2020, belongs to Jonathan Poulin, Westerberg, Mrs John Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor. Brad Cox is its trainer. He won his first race, a 2-year-old maiden event, at Saratoga on August 27, 2022. On October 1, he competed in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park's Big A for the second time in his career and finished a respectable second, losing by only three and a quarter lengths behind the winner. He currently has odds of 17.00.

Key Takeaways for the Kentucky Derby

If you’re a horse racing enthusiast, you shouldn’t miss the Kentucky Derby. The race draws crowds from America, Europe, and Japan, especially if both countries participate in the event. Sports betting sites also ensure their horse racing bettors don’t miss out on the action. Thus, they begin offering markets for the Road to Kentucky and the big race itself.

In this text, we provided better insight into the race and how horses qualify for it. We also included the top four horses to look out for. With this horse racing news, you know the best bets to place at bookmakers. The unique spectacle of the Kentucky Derby is one that you should catch live if you have the chance. However, if you can’t be at Churchill Downs on May 6, you can still enjoy the fun on television. Plus, some of the best bookmakers with live streaming will air the race live on their platforms.

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