Meet the Front-Running Kentucky Derby Contenders of 2023!

The Kentucky Derby is just a couple of months away, which means we can start figuring out the 2023 Derby odds

The top contenders of the season are Forte, Practical Move, and Confidence Game, but we cannot assume the underdogs are out of the race.

1. Forte

Forte is our number-one contender at the moment. He was sired by Violence, grand sired by Medagila d’Oro, and damsired by Blame. Genetically Forte has a lot powering him through the derby. 

Although neither of his parents won the Kentucky Derby themselves, they were both strong horses in their day with multiple major wins.

However, genetic history doesn’t make you a star. Looking at Forte’s own records, he has already surpassed his father and is on his way to surpassing his mother. In 2022 Forte won the Breeders’ Futurity, the Hopeful Stakes, and the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile). He was awarded the American Champion Two-Year-Old Male Horse award for his amazing accomplishments.

He has already bagged a major win this year, taking the trophy for the Fountain of Youth Stakes. He won the race by an impressive 4.5 lengths, making him a solid bet for the Kentucky Derby and an instant Favorite on the Road to the Kentucky Derby races.

Take a look at this video for Forte’s update:

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2. Practical Move

Practical Move doesn’t have his own grand status yet, but he has been sired by Practical Joke and trained by Tim Yakteen.

Practical Move has won two major stakes so far, they are San Felipe in 2023 and Los Alamitos Futurity in 2022. This brings his total points to 60.

His father, Practical Joke, won the Hopeful Stakes, Champagne Stakes, and Dwyer stakes in 2016 and 2017, which means Practical Move should have the power needed for the Kentucky Derby.

His total points for the race are the only thing that hints at his potential, but we will need to see Move in more races to gauge his abilities. 

Watch this video of Practical Move:

3. Confidence Game

Confidence Game currently has 57 points on the leaderboard. He was sired by Candy Ride and trained by Keith Desormeaux. Game has also won just one major stake –the 2023 Rebel Stakes.

Although this race gave him a total of 57 points, it isn’t enough to really show us his talents. Going by his father alone, Candy Ride won 4 major races – the Gran Premio San Isidro and the GP International Joaquin S de Anchorena in 2022. He also won the American Handicap and the Pacific Classic Stakes, both in 2003.

His achievements gave him the award of Argentina Champion Miller.

We expect big things from Confidence Game, but we’re unsure if he inherited his father’s stamina. 

Here’s a video of Confidence Game:

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4. Angel of Empire

Just 3 points behind Confidence Game is Angel of Empire. We don’t expect big things from a 4th-place rank, but this dark horse has won the 2023 Risen Star stakes. In fact, this amazing achievement can be attributed to Angle of Empire’s trainer – Brad Cox.

His father was Classic Empire, and his mother was Armony’s Angel. Classic Empire, bearing this lineage, was a major champion taking the trophy for the Bashford Manor Stakes, Breeders’ Futurity Stakes, Arkansas Derby, and Breeder’s Cup (Juvenile). All these wins needed to be honored, so Classic Empire was named the American Champions Two-Year-Old Male Horse in 2016.

So far, Angel of Empire hasn’t lived up to his father’s hype, but that could all change soon.

Risen Star Preview: Angel of Empire:

5. Raise Cain

Raise Cain is in joint 4th place with Angel of Empire, as they both have 54 points as of March. Raise Cain was trained by Ben Colebrook and sired by Violence, (just like Forte).

Raise Cain has been doing very well in his last 6 races, coming in 10th place or higher. He recently won the 2023 Gotham race, came in 5th place for the Leonatus Stakes, and 2nd place for the Gun Runner.

Before that, he was in 3rd place for the 2022 Bowman Mill.

Raise Cain is a top racer, and his speed has been slowly increasing, making him a real underdog and a possible show-stealer.

6. Tapit Trice

Tapit Trice is ranked 6th with 50 points. Sired by Tapit and trained by Todd Pletcher (same as Forte), we can expect great things from this horse. 

Tapit Trice would be a cheap bet because he has only been in a handful of races. However, in the first major race he competed in, he won. It was the 2023 Tampa Bay Derby on the 11th of March this year.

Tapit Trice also came in 1st place for the ALWOC and the MSW.

If he has more opportunities before the Kentucky Derby, Tapit Trice could beat Forte on the leaderboard, so get your bets in now before the odds change.

If you’re excited about the upcoming 2023 Kentucky Derby, don’t forget to check out my article on the history of the Kentucky Derby and what to expect this year for an even deeper appreciation of the event!

Final Thoughts

The odds may change again before the Kentucky Derby, as more races will occur before the big day. Forte will be one to watch regardless, but keep an eye on Tapit Trice and Raise Cain as both of these horses are storming through their practice runs and major stakes.

The only reason why they aren’t higher up the leaderboard is that they haven’t been in as many races as their competitors.

Kentucky Derby Contenders Of 2023
Siun L
Siun L

Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
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