Kentucky Derby Futures: Motion Heats Up, Odds Shift in Prep Season


This week, March Insanity kicks into excessive gear to captivate faculty basketball watchers and function fodder for numerous workplace bracketology swimming pools – and for passionate horse racing followers, we’re additionally squarely within the midst of the prep season for the 2023 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve.

Evidently, the subsequent six weeks will pump up pleasure to the best stage, each on the hardwood and the racetrack.

For the reason that final version of this weblog one month in the past, 9 stakes races providing qualifying factors for the Kentucky Derby have been held, and the main 200-point preps are simply across the nook.

One of the vital enjoyable actions in the course of the prep season includes laying down some money on a future guess choose for the 149th Derby, which will likely be run beneath Churchill Downs’ Twin Spires on the primary Saturday in Might. As we’ve been doing, America’s Finest Racing will carry you updated with the altering odds and notable entries for potential Derby horses at Caesars Sportsbook.

We’ll revisit these odds because the season progresses. With every passing prep race, the variety of viable Derby contenders will shrink, and the most recent Caesars futures sheet has shrunk significantly from final week’s version. Nonetheless, there are nonetheless some comparatively unknown horses on the market that carry the goals of homeowners and gamblers alike to seek out the Churchill Downs winner’s circle after claiming the primary jewel of the Triple Crown – and a few of them might not have even began in a factors race but.

Except for the Las Vegas ebook, the fifth of six Kentucky Derby Future Wager swimming pools supplied by Churchill Downs Inc. will likely be held from March 10 at midday ET to March 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET. Forte leads the 39  particular person horses at odds of 4-1, whereas “all different 3-year-olds” is listed at 5-1. One prep will likely be held whereas the pool is open, on March 11: the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs.

March 5 Caesars Sportsbook Odds Leaders to Win the 2023 Kentucky Derby:

1. Forte (7-2)

2. Arabian Knight (5-1)

3. Instant Coffee (15-1)

3. Practical Move (15-1)

3. Tapit Trice (15-1)

6. National Treasure (16-1)

Complete March 5 Odds

Notable Modifications: Final yr’s champion 2-year-old male Forte remained distinguished within the Derby futures ebook over the winter as he prepped for a return within the March 4 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park, and boy, did he not disappoint in his return! The three-time Grade 1 winner from final summer time and fall made quick work of eight opponents – together with runner-up and Holy Bull Stakes winner Rocket Can – as soon as he hit the highest of the Gulfstream stretch, and he completed up with loads left within the tank. Forte earned a 106 Equibase Velocity Determine within the Fountain of Youth, and newly minted Corridor of Fame coach Todd Pletcher is famend for conditioning his Derby contenders to peak at simply the suitable time. Which means this Violence colt ought to proceed his development in his ultimate Derby prep, more than likely the Curlin Florida Derby on April 1 at Gulfstream. He’s a clear-cut Derby favourite now, and if he backs up his Fountain of Youth win with one other victory within the Florida Derby, the 7-2 odds supplied at the moment by Caesars will likely be very near his post-time odds Might 6 at Churchill Downs. (Rocket Can ran properly to be second within the Fountain of Youth, albeit 4 ½ lengths behind Forte, and is getting 40-1 odds on Caesars’ March 5 ebook.)

Practical Move additionally impressed in his first 2023 begin, returning after a 2 ½-month layoff to defeat a stable discipline within the March 4 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park and earn an attention-grabbing 108 Equibase Velocity Determine. The Sensible Joke colt had not been seen since successful the Los Alamitos Futurity on Dec. 17 in an upset over a trio of Bob Baffert trainees, and he defeated Los Al Futurity third-place finisher Fort Bragg and two different former Baffert horses within the San Felipe together with a few extremely regarded runners educated by Richard Mandella (Geaux Rocket Ride) and John Shirreffs (Skinner), who completed second and third. Coach Tim Yakteen picked up Fort Bragg and several other different Bob Baffert horses to coach for the Kentucky Derby whereas Baffert serves out his suspension by Churchill Downs, together with extremely regarded Arabian Knight. However Sensible Transfer is one in all Yakteen’s personal horses, and he offers the veteran Southern California coach a professional shot at racing’s greatest prize. He’s sitting at 15-1 odds on Caesars newest sheet, and Yakteen advised Every day Racing Kind that he’ll make his ultimate prep within the April 8 Santa Anita Derby. (Geaux Rocket Trip and Skinner each ran properly in defeat, and are sitting at odds of 25-1 and 45-1, respectively.)   

The March 4 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct drew a 14-horse discipline, making it seemingly ripe for an upset, and that’s simply what occurred as 23.50-1 Raise Cain romped within the slop by 7 ½ lengths. This colt had been racing beneath the radar however had not embarrassed himself in his two route stakes races previous to the Gotham, which was held at a one-turn mile. Now, he’s secured a spot within the Kentucky Derby beginning gate with 54 qualifying factors, and he’s booked at 50-1 odds as a possible Derby winner by Caesars. His Equibase Velocity Determine got here again at 91 for the Gotham, a reduce under each Forte and Sensible Transfer – and there’s all the time the chance that Increase Cain, like Confidence Recreation per week prior, elevated his sport on an off monitor. Moreover, the Gotham was marred by Howgreatisnate tossing his jockey on the break after which main the sphere via the flip and into the stretch. The riderless horse crossed the end simply behind Increase Cain and little question assist set a faster-than-expected tempo that compromised a number of horses. Nonetheless, Increase Cain (who’s one other Derby contender sired by the comparatively unheralded Violence) has an aesthetic pedigree with each velocity and stamina influences and is an intriguing longshot prospect to maintain tabs on going ahead.

So are two different sudden winners of latest Kentucky Derby preps: the aforementioned Confidence Game, who took down Oaklawn Park’s Feb. 25 Rebel Stakes at odds of 18.50-1; and Angel of Empire, who upset the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Lincoln and Lamarque Crescent City Ford Feb. 18 at Fair Grounds at 13.70-1 odds. Each of those colts have superb pedigrees for stretching out (Confidence Recreation is a detailed relative to the mighty Zenyatta) and positively have potential to make additional enchancment following their breakthrough wins. Confidence Recreation, who earned excessive velocity figures within the Insurgent, is getting 26-1 odds by way of Caesars, whereas Angel of Empire is rated at 45-1. Learn extra about them in Mike Curry’s ABR profiles (Confidence Recreation here and Angel of Empire here).

4 to observe: As famous above, Caesars’ March 5 Kentucky Derby futures sheet has been narrowed down, however there are nonetheless some attention-grabbing worth performs obtainable. Most of them are horses that confirmed potential in latest Derby preps however didn’t win them, and that checklist begins with Slip Mahoney. This Brad Cox trainee noticed the complete Gotham Stakes discipline a number of lengths after breaking slowly, however made up a ton of floor with a nine-wide (sure, 9-wide) rally via the sloppy stretch at Aqueduct to nab a transparent second behind Increase Cain. The colt had posted two sport efforts in maiden races at Aqueduct earlier than then – shedding by a neck to Tapit Trice in December after which defeating Crupi by a head in January – and primarily based on his highly effective stamina pedigree (by Arrogate and out of Grade 1-winning router Received Fortunate) he ought to relish longer distances. He’ll prolong to 1 1/8 miles round two turns in his ultimate Kentucky Derby prep, the Wood Memorial Presented by Resorts World Casino, and his present 60-1 future odds at Caesars are very engaging certainly.

Mage made solely his second profession begin within the Fountain of Youth Stakes and didn’t embarrass himself in any respect with a fourth-place end. It was his first two-turn begin after dominating a seven-furlong maiden race at Gulfstream in late January, and the Good Magic colt had a tough begin within the Fountain of Youth, hitting the gate after which bumping Blazing Sevens quickly after that earlier than being rushed right into a stalking spot by Javier Castellano. He continued on properly via the stretch and was only a size out of third, good for 15 Derby factors. Primarily based on that efficiency and the expectation that coach Gustavo Delgado wheels him again within the April 1 Florida Derby, 100-1 odds for this flippantly raced colt represents wonderful worth. Will Mage topple Forte within the Florida Derby ought to they meet? That’s an April Idiot’s thought – however hey, getting second and even third in that race might give him sufficient factors to schedule a visit to Louisville.

Verifying was despatched off because the 3-2 favourite within the Insurgent Stakes primarily based on his dominant 2023 debut at Oaklawn Park, the place he romped by 5 ¼ lengths in a one-mile allowance at Sizzling Springs. Within the Insurgent, he stalked a stable early tempo after which acquired caught behind some horses in early stretch, stalling his rally. He completed 5 ¼ lengths behind Confidence Recreation however deserves a second probability at Derby factors in a extra cleanly-run race on a quick monitor. This son of Triple Crown winner Justify is getting 30-1 odds at Caesars. If he rebounds in his ultimate Derby prep, his odds on Might 6 will likely be decrease than that.

One horse joined Caesars’ March 5 sheet at 125-1 odds: Henry Q, winner of the Mine That Hen Derby on Feb. 28 at Sunland Park. The Mine That Hen Derby, named after the fan favourite and upset 2009 Kentucky Derby winner, didn’t provide any qualifying factors for this yr’s traditional, however it’s the native prep race for the Sunland Derby on March 26, which gives 100 whole factors and 50 to the winner. Henry Q dominated seven foes by 14 ¾ lengths within the Mine That Hen Derby, main from begin to end, and he earned a 97 Equibase Velocity Determine. Coach Todd Fincher assumed supervisory duties for Henry Q after the colt was shipped in from Santa Anita Park, the place he received a maiden race on Feb. 4, and transferred from Doug O’Neill’s barn. The Sunland Derby usually attracts in a few high quality invaders from California and/or the Midwest, and it will not be a shock to see one of many former Bob Baffert horses educated by Tim Yakteen or a Steve Asmussen contender present up. But when Henry Q can replicate his latest effort come March 26, this son of Breeders’ Cup Basic winner Blame will likely be Churchill Downs-bound.