Road to Kentucky Derby 2023

On the Road to Eternity


Kentucky Derby is the most famous race in the USA, and its 149th edition will be held on the second Saturday of May. It’s open to three-year-old colts, geldings, and fillies, and because there is room only for 20 of them, The Road to the Kentucky Derby was introduced in 2013.

It’s a series of races spanning from September to April in which potential runners collect points, and those 20 horses with the highest number of achieved points will hit the ground in the Churchill Downs to compete over the distance of a mile and a quarter. On the dirt surface, they will vie for the purse of $3,000,000.

Since 2018, The Road to the Kentucky Derby has had three paths. The standard one is meant for the horses based in the USA as all the races are run across the States, with one exception in the UAE Derby that is held during the Dubai World Cup Night.

It starts in September with events open to two-year-olds such as Iroquois Stakes or Champagne Stakes. Until early January, the parts of the Road boast 10 points for the winner, 4 for the second one to cross the wire, and so on.

Only the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile offers 30 points for the victor, which Forte earned in this year’s edition after bettering preferred Cave Rock. As the season kicks on, more and more points are distributed among successful runners. After Holy Bull and Robert B. Lewis Stakes give away 20 points for the winners in February, more prestigious trials such as Rebel Stakes and Fountain of Youth Stakes lure in horses to compete for 50 points for the victors.

2023 Kentucky Derby Odds by JAZZSPORTS

KENTUCKY DERBY ODDS

The UAE Derby is the first race of The Road to the Kentucky Derby to reward the winner with 100 points and is followed suit by treasured races like the Florida Derby, Arkansas Derby, and Santa Anita Derby.

Those events are considered the main trials for the Kentucky Derby, and any horse that bags any of them immediately joins not only the bunch of favorites but also the top of the leaderboard that is currently occupied by mentioned Forte, trained by Todd Pletcher.

The other two paths to the Kentucky Derby are usually overshadowed by the main one; however, the Japanese one has already served its purpose of attracting Japanese horses to travel to Churchill Downs.

The Japanese Road to the Kentucky Derby starts in late November with the Cattleya Stakes and finishes in March with the Fukuryu Stakes that Master Fencer scored back in 2019, upon which he took the sixth position in the Kentucky Derby.

The European Road to the Kentucky Derby has generated a Kentucky Derby participant only partially despite spanning seven races from September to March. In 2018, Mendelssohn, trained by Aidan O’Brien, showed up in Churchill Downs after winning the Patton Stakes, but most importantly, the team decided to give the trip a go after Mendelssohn triumphed in the UAE Derby.

However, the bay flopped in the Run for the Roses, so it’s up to anyone’s guess who will be next to take the plunge and not only earn the points but also use them adequately. Again, it could be anybody from Aidan O’Brien, as his enormous roster must have at least one horse suitable for the race each year, to Charlie Appleby or Roger Varian.

After all, there are two berths in the Kentucky Derby reserved for the leaders of both non-standard paths. The remaining 18 are up for grabs for the US-based runners.


Road to the Kentucky Derby 2022-2023 Prep Races

DATERACE NAME TRACKGRADEDISTANCEPOINTSWINNERVIDEO
Sep. 17th, 2022Iroquois Churchill DownsG38.5f10-4-3-2-1Curly JackBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Oct. 1st, 2022ChampagneAqueductG11 m10-4-3-2-1Blazing SevensBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Oct. 8th, 2022Breeders’ FuturityKeenelandG18.5f10-4-3-2-1ForteBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Oct. 8th, 2022American PharoahSanta AnitaG18.5f10-4-3-2-1Cave RockBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Nov. 4th, 2022Breeders’ Cup JuvenileKeenelandG18.5f30-12-9-6-3 ForteBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Nov. 26th, 2022Kentucky Jockey ClubChurchill DownsG28.5f10-4-3-2-1Instant CoffeeBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Nov. 26th, 2022CattleyaTokyo Racecourse1 m10-4-3-2-1ContinuarBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Dec. 3rd, 2022Remsen AqueductG28.5f10-4-3-2-1DubyuhnellBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Dec. 14th, 2022Zen-Nippon Nisai YushunKawasaki1 m20-8-6-4-2Derma SotogakeBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Dec. 17th, 2022Los Alamitos FuturityLos AlamitosG29f10-4-3-2-1Practical MoveBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Dec. 17th, 2022Springboard MileRemington Park1 m10-4-3-2-1WildatlanticstormBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Dec. 26th, 2022Gun RunnerFair Grounds8.5f10-4-3-2-1Jace’s RoadBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Jan. 1st, 2023Smarty JonesOaklawn Park1 m10-4-3-2-1Victory FormationBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Jan. 7th, 2023JeromeAqueduct1 m10-4-3-2-1Lugan KnightBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Jan. 8th, 2023ShamSanta Anita G31 m10-4-3-2-1ReincarnateBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Jan. 21st, 2023Lecomte Fair GroundsG38.5f20-8-6-4-2Instant Coffee Breeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Jan. 28th, 2023Southwest Oaklawn ParkG38.5f20-8-6-4-2Arabian KnightBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Feb. 4th, 2023Holy Bull Gulfstream Park G38.5f20-8-6-4-2Rocket Can Breeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Feb. 4th, 2023Robert B. LewisSanta AnitaG38.5f20-8-6-4-2NewgateBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Feb. 11th 2023WithersAqueductG39f20-8-6-4-2Hit ShowBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Feb. 11th, 2023Sam F. Davis Tampa Bay DownsG38.5f20-8-6-4-2LitigateBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Feb. 11th, 2023El Camino Real Derby Golden Gate9f *AW10-4-3-2-1Chase the Chaos Breeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Feb. 19th, 2023HyacinthTokyo Racecourse1 m30-12-9-6-3PerriereBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Mar. 3rd, 2023Patton StakesDundalk1 m20-8-6-4-2CairoBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Mar. 4th, 2023John Battaglia Memorial Turfway Park8.5f *AW20-8-6-4-2CongruentBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Mar. 25th, 2023FukuryuNakayama1 m40-16-12-8-4Mitono O

Road to the Kentucky Derby 2022-2023 Championship Series

DATERACE NAMETRACKGRADEDISTANCEPOINTSWINNERVIDEO
Feb.18th, 2023Risen StarFair GroundsG29f50-20-15-10-5Angel Of EmpireBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Feb. 25th, 2023Rebel Oaklawn ParkG28.5f50-20-15-10-5Confidence GameBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Mar. 4th, 2023GothamAqueductG31 m50-20-15-10-5Raise CainBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Mar. 4th, 2023San FelipeSanta AnitaG28.5f50-20-15-10-5Practical MoveBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Mar. 4th, 2023Fountain of YouthGulfstream ParkG28.5f50-20-15-10-5ForteBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Mar. 11th, 2023Tampa Bay DerbyTampa Bay DownsG28.5f50-20-15-10-5Tapit TriceBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Mar. 25th, 2023UAE Derby MeydanG29.5f100-40-30-20-10Derma SotogakeBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Mar. 25th, 2023Jeff Ruby StakesTurfway ParkG39f *AW100-40-30-20-10Two Phil’sBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Mar. 25th, 2023Louisiana DerbyFair GroundsG29.5f100-40-30-20-10KingsbarnsBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Mar. 26th, 2023Sunland DerbySunland ParkG39f50-20-15-10-5Wild on IceBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Apr. 1st, 2023Florida DerbyGulfstream ParkG19f100-40-30-20-10ForteBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Apr. 1st, 2023Arkansas DerbyOaklawn ParkG19f100-40-30-20-10Angel of EmpireBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Apr. 8th, 2023Wood MemorialAqueductG29f100-40-30-20-10Lord MilesBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Apr. 8th, 2023Blue GrassKeenelandG19f100-40-30-20-10Tapit TriceBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Apr. 8th, 2023Santa Anita DerbySanta AnitaG19f100-40-30-20-10Practical MoveBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos
Apr. 15th, 2023Lexington KeenelandG38.5f20-8-6-4-2First MissionBreeders Cup Challenge Series Videos

Mage

The Gustavo Delgado trained Mage stunned the racing world when he emerged victorious in the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

An outsider in the field, Mage headed into the ‘Run for the Roses’ fresh off the back of a decent showing in the 2023 Florida Derby where he would finish second. Despite his positive showing, he was in no way considered a major contender. 

Flying very much under the radar and starting the race as a 15/1 shot, the race would pan out perfectly. Under the expert tutelage of Javier Castellano, he would find a seam up the inside rail and battled bravely up the home straight to hold off the gutsy Two Phil’s. 

Having shocked the world and provided one of the biggest upsets in Kentucky Derby history, attention quickly turned to whether he could complete another leg of the famous triple crown.

Despite fears that the 2023 Preakness Stakes trip wouldn’t suit, Delgado offered Mage the chance to make history. Sent off as the heavy favorite, Mage’s hopes of joining the racing greats would be dashed as he would go on to finish a brave third. 

Clearly content with his efforts, Delgado opted to swerve the Belmont Stakes and instead sent his charge to Monmouth Park to compete in the 2023 Grade 1 Haskell Stakes. Despite running a big race he would go on to finish second and proved no match for the winner, Geaux Rocket Ride.

It remains to be seen whether the Kentucky Derby hero will hit the track again or be sent to stud. However, whatever his next steps may be, he will forever have his place in history thanks to his stunning 2023 Kentucky Derby victory. 

Bob Baffert is a six time winning Kentucky Derby trainer

Bob Baffert is a six-time winning Kentucky Derby trainer but has found himself absent since the 2021 renewal.

Back in 2021, Baffert found himself back in the winner’s circle for a record seventh time when his horse Medina Spirit sealed a dramatic victory. However, Medina Spirit’s win would soon be shrouded in controversy. 

A routine drugs test after the race revealed that Medina Spirit had tested positive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory steroid. Despite Baffert denying any wrongdoing, Medina Spirit’s victory was overturned and Baffert was banned for both the 2022 and 2023 races and recently had that ban upheld through 2024.

The impact of Baffert’s ban has been significant as the majority of his best two-year-olds have been transferred to other trainers most notably to his former assistant trainer Tim Yakteen.

For the 2023 race one of Baffert’s former horses Reincarnate finished down in 13th. 

Baffert’s ban only extends to racetracks that operate under the Churchill Downs umbrella, so despite his absence from the Kentucky Derby, he continues to train numerous graded winners at racetracks all over America.

Finding himself banned for the 150th race next year, people are already asking what will happen to his latest crop of two-year-olds that he was currently aiming for next year’s Triple Crown. It is assumed many will have to be shipped out to fellow trainers once more.

Baffert’s status in next year’s race remains murky and although he may contest his latest ban, for now, next year’s Kentucky Derby will be without one of its biggest stars.

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