Predicting the top three finishers in the $3 million Kentucky Derby is hard enough, but placing the horses in order from the winner to 19th is almost impossible.
However, there are some common things that occur in the final stretch at Churchill Downs that can give you an idea of where the 3-year-old colts will hit the finish line.
The one thing you can’t predict is what horses will get the worst trips. A few of those end up near the back with the speed horses that can’t make the 1¼ miles distance. The late closers will also pick off horses in the stretch – the best of them might hit the board or win like Rich Strike, Mine That Bird, or Giacomo.
Here’s a look at what could happen in the 149th edition of the Run for the Roses.
18. Jace’s Road (50-1)
Finished third in the Louisiana Derby, but with his speed and distance limitations you expect him to back up.
17. Cyclone Mischief (30-1)
Trainer Dale Romans’ colt gets in off the also-eligible list to add a little to the speed of the race, although he likely won’t be able to keep up through a mile and a quarter..
A message from #CycloneMischief to all his haters 👇 pic.twitter.com/rxmw2LAN8l
— Brisnet.com (@Brisnet) May 4, 2023
16. Rocket Can (30-1)
Trainer Bill Mott’s horse may be regressing after looking a bit sluggish in his fourth-place finish at the Arkansas Derby.
15. Reincarnate (50-1)
We think jockey John Velasquez will try to put this colt on or near the lead if possible, but he was a no-excuse third in the Arkansas Derby while stalking.
14. Raise Cain (50-1)
Boasts the same father (Violence) as the likely race favorite Forte, though the Gotham winner has not shown enough to beat most of these horses.
13. King Russell (50-1)
Surprising second-place finisher in the Arkansas Derby could be this year’s Rich Strike after drawing into the field late Thursday night, but probably cannot stay with this group.
12. Confidence Game (20-1)
Won his last race on a wet track at Oaklawn Park in the Rebel Stakes on Feb. 25.
11. Verifying (15-1)
Had a perfect trip in the Blue Grass to finish second and the Horse racing prediction here is that he tries to stalk again and does not have enough juice in the stretch.
10. Sun Thunder (50-1)
Trainer Ken McPeek adds blinkers to a colt that can pick off tiring horses in the stretch at huge odds. How many he beats depends on the pace and his trip, but it might be smart to add him to your picks underneath on big tickets..
9. Derma Sotogake (10-1)
The Japanese hope could have the lead all the way to the top of the stretch and get brave. Worthy of a win bet, especially if his horse racing odds creep up to at least 12-1.
8. Mandarin Hero (20-1)
If you liked Practical Move, who was scratched Thursday, and like Skinner, who was scratched Friday, you should probably give this Japanese horse a chance after he got into the field Thursday. He was between those two in a tight finish and showed a nice turn of foot in the Santa Anita Derby.
7. Disarm (30-1)
His third-place finish in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland last month did not impress, but top rider Joel Rosario should keep him in a good spot for a late run. The news is that the son of Gun Runner is working well for trainer Steve Asmussen.
6. Verifying (15-1)
Had a perfect trip in the Blue Grass to finish second and the prediction here is that he tries to stalk again and does not have enough juice in the stretch.
5. Two Phil’s (12-1)
Ran a big race on the synthetic at Turfway in the Jeff Ruby Steaks and cannot be totally thrown out. The son of Hard Spun is one that you either love or you don’t, and he could be bottled up on the rail.
4: Kingsbarns (12-1)
Tempted to put this lightly-raced colt (3-for-3) for trainer Todd Pletcher on top, but the experience factor may be too much to overcome. Could possibly go by Derma Sotogake at the top of the stretch and sprint away.
4. Mage (15-1)
If the son of Good Magic can get out of the gate clean, he is a threat to upset. One little mistake in the field could make it hard to be in the hunt late, though.
3. Hit Show (30-1)
Should have won a weak rendition of the Wood Memorial from a tough post outside. Expect him to save ground from his rail post in the Derby and pass several horses in the stretch.
2: Angel of Empire (8-1)
Impressive in the lane to win the Risen Star Stakes and Arkansas Derby. Would be no surprise if the son of Classic Empire shows he’s the best of the group and, if his odds at the racebook go even higher than 8-1 in live betting, he is a strong bet.
1. Tapit Trice (5-1)
A son of Tapit has never won the Derby, but it may be time for that to change. This beautiful gray horse showed ability and learned a lot by fighting through imperfect trips to win the Tampa Bay Derby and Blue Grass Stakes. There’s no doubt this colt will like the distance and jockey Luis Saez can turn his switch at the right time. The only question is, will he be able to beat his Pletcher barn mate buddy Forte? We are betting he wins by a nostril.