Kentucky Derby Horses

The Kentucky Derby is taking place on Saturday, May 7, 2023.

This article previews the Kentucky Derby horses for the next running of the race in 2023. The Kentucky Derby is the most prestigious horse race in the United States. It is the first leg of the US Triple Crown, completed by the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

The race takes place on the first Saturday in May. The host track is Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The track is dirt and the distance is 10 furlongs. Only horses aged three are eligible to run in Kentucky.

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It is known as “The Run to the Roses” because roses are placed over the winning horse after the race. The attendance is usually the biggest for any single race day in North America.

Kentucky Derby Horses 2023

This article will help you review some of the Kentucky Derby horses for the 2023 race. The Kentucky Derby is one of the Classics in US horse racing, of course. It mirrors the Classics in the United Kingdom in that only horses aged three can take part.

Some of the most likely Kentucky Derby entries prospects can be seen on the leaderboard. According to the current leaderboard, Epicenter is leading the race, followed by White Abarrio, and Tiz the Bomb. Even though things could change once the race approaches, we don’t expect them to be so drastic.

Kentucky Derby Leaderboard

Here are the top Kentucky Derby point leaders as of April 2023:

  • Epicenter
  • White Abarrio
  • Tiz the Bomb
  • Cyberknife
  • Crown Pride
  • Simplification
  • Classic Causeway
  • Slow Down Andy
  • Barber Road
  • Un Ojo
  • Forbidden Kingdom
  • Morello
  • Zozos
  • Summer Is Tomorrow
  • Charge It
  • Tawny Port
  • Smile Happy
  • Pioneer of Medina
  • Grantham
  • Rich Strike
  • Rattle N Roll
  • Ethereal Road
  • Bye Bye Bobby
  • In Due Time
  • Zandon
  • Mo Donegal
  • Dash Attack
  • Early Voting
  • Call Me Midnight
  • Happy Jack
  • Golden Code
  • Commandperformance
  • Golden Glider
  • Emmanuel
  • Volcanic
Kentucky Derby Horses
Photo credit: Bill Brine on / CC BY

Kentucky Derby Picks & Predictions

Kentucky Derby betting attracts a great deal of interest. Bookmaker publishes ante-post (futures) betting about nine months ahead of the race. The odds are based on how horses have performed as two-year-olds or potential runners who have the breeding to be competitive in the race.

Futures Kentucky derby betting is fraught with danger. If the backed horse is withdrawn ante-post stakes are lost. Some books may offer non-runner/no bet nearer race day.

This Kentucky Derby betting concession means stakes are returned for bets on horses that do not run. Futures odds are often better than the odds on the day of the race but there is inherent risk.

Even though Kentucky Derby picks are difficult to work out ahead of the race, you will be able to find the odds once all entries are announced on various online horse betting platforms. TVG is one of the bookmakers for horse racing and the 2023 Kentucky Derby. Other notable places to find suitable odds include TwinSpires, 4NJBets, AmWager, and DRF, of course.

Here is more information about the four leading Kentucky Derby entries that could be your Kentucky Derby picks.


Epicenter enters the 2023 Kentucky Derby race as the winner of the Gun Runner. Not only that, but Epicenter finished four out of the last five races as first, with the most recent one being the Lousiana Derby in March 2023. He is trained by Steve Asmussen, the all-time trainer and the winner of the multiple North American accolades. However, it seems that the Kentucky Derby title is the only one that eluded him all this time. 2023 may be the right time for that to change, of course.

White Abarrio

Bred in Florida by Spendthrift Farm, White Abarrio is one of the top entries coming to the 2023 Kentucky Derby. White Abarrio finished first in two of its last races, namely at the Curlin Florida Derby and the Holy Bull Stakes. He is trained by Saffie Joseph, who has more horses coming to the race this year, but White Abarrio will be the top-ranked horse entering the 2023 showdown.

Tiz The Bomb

Tiz the Bomb started the year slowly with a seventh-place finish at the Holy Bull Stakes in February. However, he made a strong comeback with two first-place finishes at the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes and the Jeff Ruby Steaks. Tiz The Bomb is another horse bred by Spendthrift Farm trained magnificently by Kenneth G. McPeek.


Cyberknife recorded three first-place finishes in its last four outings. The two most recent include the first place in April at the Arkansas Derby and one in February at the Allowance Optional Claiming. The year started quite the opposite as he had a sixth-place finish in January at the Lecomte Stakes race. Also, Cyberknife is trained by veteran Brad Cox who knows how to perform at the Kentucky Derby race.

Kentucky Derby Winners 2021

Here is the result of the most recent Kentucky Derby 2021 race. 

Finish Horse Trainer Jockey
First Mandaloun Brad Cox Florent Geroux
Second Hot Rod Charlie Doug O’Neill Flavien Prat
Third Essential Quality Brad Cox Luis Saez

Actually, it was Medina Spirit that won the 2021 race by passing the finish line first, finishing half a length in from of Mandaloun. However, controversy ensued after the race when it was made public that the horse tested positive for banned substances. The title was, therefore, given to Mandaloun, followed by Hot Rod Charlie and Essnenital Quality.

Past Winners of the Kentucky Derby

Here are the Kentucky Derby winners from 2009 to 2021.

Year Horse Trainer Jockey
2009 Mine That Bird Bennie L. Woolley Calvin Borel
2010 Super Saver Todd Pletcher Calvin Borel
2011 Animal Kingdom Graham Motion John Velazquez
2012 I’ll Have Another Doug O’Neill Mario Gutierrez
2013 Orb Claude R. McGaughey Joel Rosario
2014 California Chrome Art Sherman Victor Espinoza
2015 American Pharoah Bob Baffert Victor Espinoza
2016 Nyquist Doug O’Neill Mario Gutierrez
2017 Always Dreaming Todd Pletcher John Velazquez
2018 Justify Bob Baffert Mike E. Smith
2019 Country House Bill Mott Flavien Prat
2020 Authentic Bob Baffert John Velazquez
2021 Mandalou Brad Cox Florent Geroux

The Road to Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby 2023 entries field will have a maximum of 20 runners. These horses qualify by earning points in the 2021 Road to Kentucky Derby. The Main Road consists of 34 races in North America and one in Dubai.

The seven most important trials for the race are as follows:

The winners of these races are almost certain to get one of the Kentucky Derby post positions. There is also a European Road and Japan Road which allows horses trained in other parts of the world the chance to be Kentucky Derby entries.

Kentucky Derby History

The Kentucky Derby was first run in 1875. It talks the name from the Epsom English Derby which is the most prestigious Flat race in the world. The original race distance was one mile and four furlongs which replicated the English version.

The race was shortened to its current distance of 10 furlongs in 1896. The Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes joined with the Kentucky derby to create the Triple Crown. Only 13 horses have won the three races in the same season.

The Kentucky Derby is the most important Flat race in North America and Derby Day is one of the most popular sporting events in the country. The race attracts a huge crowd at Churchill Downs and a big television audience.

The race is known as the most exciting two minutes in sports. The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown and there is always speculation about how the winner will perform in the other two Classic races.

Here are the current records for the Kentucky Derby:

  • Leading Owner: Calumet Farms with 8 wins (1941 to 1968)
  • Leading Trainer: Ben A. Jones with 6 wins (1938 to 1952)
  • Leading Jockey: Eddie Arcaro with 5 wins (1938 to 1952) and Bill Hartack with 5 wins (1957 to 1969)

No horse has won the race more than once because only horses aged three are eligible.

The Kentucky Oaks

Colts, geldings, and fillies can run in the Kentucky Derby. Geldings are not eligible for the English Derby due to the race’s importance to the breeding industry. Fillies get a weight allowance in the Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Oaks is a Grade 1 race for fillies aged three. The race is run on the Friday before Saturday’s Derby. The Kentucky race is the US equivalent of the English Oaks at Epsom. The race distance of the Kentucky Oaks is nine furlongs. The race is the most prestigious female horse race in North America. It was first run in 1865, like the Kentucky Derby.


Finally, here are the answers to some of the most common questions about the Kentucky Derby:

When is the Kentucky Derby in 2023?

The Kentucky Derby usually takes place on the first Saturday in May. This year the event will start on Saturday, May 7, 2023.

What city is the Kentucky Derby in?

The race takes place in Louisville.

How long Is The Kentucky Derby?

The race distance is one mile and two furlongs.

How many horses run in the Kentucky Derby?

The maximum field for the Kentucky Derby is 20 runners.

Who is the favorite for the Kentucky Derby?

Epicenter is the current favorite for the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

Who won the Kentucky Derby last year?

Medina Spirit was first past the post in the 2021 Kentucky Derby but was disqualified, so Mandaloun was promoted to first place.

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