Kentucky Derby Odds 2023: Mage Wins 2023 Kentucky Derby

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Key Takeaways:

  • πŸ† Mage (15-1) was the winner of the 2023 Kentucky Derby (8, 3, 14)
  • πŸ‘€ The 2023 Breeders' Cup Odds are starting to take shape and you may see some familiar faces in Santa Anita this fall.
  • 🐎 The 149th Kentucky Derby is one of the world's most prestigious horse races, the first leg of the Triple Crown, and the most popular Kentucky sports betting event of the year. 
Kentucky Derby Odds

Final Results of the 2023 Kentucky Derby

Here are the results of the 2023 Kentucky Derby:

πŸ₯‡ Mage (15-1)
⏱️ 2:01.57
πŸ₯ˆ Two Phil's (9-1)
1 Length
πŸ₯‰ Angel of Empire (4-1)
1 1/2 Lengths

The early heavy favorite, Forte, was scratched the morning of the race, which put Angel of Empire at the top of the Derby favorites. Angel of Empire ended up coming in third place, behind Mage and Two Phil's. The last time a post-time favorite won the Run for the Roses was in 2018 when Justify did so en route to the 2018 Triple Crown.

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Looking Back at 2023 Kentucky Derby Odds

The 2023 Kentucky Derby odds-on favorite was Angel of Empire at 4-1 to win after Forte was scratched on race day. Practical Move, Lord Miles, Continuar and Skinner were all scratched and were replaced by Cyclone Mischief, Mandarin Hero, and King Russell.  

These were the top five Kentucky Derby morning line odds leaders according to TwinSpires, and their Post Position:

❌ Forte (4-1)
SCRATCH
⭐️ Angel of Empire (4-1)
Gate 12
⭐️ Tapit Trice (9-2)
Gate 5
πŸ‡ Derma Sotogake (7-1)
Gate 14
πŸ‡ Two Phil's (9-1)
Gate 3
πŸ“† Last Updated
November 28, 2023

Leading up to the 2023 Kentucky Derby, no contender had impressed like Forte had in his career. Despite only having raced five times, he's already a three-time Grade 1 winner, one of which came in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and he could hardly have got his three-year-old career off to a better start when scorching away from his rivals in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. Race trainer, Todd Pletcher maintained his dominance of the Curlin Florida Derby after Forte took a late lead to win the race. 

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2023 Kentucky Derby Odds: Post Positions

Horses' Post Positions, the gate they are assigned from which they start the race, can have a big impact on whether or not they place. Here's where all eligible and scratched horses were posted, along with their latest odds, before the race began.

Horse (Latest Odds)Post
Hit Show (24-1)1
Verifying (14-1)2
Two Phil's (9-1)3
Confidence Game (19-1)4
πŸ’° Tapit Trice (9-2)5
Kingsbarns (11-1)6
πŸ“ˆ Reincarnate (13-1)7
Mage (17-1)8
❌ Skinner (20-1)9 (SCRATCHED)
❌ Practical Move (10-1)SCRATCHED
Disarm (25-1)9
Jace's Road (31-1)10
Sun Thunder (31-1)11
πŸ”₯ Angel of Empire (7-2)12
❌ Forte (4-1)SCRATCHED
Raise Cain (31-1)13
Derma Sotogake (8-1)14
Rocket Can (28-1)15
❌ Lord Miles (30-1)SCRATCHED
❌ Continuar (50-1)SCRATCHED
βœ… Cyclone Mischief (27-1)16
βœ… Mandarin Hero (20-1)17
βœ… King Russell (31-1)18

Here's an interactive breakdown of winners by post position since 1930. You can use the filter to see only the winners in the last 20 years or the last 10 years.

Per the chart above, Posts 5, 7 and 15 have produced the most all-time Kentucky Derby winners. Since 1930, posts 1-10 have produced 66 winners of the Kentucky Derby. However, there have been multiple efforts to improve and evolve the Kentucky Derby starting gates. 

In the last 20 years, there's been an even 10-10 split between winners in Posts 1-10 and 11-20. In the last 10 years, Posts 11-20 actually have a slightly better win rate with six, compared to Posts 1-10's four. In 2020, Churchill Downs debuted a custom 20-stall starting gate to eliminate the wide gap between posts 14 and 15.

Reviewing 2023 Kentucky Derby Odds: Horses To Watch

Kentucky horse betting expert Steve Bittenbender was at Churchill Downs covering the 2023 Kentucky Derby, and here is what he had to say about this year's Kentucky Derby contenders before the race began:

Forte (4-1)

To the surprise of no one, Forte was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Forte came to Churchill Downs having won his last five races, all graded stakes. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt raced on April 1 and needed a heroic effort down the stretch to win the Florida Derby.

Other Kentucky Derby Horses To Watch

Forte wasn't the only horse Pletcher brought to Louisville. He also saddled Tapit Trice, the Blue Grass Stakes winner, and Kingsbarns, the Louisiana Derby winner. Those two drew the fifth and sixth gates in the draw. 

After Tapit Trice, the third choice on the morning line was Angel of Empire. The Brad Cox-trained colt who won the Arkansas Derby was 6-1.

Those are the only horses to which TwinSpires.com oddsmaker Mike Battaglia gave single-digit odds. He gave Derma Sotogake 8-1 odds, while Kingsbarns and Two Phil’s received 12-1 odds (Two Phil's is now 8-1).

Track handicappers set morning-line odds based on how they believe bettors will wager on the race. Unlike fixed-odds sports betting wagers, wagering on the Derby and other horse races is pari-mutuel, which means all bettors will receive payouts based on the odds when the race starts.

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Road to the 2023 Kentucky Derby

Forte brought the strongest credentials into the 149th Kentucky Derby, especially after winning the Florida Derby. The Santa Anita Derby has produced ten Derby winners, the most recent of which was Triple Crown hero Justify in 2018. Here are the most recent results from important races leading up to the 2023 Kentucky Derby:

Lexington StakesπŸ‘‘ First Mission
Wood MemorialπŸ‘‘ Lord Miles
Santa Anita DerbyπŸ‘‘ Practical Move
Blue Grass StakesπŸ‘‘ Tapit Trice
Florida DerbyπŸ‘‘ Forte
San Felipe StakesπŸ‘‘ Practical Move
Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition StakesπŸ‘‘ Brave Emperor
Tampa Bay DerbyπŸ‘‘ Tapit Trice
John Battaglia MemorialπŸ‘‘ Congruent
Gotham StakesπŸ‘‘ Raise Cain
πŸ“† Last UpdatedNovember 28, 2023

Each year 20 horses have the chance to compete in the Kentucky Derby. To earn a spot in the starting gate, they must travel along the Road to the Kentucky Derby, a series of designated races at tracks across the country and around the world. Points are awarded to the top four finishers in each race. The 20 horses with the most points will earn a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May, while some horses are considered "also eligible" in case starting-gate horses are scratched from the field. 

UAE Derby, Louisiana Derby, Jeff Ruby Stakes, Florida Derby, Arkansas Derby, Wood Memorial, Blue Grass, and Santa Anita Derby were all worth 100 points to the winner. The last of those has long been regarded as the West Coast's premier Kentucky Derby prep race, so much so that it has provided the Kentucky Derby winner on 10 occasions.

San Felipe Stakes winner Practical Move was trying to follow in the footsteps of Authentic who won the Santa Anita Grade 2 contest en route to winning the 2020 Kentucky Derby. Despite racing keenly through the first half of that contest, Practical Move cruised to the front around the inside and saw his race out powerfully to mark himself down as a major Kentucky Derby contender for trainer Tim Yakteen. 

It is also worth noting that the winner of that Grade 1 prize has gone on to win the Kentucky Derby on three occasions since 2012.

Horses are generally trained to peak on the big day rather than in build-up races, which might explain why three of the last four Kentucky Derby winners had not previously won a Grade 1 race. These contenders have tended to be underestimated by anyone assessing the Kentucky Derby field and odds. 

This grueling dirt race is all about class and only the best three-year-olds need apply. The ability to travel and quicken on dirt at the highest level is something very few horses can do, which is the hallmark of a Kentucky Derby winner. Having a dirt pedigree is crucial, as is having a pedigree that enables a horse to stay the ten-furlong trip off what is nearly always a strong pace.

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How To Place Bets on the Kentucky Derby

Here's how to place bets on the 2023 Kentucky Derby:

  1. βœ… Login or Sign Up with the legal sportsbook of your choice
  2. βœ… Choose Churchill Downs Race Track
  3. βœ… Select the Kentucky Derby race number (typically second to last on the card)
  4. βœ… Pick the horse that you want to bet on
  5. βœ… Select your desired wager
  6. βœ… Enter the dollar amount you would like to wager
  7. βœ… Place your bet

Win bets on the Kentucky Derby favorite was the safest betting strategy between 2013 and 2018, during which period every favorite went in. However, the trend has shifted in recent years, so much so that three of the last four winners have gone off 81/1, 269/10 and 65/1.

That suggests anyone assessing the latest 2023 Kentucky Derby odds should look further afield than the top of the market and tackle the race with more exotic bets than straightforward win wagers.

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Kentucky Derby Futures Betting

Futures betting on the Kentucky Derby can be risky but it can also bring great rewards. 

Getting a bigger price is all well and good, but the further in advance of the big day you place a futures wager, the bigger the scope for something to go wrong. If your wager doesn't make the race, for whatever reason, then the bet is down.

Kentucky Derby Betting Tips

For all of Forte's prominent class, the Fountain Of Youth Stakes has only produced two winners since 1980. However, 5 of the last 7 Kentucky Derby winners ran in the Florida Derby, and Forte took home first place.

Run style is essential when assessing Kentucky Derby odds. 2022 winner Rich Strike came from off the pace but the opening quarter splits were the quickest in the race's history and the race was set up perfectly for a close.

However, nearly every other winner in the last decade has raced close to the pace and the ability to lay up handy, no matter the gate, is ultimately a crucial factor. Any horse not near the front by the home turn almost certainly has too much to do.

Top 2024 Kentucky Derby Predictions

Now that the 2023 race has passed, we'll be looking ahead to the historic 150th Kentucky Derby in 2024! Check back soon for our early predictions.

Kentucky Derby Betting Glossary

  • πŸ₯‡ Win: Simple, you need to bet the winner! If your horse dead heats, your stake is halved.
  • πŸ₯ˆ Place: Generally speaking, this is a top-three wager, although that drops to the top two in fields of 5-7 runners.
  • πŸ₯‰ Show: A similar bet to the Place bet, your selection needs to finish third or better.
  • 🎯 Exacta: One of the most popular wagers as it can often generate juicy returns. Two horses are selected and must finish first and second in the correct order.
  • 🐎 Quinella: It's an Exacta bet with some insurance in that your two selections must finish first and second but in either order.
  • πŸ† Trifecta: A bet that can return big bucks. You must select the first three horses home, in the correct order if the favorite bombs completely, winning Trifecta wagers can often pay huge returns, especially in Triple Crown races.
  • πŸ‘‘ Superfecta: Even bigger than a Trifecta, you need to go one place better by selecting the first FOUR horses home, in the correct order. This can pay mega sums.
  • βœ‹ Super Hi-Five: A potentially life-changing bet because you must select the first FIVE horses home, in the correct order. Winnings are unlimited and a winning Super Hi-5 bet from the 2022 Kentucky Derby would have generated a near $150,000-1 payout.

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History of the Kentucky Derby

Sporting events don't get more historic than the Kentucky Derby. First run in 1875, it is officially the longest-running sports event in the United States. Only the best three-year-olds get to compete in a race dubbed "the most exciting two minutes in sports."

Staged at the historical Churchill Downs Racetrack, the race has been won by some of the sport's greats, including the likes of American Pharaoh, California Chrome, and Smarty Jones.

Bob Baffert is the most winning modern-day horse racing trainer with six victories in the famous contest under the Twin Spires, while 2018 winner Justify became the first horse since Apollo in well over one hundred years to win the Grade 1 prize without having raced as a two-year-old.

🐎 MORE: Best Jockeys in Kentucky Derby History

Kentucky Derby 2022 Results

History was made at Churchill Downs Racetrack in 2022, with Rich Strike becoming the biggest-priced winner of the Kentucky Derby in over 100 years.

πŸ₯‡ Rich Strike (2:02:61)πŸ’° $1.86 Million
πŸ₯ˆ Epicenter (3/4 length behind)πŸ’° $600,000
πŸ₯‰ Zandon (1 1/2 length behind)πŸ’° $300,000
βœ… Simplification (3 1/2 length behind)πŸ’° $150,000
βœ… Mo Donegal (3 3/4 length behind)πŸ’° $90,000

Rich Strike was sent off an unconsidered 80-1 chance in Kentucky Derby odds. Still, jockey Sonny Leone captured the nation's hearts by coming from off the speed on the Eric Reed-trainer underdog, who was only entered into the race after another horse was scratched.

Notable Past Kentucky Derby Winners

Some of the biggest stars in horse racing have won the Kentucky Derby, including the great Secretariat who still holds the record (1:59.40 in 1973) for the fastest Derby success. Here are the fastest times in the history of the mile-and-a-quarter race:

πŸ‡ Secretariat (1973)⏱️ 1:59:40
πŸ‡ Monarchos (2001)⏱️ 1:59:97
πŸ‡ Zandon (1964)⏱️ 2:00:00
πŸ‡ Spend a Buck (1985)⏱️ 2:00:20
πŸ‡ Decidedly (1962)⏱️ 2:00:40

American Pharaoh and Justify both went on to complete the Triple Crown for trainer Bob Baffert in the last decade, while 2014 winner California Chrome went on to earn the best part of $15 million in a stunning career. Bookmakers were the winners in 2022 though, because 80/1 outsider Rich Strike became the biggest-priced winner of the race since Doneail won at 91/1 in 1913.

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More Horse Racing Betting

The Kentucky Derby is just the start to the most exciting racing season in the United States. There are several other major horse betting markets you can join after the Kentucky Derby. But, before you pick your wagers, check out our guide to the best horse race betting apps of the year

Triple Crown Horse Racing

The Kentucky Derby winner nearly always goes on to attempt the fabled Triple Crown, which a horse achieves by winning the three biggest U.S. races. However, only 13 Kentucky Derby winners have gone on to earn a place as one of the greats of the sport. As more horses attempt this rare feat, you can follow Triple Crown odds as soon as they're released.

Preakness Stakes Horse Racing

The 2023 Preakness Stakes takes place at Pimlico Race Course in the weeks following the Kentucky Derby. No horse has won the Preakness Stakes by further than than the 11-and-a-half length success of Smarty Jones in 2004. Bob Baffert has won the race more than any other modern-day trainer but the eight-time winner hasn't got his hands on the Grade 1 prize since Justify scored en route to completing the Triple Crown in 2018. Follow Preakness Stakes odds in the lead up to 2024's race!

Belmont Stakes Horse Racing

The Belmont Stakes is the last and often the most difficult leg of the Triple Crown to win, primarily because the 1-mile, 4 furlong contest is a stiffer stamina test than both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Follow Belmont Stakes odds in the lead up to 2024's race!

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Kentucky Derby Odds FAQ

Author

Gavin Beech is a writer and contributor for BetKentucky.com and has worked in the betting industry for almost 20 years. Gavin is an experienced horse racing journalist, sports betting content writer and tipster. He has worked for some of the biggest online operators around, notably MailOnline and the Racing Post, where he is a regular on the Live Tipster slot.

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