The 2023 Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday, May 6 at Churchill Downs, and the start to the three-year-old season has been an odd one. The horse racing community spent months waiting for word on whether Bob Baffert’s two-year suspension from the Kentucky Racing Commission would be upheld. Now that it’s official he’ll remain suspended, Baffert’s top horses have been transferred to former assistant Tim Yakteen’s barn for a second consecutive year, but how will that impact the 2023 Kentucky Derby contenders?
Yakteen’s Practical Move is 12-1 in the 2023 Kentucky Derby odds, while Todd Pletcher’s Forte is the 3-1 Kentucky Derby 2023 favorite. Before making any 2023 Kentucky Derby picks, be sure to see the horse racing predictions and futures bets from SportsLine’s elite horse racing expert Jody Demling.
A fixture in the horse racing world who has been writing about, talking about and betting on races for years, Demling enters the 2023 Kentucky Derby having nailed the winner of the Belmont Stakes four of the last fives years, including an exacta in 2022 with Mo Donegal and Nest. He also nailed Flightline’s win at the Breeders’ Cup Classic last November.
Demling is at his best in the biggest horse races in the world like the Kentucky Derby 2023. In fact, he has hit 10 of the last 14 Derby-Oaks doubles at Churchill Downs. That means he held a ticket with the winners of both races all but four times in the last 14 years. He’s also called nine of the last 18 Preakness winners, keenly understanding when the Kentucky Derby winner was poised for victory or a massive upset, and nailed the 2022 Preakness trifecta. Anyone who has followed him is up huge.
Now, with the 2023 Kentucky Derby futures already on the board, Demling is sharing his picks and predictions over at SportsLine. Go here to see them.
Top 2023 Kentucky Derby predictions
One of Demling’s surprising 2023 Kentucky Derby picks: He is fading Forte, saying the favorite doesn’t even crack the top five. “His odds are too low to take a shot,” Demling told SportsLine. From 1980 to 1999, no favorite won the Kentucky Derby. The race was won by 80-1 long shot Rich Strike a year ago, and before that, Giacomo entered with just one victory, but still won the 2005 Run for the Roses.
In a 20-horse race in which a poor draw, weather, or poor workouts could hinder Forte’s chances, Demling doesn’t see any value in backing Forte with his 2023 Kentucky Derby bets. See which other 2023 Kentucky Derby horses to avoid at SportsLine.
Another stunner: Demling is high on Blazing Sevens, even though he’s a 66-1 longshot. He’s a target for anyone looking for a huge payday. The Champagne Stakes winner and fourth-place finisher in a loaded Breeders’ Cup Juvenile field last November made his three-year-old debut earlier this month at the Fountain of Youth Stakes and finished a disappointing eighth in a race where he was never a factor.
However, trainer Chad Brown has lined up one more shot to qualify for the Kentucky Derby 2023. Blazing Sevens will run again in the Wood Memorial on April 4 and Brown’s tactical decision to skip the Gotham Stakes (which he blames for his poor showing at Gulfstream Park) was with the Wood in mind. Brown says you should draw a line through his Fountain of Youth performance and expect better from the son of Good Magic, a three-time Grade I winner and the 2018 Kentucky Derby runner-up. See which other horses to back at SportsLine.
How to make 2023 Kentucky Derby picks, bets
Demling is especially high on an even bigger longshot who has “a lot of room to improve,” and could make a serious charge at Churchill Downs. Anyone who backs this horse could hit it big. Demling is sharing which horse it is, along with his entire projected leaderboard, over at SportsLine.
Which horse wins the Kentucky Derby 2023? And which huge underdog is a must-back? Check out the latest 2023 Kentucky Derby odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Demling’s picks for the Kentucky Derby, all from the expert who nailed 10 Derby-Oaks doubles.