2023 Kentucky Derby track notes on every horse

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1 HIT SHOW (30-1)

Record: 5-3-1-0

Trainer: Brad Cox 

Jockey: Manny Franco

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 93

Earnings: $404,375

Fan Favorite: The public’s betting choice in all five of his starts. One of four Brad Cox-trained colts going to post. Hit Show’s biggest win was a romp in the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct in February prior to losing as a fast-closing second to Lord Miles in the Wood Memorial in final prep. A show finish would surprise.



 

2 VERIFYING (15-1)

Record: 6-2-2-0

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 99

Earnings: $489,900

Trust, but Verify: This colt figures to be near or on lead from the get-go. Lost a thrilling stretch duel by a neck to Tapit Trice in the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland. Impressive works indicate the son of Triple Crown-winning Justify will be near the front early. Cox-Gaffalione make a powerful duo. A morning line of 15-1 offers value. Verifying is fast — but can he last?

 

3 TWO PHIL’S (12-1)

Record: 8-4-1-1

Trainer: Larry Rivelli

Jockey: Jareth Loveberry

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 101

Earnings: $683,450

Better than ever: Winning half of his eight races, the hard-charging son of Hard Spun keeps improving under 35-year-old, rookie Derby rider Loveberry. He’ll need to top his most recent 101 Beyer if he’s to triumph here. Should be up close early from the inside post. Excellent chance.

 

4 CONFIDENCE GAME (20-1)

Record: 7-3-1-2

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Jockey: James Graham

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94

Earnings: $785,525

Con man: Confidence Game enters the Derby off a lengthy break. Winner of the Grade 2 Rebel at Oaklawn in slop, the son of Candy Ride attracts veteran Kentucky circuit rider James Graham. Not sure he’s ready to score at a Grade 1 level, but if he’s on top of his game, he could be there late. The wetter, the better. Game on, dude.

 

5 TAPIT TRICE (5-1)

Record: 5-4-1-0

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Luis Saez

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 99

Earnings: $883,650

Second choice: Winner of his last four – including the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs and Blue Grass at Keeneland – this son of super sire Tapit is a stone-cold closer. His best race was his last at Keeneland when he nailed Verifying at the wire. One of four horses entered by Todd Pletcher, whose barn is as sharp as any. Calm, cool rider Luis Saez knows how to navigate a 20-horse field. This Colt was bred to benefit from the added distance. It’s his time to shine.

 

6 KINGSBARNS (12-1)

Record: 3-3-0-0

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95

Earnings: $657,300

Hat trick: Kingsbarns is a perfect 3-fo-3, including an easy front-running score in the tough Louisiana Derby, Todd Pletcher’s trainee might try to wire the field under sharp gate jock Jose Ortiz, who climbs aboard for the first time. The late-blooming son of Uncle Mo appeals to wiseguys looking for a price play in exotic wagers. It will be Kingsbarns’ toughest test yet. Not today, Jose.

 

7 REINCARNATE (50-1)

Record: 7-2-3-2

Trainer: Tim Yakteen

Jockey: John Velazquez

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95

Earnings: $345,650

Baffert’s boy: Tim Yakteen takes over training for a suspended, high-profile West Coast conditioner. While this colt likes to finish in the money, his relatively low Beyer Speed Figures point to longshot status at 50-1. For Baffert fans only. victory would be another Rich Strike.

 

8 MAGE (15-1)

Record: 3-1-1-0

Trainer: Gustavo Delgado

Jockey: Javier Castellano 

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94

Earnings: $247,200

Slow starter: The son of Good Magic lacks a solid foundation with only three starts. His lone win came vs. maidens but showed promise, finishing only a length behind Forte in the Florida Derby. A bounce off that effort is possible. Castellano’s return is a plus, but it might be better to look ahead to a shorter Preakness in two weeks.

 

9 SKINNER (20-1)

Record: 6-1-0-3

Trainer: John A. Shirreffs

Jockey: Juan Hernandez

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 99

Earnings: $216,300

Draws in: The son of Curlin gets in the field following the untimely death of Wild On Ice. The California invader sports a pair of closing Show finishes in the last two races, but appears to be in too deep. 

 

10 PRACTICAL MOVE (10-1)

Record: 7-4-1-2

Trainer: Tim Yakteen

Jockey: Ramon Vazquez

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100

Earnings: $884,200

ALWAYS THERE: The winner of the Santa Anita Derby by a nose, this colt has never been out of the money in seven starts. Well-tested in five consecutive graded stakes, Practical Move is the best the West Coast has to offer. Ramon Vasquez has been aboard for three straight stalking wins. His stamina is a question, but don’t overlook him.

 

11 DISARM (30-1)

Record: 5-1-2-2

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Joel Rosario 

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90

Earnings: $327,850

Son of a Gun: The talented offspring of Gun Runner, Disarm’s lone win came against maidens. However, he has never finished off the board. While winningest all-time trainer Steve Asmussen would love to capture his first Run for the Roses, he may have to wait another year. Having a top rider helps. A win at 30-1 would be disarming.

 

12 JACE’S ROAD (50-1)

Record: 6-2-0-2

Trainer: Brad Cox 

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 90

Earnings: $238,050

Late to gate: Jace’s Road was added to the race when Blazing Sevens withdrew from the field, The Cox trainee prefers to run on the front end. Talented Florent Geroux retains the mount on the son of Quality Road. I prefer other Cox starters Hit Shot, Verifying or Angel of Empire. Strictly a longshot.

 

13 SUN THUNDER (50-1)

Record: 6-1-1-1

Trainer: Kenneth McPeek

Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 89

Earnings: $247,500

Regally bred: Son of Into Mischief out of a Medaglia d’Oro mare, Sun Thunder shows three purse-earning finishes, but little else. He adds blinkers for the Derby. It would be great to see Kentucky trainer Kenneth McPeek in the winner’s circle, but not likely today at 50-1. 

 

14 ANGEL OF EMPIRE (8-1)

Record: 6-4-1-0

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94

Earnings: $1,069,375

Money bags: Impressive winner of his last two – Risen Star at Fair Grounds and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park – the Classic Empire-sired colt hasn’t finished out of the money in six starts. At 8-1, he appears to be the best of Cox’s quartet. When the field turns for home, he’ll be coming from the clouds. For one who likes deep closers, he offers the best shot. 

 

15 FORTE (3-1)

Record: 7-6–1-0

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100

Earnings: $2,409,830

The scoop: On paper, he’s the one to beat. Winner of the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Forte is the reigning 2-year-old Eclipse Award winner at the head of this class. He’s proven himself worthy of the title by following that up with wins in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park against talented Derby hopefuls. He usually sits closer to the pace but showed his versatility by coming from farther back in the Florida Derby. Those looking for a winner, look no further. Those looking for value, look elsewhere.

 

16 RAISE CAIN (50-1)

Record: 7-2-1-1

Trainer: Ben Colebrook

Jockey: Geraldo Corrales

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 91

Earnings: $296,328

Not today: Long on experience, short on victories, this Colebrook-trained colt is in over his head at 50-1, though he moves up if the track comes up muddy as it did with his win in the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct. Underrated rider Geraldo Corrales would need the ride of his life to score. Strictly a bomb.

 

17 DERMA SOTOGAKE (10-1)

Record: 8-4-0-2

Trainer: Hidetaka Otonashi

Jockey: Christophe Lemaire

Best Beyer Speed Figure: NA

Earnings: $1,162,164

Travelin’ Man: This Japanese horse arrives in Kentucky following an impressive, front-running score in the UAE Derby. His connections are unknown to most in the American game, but backstretch chatter says the son of Mind Your Biscuits has a legitimate chance to light up the tote board in a wide-open Derby.

 

18 ROCKET CAN (30-1)

Record: 7-2-2-0

Trainer: William Mott

Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 91

Earnings: $383,413

Mott’s man: Winner of the Holy Bull at Gulfstream in February, he later finished second 

to Derby morning-line favorite Forte in the Fountain of Youth. Trainer William Mott’s lone entry has run in deep prep fields and offers value at 30-1. Don’t dismiss him.

 

19 LORD MILES (30-1)

Record: 5-2-0-1

Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 93

Earnings: $451,000

One trick pony:  Bombs away winner of the Wood Memorial at 59-1, Curlin’s offspring shows little else from five career starts. Journeyman jock Paco Lopez picks up the rare Derby start for likable trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. Easy to ignore.

 

20 CONTINUAR (50-1)

Record: 5-2-1-1

Trainer: Yoshito Yahagi

Jockey: Ryusel Sakai

Best Beyer Speed Figure: NA

Earnings: $337,889

Outside chance: Breaking from the outermost post No. 20, the “other” Japanese horse appears to be here to keep stablemate Derma Sotogake company. Little to like. Pass.

 

AE 21 CYCLONE MISCHIEF (30-1)

Record: 7-2-0-3

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Joel Rosario 

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 91

Earnings: $246,350

Price play: Trained by Louisville native Dale Romans, the underachieving son of Into Mischief offers little hope for local backers. Look for the longshot early if he makes the field.

 

AE 22 MANDARIN HERO (20-1)

Record: 6-4-2-0

Trainer: Terunobu Fujita

Jockey: Kazshu Kimura

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100

Earnings: $386,854

High Beyer: The third Japanese entrant was awarded a 100 Speed Figure when finishing second in the Santa Anita Derby. Based on the limited data on the horse, jockey and trainer, he deserves to be labeled a longshot. Doubtful contender.

 

AE 23 KING RUSSELL (50-1)

Record: 8-3-2-1

Trainer: Ron Moquett

Jockey: Rafael Bejarno

Best Beyer Speed Figure: 91

Earnings: $436,095

Outsider: Not much to recommend. His Beyer numbers improved but not enough to warrant in-the-money consideration. No King on Derby day, even if he gets in the starting gate.

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