2023 Kentucky Derby Futurebook

The two great peaks of US racing are exactly six months apart, and as soon as the Breeders’ Cup is done and dusted it’s time to think about the Kentucky Derby, run at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. In our first look this year at the 2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby, we examine the widely differing credentials of market leaders Forte and Extra Anejo as well as all those sitting in a prominent position in the 2023 Kentucky Derby Futurebook.

2023 Kentucky Derby

G1, $3,000,000, 1m 2f dirt, 3yo, Churchill Downs, May 6

This time last year, the first three homes in the 2022 Derby were on no one’s list of possibilities. Rich Strike had won a Churchill Downs maiden claimer, Epicenter had finished sixth on debut, and Zandon had won a Belmont Park maiden, so predictions six months out may not be worth the paper they’re written on.

2023 Kentucky Derby Odds by JAZZSPORTS


But the fascination of finding the Kentucky Derby winner is ever-present, and at this very early stage, there are two very interesting, completely contrasting colts at the head of the 2023 Kentucky Derby Futurebook.

The bigger name at present is Forte, who sewed up divisional honors with an impressive success in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, driving a length and a half clear of the previously unbeaten dual G1 winner Cave Rock, and five and a quarter lengths clear of G1 Champagne winner Blazing Sevens in fourth.

Forte is trained by Todd Pletcher, is four-for-five, and had previously won the G1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga and the G1 Clairborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland when he outfought Loggins to win by a neck, the pair well clear of the third horse. He is both a very worthy champion two-year-old and the front-runner in the Derby picture. He is expected to make two starts before the Derby, with his final prep either in the G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park (Apr 1) or the G1 Blue Grass Stakes back at Keeneland (Apr 8).

Loggins is also entitled to serious consideration, with his performance in the Futurity notably impressive given that it was just his second start and stakes debut. He won by eight and a half lengths on his debut in a Churchill Downs sprint maiden and looks like a serious talent for trainer Brad Cox.

Forte’s market rival Extra Anejo – who has the same owner/trainer as Epicenter and cost $1.35m as a yearling – has a completely different profile, his career consisting of one very impressive victory on debut in a Keeneland maiden over seven furlongs, a gate-to-wire score by nine and a half lengths that went a long way towards confirming his lofty home reputation. His next appearance is eagerly awaited.

Extra Anejo’s barn mate Echo Again was an easy winner of a Saratoga sprint maiden but then ran a hugely disappointing race in the G3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs, finishing seventh as the odds-on favorite. He has something to prove now. Fellow Steve Asmussen trainee Disarm was a wide-margin winner on debut at Saratoga over seven furlongs and is a promising prospect.

Asmussen also trains Gulfport, who has used up a lot of goodwill already after hitting the board as a favorite in three big races, including the Hopeful behind Forte and the Champagne behind Blazing Sevens. Potential Derby winners tend not to be beaten so frequently and comprehensively at two.

The future book is full of maiden winners with potential. Signator won by four and a half lengths over a mile at Aqueduct and is a live contender for veteran trainer Shug McGaughey. His barn mate General Jim has won twice on turf in a minor company and may not be considered a Derby possible.

Another who has tried the weeds is Ten Days Later, trained by Kenny McPeek, who took four attempts to break his maiden but proved his stamina when he finally got the job done over a mile-sixteenth on the main track at Keeneland.

As well as Loggins, Brad Cox also trains Hit Show, a winner by five and a quarter lengths on his debut over seven furlongs at Keeneland, Victory Formation, who led all the way on debut over six and a half furlongs at Keeneland, and Giant Mischief, who is unbeaten in two and got the better of Arabian Lion by three-quarters of a length in an allowance optional claimer over seven furlongs at the same course, the pair more than 17 lengths clear of the third, the mark of very good horses.

Fellow Keeneland maiden winner Cyclone Mischief coasted home by five and a quarter lengths over a mile-sixteenth for trainer Dale Romans, while one from a little further out in the left field is Awesome Strong, who is unbeaten in four, all at Gulfstream Park, the last three in state-bred stakes and the most recent over a mile-sixteenth.

The form is very hard to quantify, and the Jorge Delgado-trained colt sustained a shin problem that necessitated his withdrawal from the BC Juvenile. He’ll be back early next year.

2023 Kentucky Derby Future Book Odds

All Horse Racing Odds are courtesy of JazzSports.ag

Extra Anejo+1500
Forte +1500
Cave Rock+2000
Arabian Knight+3000
Loggins +3000
Echo Again+3500
Ten Days Later +4000
Giant Mischief+5000
Hit Show+5000
Arabian Lion+6000
Awesome Strong+6000
General Jim+6000
Gulfport +6000
Hejazi +6500
Blazing Sevens+7500
Capture The Flag+7500
Cyclone Mischief+7500
The Flag+7500
Little Big Bear+7500
National Treasure+7500
Speed Boat Beach+7500
Victory Formation+7500

Things to know about the 2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby

The 2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby is a series that awards points to the first five horses home in certain qualifying races.

The top 18 points-scorers earn automatic entry into the Kentucky Derby, along with the top point-scorer from the seven-race European ‘Road’ and the top point-scorer from the four-race Japanese ‘Road’.

Should the European and/or Japanese horses decline their invitation, as almost always happens, the automatic entry reverts to the 19th and 20th US-trained horses in the points table.

There are 37 races in the series, with 20 races in the Prep Season, which runs to mid-February, and 17 in the Championship Series, which runs from mid-February to mid-April and contains races with a greater points value.

Races including the Fountain Of Youth and the Gotham offer 50 points to the winner, while races such as the Louisiana Derby, Santa Anita Derby, and Blue Grass offer 100 points to the winner, all of which (see below) are tantamount to ‘win-and-in’ status.

Bob Baffert’s horses don’t count for the Kentucky Derby

Horses trained by Bob Baffert are ineligible for the Kentucky Derby and may not collect Road to the Kentucky Derby points necessary to qualify for the race, so they cannot be considered at all at this juncture.

This includes Cave Rock, National Treasure, Arabian Knight, Speed Boat Beach, Arabian Lion, Gandolfini, Havnameltdown, and the three-race maiden Hejazi, all prominent in early betting for the Run For The Roses.

Bob Baffert’s horses don’t count for the Kentucky Derby

Bob Baffert at the 2022 Breeders’ Cup

Most points doesn’t mean the best chance

The number of points gained during the RTKD has no bearing on the eventual outcome of the Kentucky Derby. This year, Rich Strike earned 21 points and was out of the top 20 until drawing in off the also-eligible list the day before the Derby.

In 2018, for example, the winner Justify earned 100 points and was ninth in the points table. The last horse to head the points table and then win the Derby was California Chrome in 2014.

Only 20 horses may compete in the Derby, so the number of points gained by the 20th horse in the list is a more important value than the number earned by the horse at the top of the table.

Since 2013, 40 points have been enough to secure a place in the gate at Churchill Downs, as several horses with a higher points tally will be non-runners for various medical or circumstantial reasons.

Stay tuned for the latest Kentucky Derby Odds. Check out the World’s major Racetrack Entries, Horse Racing Results and don’t forget to Sign-up and get up to a 10% horse rebate. We offer the best rebate, check the Terms & Conditions!

Daily Horse Betting Rebate

Raise your winning opportunities with our Horse Betting Guide. We have a guide for all levels! Beginners, Intermediate Handicappers!

Follow us on Social Media for more 2023 Kentucky Derby Futurebook updates!