09.03.2023 - The 149th Kentucky Derby is ready to kick off the racetrack this year with much excitement and enthusiasm coming on the first Saturday of May. As many fans are now preparing to head off the Run of the Roses, the leaderboards have also become a hot topic for many bettors, aiming to get a look at the top contenders.
The prep races reflect the ability of a horse to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, and only 20 will be able to run the most anticipated annual horse racing event at the Churchill Downs. From popular and familiar names on the latest top rankings, surely you can never assure which horses will bring home the Derby trophy this May.
Ready to dive into the leaderboard? Here are the top five contenders in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
When it comes to elite and undeniably top performance on the racetrack, you can never leave Forte on the list. Currently, Forte has accumulated over 90 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby this year. One notable strength of this brown colt is its great ability to provide steady performance, leading to numerous consistent victories over the last races.
Currently the favorite for the Derby race, Forte has reflected most of his skills and strength through his impressive victory in the recently concluded Fountain of Youth Stakes at the Gulfstream Park despite long months of rest from last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
His trainer, Todd Pletcher, ensures to everyone looking forward to the action on the track that Forte is performing better than expected. This, for sure, can directly mean that the horse is ready to bring home the crown this year.
2. Practical Move
Second on the leaderboard for the Kentucky Derby 2023 lineup is Practical Move, with his 60 qualifying points ahead of the Derby race. This sport has been made possible because of his recent victory in the San Felipe Stakes, earning him 50 points. Not much luck if you think about it, as Practical Move has consistently shown excellent running ability in his history.
If we talk about what else he can show on the track, the final stretch is Practical Move’s power ability to start a bit late from his competition but show no turning back with far turn skills and last minute lead.
Per his jockey Ramon Vasquez and trainer Tim Yakteen, Practical Move is improving every race. With adequate jockey control and freedom to do the rest, Practical Move is expected to have a higher chance of getting the title in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
3. Confidence Game
Confidence Game claimed the third spot in the latest leaderboard with 57 total qualifying points for the Derby. In February, Confidence Game won the Rebel Stakes, earning him 50 points for the Kentucky Derby. This victory reflected his strength on the racetrack, including his strength turns and holding off power and control at the middle of the stretch before finally leading the race.
In his Rebel Stakes performance, Confidence Game started fifth in the race but flipped the race with his speed and smart turn abilities. Trainer Keith Desormeaux knows that just like what’s indicated in Confidence Game’s name, he is confident that the colt will continue to show mature performance on the track until the Derby Race victory.
4. Angel of Empire
Another top performer on the list is the early-career victory achiever, Angel of Empire. Angel of Empire has entered the leaderboard with 54 total points. His definitive rise was from his last elite performance in the Risen Star Stakes, leading to victory and 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.
What makes the colt even an exciting racetrack performer is his ability to enjoy some time over a group run with his contenders before finally taking the lead. While this can be risky for some, afraid to slip off the chance for victory, Angel of Empire knows how to handle the race by saving up adequate early speed for the home or final stretch lead.
Trainer Brad Cox has justified this unique ability as Angel of Empire is expected to show greater running performance as the race continues. With higher odds alongside his name, surely the longshot title has long been removed from the colt’s career as he heads to the Derby race.
5. Raise Cain
Raise Cain ranked fifth on Derby’s leaderboard this year with 54 total points. Heading to the Derby race, Raise Cain has been showing impressive performance with its notable abilities in head-to-head races, smartly using up the needed turn skills and angle for top lane approaches. These strengths have led Raise Caine to achieve victory in his recent race at the G3 Gowtham, earning him 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Ben Colebrook believes that the pace and right surface at the Derby will help Raise Cain further show his abilities on the track. With enough preparation and skill-defining training, Raise Cain is expected to show full potential for the top-five finishers, aiming for this year’s Derby title.
The excitement and great action on the track are surely expected in the Kentucky Derby because of its impressive lineup of contenders this year. With the qualifying points still possible to change anytime with future point-earning victories, checking on the latest leaderboard will help you get an eye for the winning horse in the 2023 Derby race.