2023 Kentucky Derby's Front Runners and Long Shots

2023 Kentucky Derby’s Front Runners and Long Shots

Kentucky Derby is the longest-running and most-watched horse racing event in the United States. The race is also the first leg of the Triple Crown series, followed by the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Since 1875, the legendary Churchill Downs has hosted the Kentucky Derby seasons, and it’s always been ongoing since its inception.

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Being the inaugural race of the most remarkable series of thoroughbred racing worldwide, the horse who will win the Kentucky Derby will secure an automatic bid at the Triple Crown. The race is happening this May 5 and 6, 2023, so let’s get to know the front runners and long shots in the competition!

Front Runners

Front runners are the early favorites that most spectators perceive to win Kentucky Derby. So let’s identify Kentucky Derby 2023 horses lineup and start with the top of the leaderboard!


Forte’s name has been buzzworthy in many horse racing forums today. The colt is also topping polls like the 2023 NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Thoroughbred Poll run by National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). 

Forte started racing in 2022 and won the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile, Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, Grade I Hopeful Stakes, and the 2023 Fountain of Youth (G2), where he solidified his slot in the Kentucky Derby after earning 50 points. 

This racehorse’s sire is Violence, the 2012 Grade I CashCall Futurity champion. Todd Pletcher, an award-winning American horse trainer, upskills Forte. The jockey of the early favorite is Irad Ortiz, Jr., a renowned rider with a record-breaking 80 stake wins in 2022. 

Practical Move

Practical Move is a three-year-old colt trained by Tim Yakteen. This thoroughbred is an offspring of Practical Joke and Ack Naughty. Jockey Ramon A. Vazquez will mount Practical Move in the Kentucky Derby. 

He came victorious at the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes, earning 50 qualifying points and a sure spot in the 20-horse field for the Run for the Roses.

Giant Mischief

Trained by the legendary Brad Cox, Giant Miscchief is also up on current favorites to win the 2023 Kentucky Derby. In late September, Giant Mischief rallied to win at Indianapolis, and on November 4, he outperformed heavy favourite Arabian Lion in the Breeders’ Cup. Irad Ortiz Jr. was also Giant Mischief’s jockey, but because Forte is in the same competition, Irad is yet to announce which horse he will be riding.

Two Phil’s

Two Phil started racing in 2022, winning the 2023 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), 2022 Street Sense (G3), and the 2022 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes (LS). The colt has raced at Canterbury Park, Colonial Downs, Churchill Downs, Fair Grounds, Turfway Park, and Keeneland.

Two Phil’s jockey is Jareth Loveberry and his trainer is Larry Rivelli for Patricia’s Hope stable. The hard Spun colt’s win in the Jeff Ruby Steaks earned him 100 qualifying points and a spot at the Kentucky Derby 2023. 

Long Shots

Now that you know the early favorites, let’s move on to the horses unlikely to win the Run for the Roses. But we will only know once the results are out. So, let’s look at the list of long shots and see if they can be dark horses!

Release Mccraken

Release Mccraken has been racing since 2022. His sire and dam are Mccraken and Congress. Susan Moulton bred him in Kentucky, US. This colt has raced in Churchill Downs, Fair Grounds, Keeneland, Horseshoe Indianapolis, and Sam Houston. His lone stakes win the 2023 Texas Heritage (RS). Release Mccraken is trained by W. Bret Calhoun and jockeyed by Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez. 

Acoustic Ave

Acoustic Ave is a chestnut colt bred in New York, US, by Chester Broman & Mary R. Broman. Reeves Thoroughbred Racing owned this horse. He started racing in 2022 under the training of Christophe Clement. Acoustic Ave has raced at Aqueduct, Saratoga, and Finger Lakes. His stakes wins include the 2022 New York Breeders’ Futurity (RS), 2022 Notebook (RS), and the 2022 Aspirant (RS). Manuel Franco was the name of Acoustic Ave’s jockey.

Mysterious Night

Sired by Dark Angel out of Mistrusting, Mysterious Night has been racing for Godolphin, LLC, which has also bred him. He won the 2022 Patteson Summer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine last September 17, 2022. His trainer is Charles Appleby, while his jockey is William T. Buick. 


Sired by Zoffany out of Shortmile Lady, Sakheer was trained to win the 2022 Mill Reef Stakes (G2). Sakheers’s breeder was Brumlin Bloodstock. Varian Roger trains this colt. Jockey Egan David will mount him in the Kentucky Derby 2023. 

Final Thoughts

Bettors have only one month left to study the horses’ statistics and personal records, among other factors influencing the outcome of the Kentucky Derby 2023. However, bettors are also spectators. So more than winning your bet, remember to live and savour the moment. Bet lightly and never miss the fun of the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports!”


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