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Welcome to the 2023 Kentucky Derby Rankings! Each week leading up to the race, we will provide our Top 20 Kentucky Derby Prospects, as well as updates with the latest news on each horse.
Visit our Kentucky Derby page for the latest news, rankings, prep race schedules, the Kentucky Derby point standings, and much more!
Pros: Three Grade 1 victories as a 3-year-old; clear Eclipse Award winner.
Cons: Did he peak too soon? It’s hard to hold your form for as long as he will be asked to do.
Outlook: He is the clear leader in the clubhouse coming into 2023. It seems like he getting better with each race, while his pedigree suggests he should be able to handle the extra distance when the time comes. He’s had three works this season as he looks to make his 3-year-old debut in the next round of preps.
Pros: Sensational debut at Keeneland; blowout win in the Southwest Stakes (G3); solid trainer and pedigree
Cons: He’ll have to change trainers by March 1st
Outlook: He passed his first test with flying colors in a dominant effort in the Southwest Stakes (G3). What happens next will be interesting as he must move from the Baffert barn by March 1st to earn Derby points. Whatever happens, there is no doubt this horse has major talent.
Pros: Big winner of the Lecomte Stakes (G3) gives him back to back graded stakes scored; solid distance pedigree and trainer
Cons: Still lacking a bit from a speed figure standpoint; lost to a few horses on this list in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
Outlook: The Brad Cox trainee was able to overcome a poor start to win the Lecomte Stakes (G3) and should move forward nicely off of that effort. He now has back to back graded stakes scores, which makes our top two horses look even better.
Pros: Undefeated 3 for 3 with a recent win in the Smarty Jones Stakes; solid trainer
Cons: Speed figures are a bit low
Outlook: This undefeated colt hasn’t been overly flashy; however, he has shown solid talent in each of his wins. He is sired by a Belmont Stakes winner, and looks like a horse that should get better as the distances get longer. We’ll see him this weekend in the Risen Star Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds.
Pros: Two-time Grade 1 winner as a 2-year-old; was the heavy Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) favorite.
Cons: Disappointed at the Breeders’ Cup in a big way; late to begin workouts this year.
Outlook: This Bob Baffert trainee had a ton of hype heading into the Breeders’ Cup, and rightfully so, as he had been flawless leading up the race. He did not show up with his best effort, though, which is concerning. Can he bounce back? He finally had a workout this week, so we will see if he can jump on the trail and make an impact.
Pros: Fast recent allowance score; tremendous pedigree; solid trainer
Cons: Was no match for the top horses in the crop as a 2-year-old
Outlook: This one could be developing nicely heading into what should be a prep race next time out. The talent and the pedigree is there, while his 97 beyer against allowance foes at Oaklawn Park was higher than any of the Kentucky Derby preps so far this season.
2023 Kentucky Derby
Pros: Two solid wins in a row; faster speed figures than most of the stakes winners
Cons: Still a little behind from a timing standpoint; no races around two-turns yet
Outlook: This guy absolutely dusted an allowance field at Gulfstream Park, showing that he is ready for the next step up the ladder. He would have likely cruised in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) if entered, so look for him to be a major force when he does enter a Kentucky Derby prep race.
Pros: Two big wins in a row; Bob Baffert; distance shouldn’t be a problem
Cons: Speed figures are still a bit low; several losses on the resume
Outlook: It’s possible this horse could be getting better with each start. He showed tremendous heart holding off all challenges in his Sham Stakes (G3) victory.
Pros: Has hit the board in a few big races; faced the best horses in the crop
Cons: Never been a threat to winning since his maiden victory
Outlook: Remember Lookin At Lee? This horse is so much like him it’s not even funny. You should not expect him to win; however, he is one you can play underneath with confidence in all these big races leading up to the Derby.
Pros: Should get better as distances get longer; Bob Baffert
Cons: Several losses on the resume; not competitive with the top horses in the crop so far
Outlook: There is no doubt his third place effort in the Sham Stakes (G3) was disappointing. He might just be a “hit the board” type until we see him make a jump up and win one of these big races.
Pros: Solid turn of foot; Brad Cox
Cons: Pedigree may keep him from going long
Outlook: He has shown an awesome turn of foot and seems to be extremely talented. How long can he go? That’s the big question mark.
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Pros: Great Pedigree; should improve going longer
Cons: Still seems to be a little behind from a timing standpoint; speed figures still a little light
Outlook: The stretch out in distance is going to be the key for this horse. His races have been solid so far, but he projects to get much better stretching out in distance, which he’ll have to do to move up the rankings.
Pros: Solid turn of foot; Brad Cox; solid pedigree
Cons: Hasn’t beaten much; speed figures are a touch low
Outlook: This one seems to be developing nicely with each start. His win in the Withers Stakes (G3) was visually impressive, even though the competition may have been light. We’ll see if he can continue to progress for Brad Cox.
Pros: Won the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) despite running wide throughout; excellent pedigree
Cons: Beyer came back extremely low; beat a questionable field
Outlook: We’ll see if he can continue to improve when they stretch out in distance. His pedigree says he should, and he’ll need to do so, as his speed figures are still pretty low.
Pros: Solid efforts in several stakes races; plenty of experience
Cons: No match for the top horses yet; speed figures a tad low
Outlook: This seems like a good “hit the board” type of horses along the Kentucky Derby Trail. He has shown ability, though, and has the class to make an impact this season. We will see him this weekend in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds.
Pros: Solid foundation; seems to be improving with each race
Cons: Not competitive with the top horses; speed figures still low
Outlook: His 3-year-old debut was solid, running third in the Southwest Stakes (G3) despite chasing Arabian Knight the whole race. He can move forward off of that race, while the horse should get several chances with McPeek training.
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Pros: Picked up a big win in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).
Cons: Several losses on the resume; speed figures are still a little low
Outlook: He might be improving at the right time after a solid win in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2). Sometimes, what happens at Los Alamitos stays at Los Alamitos, though, so he still has some proving to do.
Pros: Improving with each race, solid breeding
Cons: Yet to face stakes company; was no match for our 6th-ranked horse earlier this year
Outlook: This horse could be one to keep an eye out for as he seems to be improving with every race. We will see hi in a Kentucky Derby prep race next, which will give us a good indication of where he stands amongst this crop.
Pros: Impressive maiden win; solid distance pedigree
Cons: Only a maiden win; up against it from a timing standpoint
Outlook: We’ll see him this weekend in an allowance race at Fair Grounds, which seems to be a must win if he wants to jump onto the Derby Trail. He has talent; however, he’ll have to be really good to make up for getting going a bit late in the game.
Pros: Has run well against solid horse; nice prep win in the Jerome Stakes
Cons: Speed figures are a cut below the top horses; distance limitations are possible
Outlook: He makes his debut on the list after a solid win in the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct. We will see if he can progress as the distances get longer, which may be a problem.
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