Every year, horse racing fans around the globe look forward to the Kentucky Derby, traditionally held at Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky. This event is scheduled for every first Saturday of May. 

The race is the first leg of the prestigious Triple Crown Series. The Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes then follow it. Still, a lot of fans consider the Kentucky Derby the most popular among the three. 

More than being the longest-running sports event in the United States, the Kentucky Derby is the most sought-after horse racing competition because it is the first jewel of a globally-acclaimed horse racing series. This 2023, there are many things to watch out for, and we will cover two of them here. These are the top thoroughbreds and betting strategies you might want to know as a spectator of the annual event.

Leading Horses in the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby, dubbed the Run for the Roses, showcases the fastest horses to finish the one-and-a-half-mile-long race in approximately two minutes. This year’s Run for the Roses offers no exception, so let’s see which horses are topping the current leaderboards so you will know which horse to bet on Kentucky Derby.

Forte

Forte’s triumph in the recent Florida Derby made him the heavy favorite in the Kentucky Derby. More than this, the dark bay colt has already showcased dominating racing skills in his previous stakes participation. In 2023, Forte also won the Fountain of Youth Stakes, the 2022 Hopeful Stakes and the Breeders’ Futurity. The three-year-old colt is partnered with Irad Ortiz Jr., a Puerto Rican rider who has been racing in the industry since 2012. Forte ranks first in the leaderboard with 190 qualifying points. 

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Tapit Trice

With 150 total points, Tapit Trice is ranked fourth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. The gray colt is trained by none other than Todd A. Pletcher. 

Tapit Trice displays an exceptional athletic stride,  as seen when he wowed spectators in his Blue Grass win (G1) last April 8 at Keeneland. Additionally, Tapit Trice is notorious for his late starts and quickly covering grounds at the last home stretch. 

Practical Move 

Chad Brown & Head of Plains Partners bred the gray colt in 2020. He was also a progeny of Practical Joke and Into Mischief, two equally reputable racing horses. Practical Move earned 160 points and snatched the second slot in the 2023 Run for the Roses leaderboard. Ramon A. Vasquez will be riding him in the upcoming event. 

Practical Move won the Los Alamitos Futurity last December 17, 2022. Furthermore, he finished first in the San Felipe Stakes and Santa Anita Derby the following year. 

Angel of Empire

Angel of Empire is 3rd in the current Kentucky Derby’s leaderboard. He bagged the Risen Star Stakes and the Arkansas Derby this year alone. 

News also broke out that the renowned rider Flavien Prat will mount Angel of Empire. The French horse racing elite jockey is just as decorated, as he earned the Champion Apprentice Jockey Award and was France’s Group 1 race winner.

Angel of Empire earned a total of 154 points for the Kentucky Derby. The bay colt is trained by Brad H. Cox and owned by Albaugh Family Stables LLC in Des Moines, Iowa.

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Kingsbarns

This bay colt is among the leading contenders in the Run for the Roses. He was bred by Ann Marie O’Brien and is trained by Aidan O’Brien, Ann’s husband. The three-year-old was sired by Uncle Mo, an American Champion with several wins to his name. Kingsbarns acquired 100 qualifying points, earning him a Run for the Roses slot. Recently, he won the Louisiana Derby in Louisiana Grounds last March 25, 2023. 

How to Bet in the 2023 Kentucky Derby

These days, betting is made easier than ever. Punters have many options for races as big as the Run for the Roses. Here’s a short guide you can refer to.

  1. Look for reputable betting sites and shop for the best odds.
  2. Sign up for your account and make your first deposit. You can deposit through an e-wallet, bank transfer, cryptocurrency, or credit card, among many others.
  3. Select the Kentucky Derby from the horse races listed on the betting site. 
  4. Lastly, place your bets! Depending on how experienced you are, you can pick the standard win-place-show bet or explore exotic wagers such as exacta, quinella, trifecta, and superfecta.

Conclusion

Big races, like the Run for the Roses, are anticipated to host a high volume of bets every year. It’s no surprise since the race is the most watched in the Triple Crown Series. 

When placing your bets and choosing horses, make sure to do your own research to increase your likelihood of winning in the race. 

More than being a heavily-wagered event, the race boasts an illustrious history and vibrant culture, making it a source of pride among locals in Kentucky.