Prep race season is over, and the Kentucky Derby sits just two and a half weeks away. While the field will not officially finalize until May 1st, the top 20 qualifiers based on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Point Standings are now set, meaning one of those 20 horses will have to drop out before the next horse on the list can enter the race. Accordingly, BetKentucky.com used America’s Best Racing, Bloodhorse, and KentuckyDerby.com to examine the ownership groups of the projected 2023 Kentucky Derby horses.
With numerous horses having multiple owners, BetKentucky combined the lifetime racing earnings of all owners in each group and also averaged out every group member’s career winning percentage. For two horses, the ownership group and horse are based in Japan, so limited information was available on them. Meet this year’s class of owners vying for their moment atop the Sport of Kings.
Expect the Derby to be a main focus around Kentucky sports betting when it's finally legal in the State.
Ownership Groups Of 2023 Kentucky Derby Horses
This year’s projected field features a fascinating mix of old and new stock owners. Four of the top 20 horses have connections that have won a past Derby while another four account for over half of their ownership groups’ career earnings (not including the two Japanese horses).
Ownership Groups All Expecting Continued Success
Expected favorite Forte (currently trading at 3-1) is backed by two heavy hitters in the horse racing industry who purchased the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Florida Derby winner for $110,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Repole Stable, led by billionaire Glaceau and BodyArmor co-founder Mike Repole, is still searching for its first Kentucky Derby winner, but has raked in over a million dollars in purses every year since 2008 and claimed multiple Breeders’ Cup trophies as well as last year’s Belmont Stakes. Meanwhile, co-owner St. Elias Stable has also been involved with multiple Grade 1 winners over the past decade, most notably as a partner in 2017 Derby champion Always Dreaming.
Several of the partners in 2020 Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Authentic are also hoping to get back in the winners circle at Churchill Downs this year. Louisiana Derby victor Kingsbarns is fully owned by Authentic’s leading shareholder Spendthrift Farm, while minority partners Madaket Stables and Starlight Racing are now involved with Reincarnate. Starlight Racing also owned a share of 2018 Triple Crown winner Jusitfy while another partner in Reincarnate, Stonestreet Stables, claims two Preakness victories thanks to Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009).
The final horse in this year’s top 20 with an owner who has previously won the Derby is Blue Grass Stakes runner-up Verifying. While his connections are more active in Europe, they have been involved in horse racing for over 30 years with champions across multiple continents. The group’s biggest American success has come during the Breeders’ Cup where they registered over half a dozen victories, but partner Michael Tabor solely owned 1995 Derby and Belmont winner Thunder Gulch as well (ironically enough one of Tapit Trice’s partners, Gainesway Stable, partially owned 1995 Preakness winner Timber Country, who spoiled Thunder Gulch’s Triple Crown bid).
All Kentucky sportsbook apps will most certainly have Kentucky Derby odds for these horses and future stars once sports betting is live.
We will also be tracking the latest Preakness Stakes odds leading up to the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Many Of These Groups Are On The Rise
Were it not for maybe the most controversial moment in modern racing history, Gary and Mary West would also be on the list of past Derby-winning owners. Their homebred colt Maximum Security finished first in the 2019 edition of the race. Still, he was disqualified by the stewards for interfering with multiple horses as they rounded into the home stretch, leaving Country House as the official champion. Conversely, the Wests remain one of the sport’s most consistent high-earning owners, collecting at least a million dollars in purses annually since 2009. However, they are still seeking their first victory in a Triple Crown race.
On the flip side, several of these ownership groups have already reached new pinnacles with their projected Derby entrants. Wild on Ice’s owner Frank Sumpter has been racing horses off and on for over 20 years but has only had runners in 69 total races per Equibase. The $356,400 Wild on Ice took home for winning the Sunland Derby signifies approximately 52 percent of Sumpter’s career racing earnings alone.
Andrew Warren’s parents owned several Grade 1 winners, but he and his wife Rania have only raced horses themselves for four years. Their stable has grown quickly but Raise Cain’s victory in the Gotham Stakes represented their first win in a graded stakes race. However, the Warrens are not the least seasoned ownership group in the projected field. Blazing Sevens owner Rodeo Creek Racing began operations in 2021 and has fielded horses in just 32 races, 24 of which came last year. A win from a group that novice would not be unprecedented though, as horses from RED TR-Racing had only ever run 5 times before Rich Strike captured last year’s Derby at 80-1 in a testament to the duality of the sport.
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