Breaking Down and Betting the 2023 Kentucky Derby

FairwayJay chips-in coverage and picks for the 2023 Kentucky Derby with added insight, information and predictions you can bet on. Included is additional insight into the Sport of Kings and 'buyer-beware' signs when betting the ponies.

Kentucky Derby betting advice and predictions

It's Kentucky Derby week, and the horses are nearing the starting gate for the 149th running of America's biggest horse race. The Kentucky Derby gets major media coverage as the single biggest horse racing event of the year.

I'm not a horse player or handicapper in that I don't spend time studying the racing form, video replays or invest much time or money into betting the races. I love the horses, their beauty and enjoy the Sport of Kings, and I also attend the Breeders' Cup through my media connections. Since 2016, I've gone to and covered the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita, Churchill Downs and last year, Del Mar and I plan on going to "The Great Race Place" again for this year's Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita, Nov. 3-4, 2023.

Kentucky Derby predictionI've been hired for years to cover horse racing, including since just before sports betting was legalized in the U.S. when I was working for Churchill Downs and writing about horse racing and providing betting insight, strategies racing information for TwinSpires. I now provide horse racing coverage for FanDuel and add more horse racing into my sports betting coverage for Forbes. I rely on my sports betting background and understanding of value to chip-in insight and information you can bet on for horse racing. 

But understand I'm not a horseman, and frankly, I don't know how bettors can, or if they do, beat the sport of horse racing with it's huge takeouts and all of the cheating and corruption that has been involved for years in the sport. You'll have to trust me in that I receive information from knowledgeable handicappers and horse insiders about not only horse racing and picks, but about trainers and their 'tactics' which impact horses performances and races.

You do recall the suspension of trainer Bob Baffert from Churchill Downs following the drug-induced victory and subsequence disqualification of Medina Spirit in the 2021 Kentucky Derby, correct? The horse failed a post-race drug test, and has since died. Hmmm. No wonder my picks on Hot Rod Charlie and failed-to-fire Known Agenda didn't win the 2021 Derby! Note too that another trainer was suspended by Churchill Downs today, so horses in the 'care' of Saffie Joseph, Jr. are no longer allowed to race at Churchill Downs, which includes Kentucky Derby qualifier Lord Miles. This is good, and another crackdown on the cheaters and EPO drug users on their horses.   

What is takeout and how does it affect betting profits?

Thus, if you're betting or 'investing' in the races, understand the variables involved and that you're best bet is to enjoy the races with just a bit of betting if you want to be entertained or shoot for a bigger score. That's what I did last year and in some other big racing days from years past.  

Last year I cashed in on the Run for the Roses and "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports." After big longshot Rich Strike drew into the Kentucky Derby Friday from the alternate list, I placed a pizza-slice bet on him to win at leading online sportsbook Circa Sports in Las Vegas. FairwayJay Rich Strike winning ticketThey offered Rich Strike at 125/1 odds, and the fast-charging late closing colt stormed down the stretch to steal the show and win the 2022 Kentucky Derby after the hot pace collapsed. Rich Strike became the second-biggest longshot to ever win the Kentucky Derby, and his pari-mutuel odds on race day were 80/1. I got much better longshot odds, and you can see my Rich Strike online bet in my longshot coverage at Forbes.

I covered that race and continue to cover horse racing for leading outlets FanDuel and Forbes, where I provide 2023 Kentucky Derby updates including on longshots of interest. 

Check those out for additional insight, analysis and picks as interested, along with Kentucky Derby picks and coverage at The Duel Sports

Kentucky Derby Prediction and Picks

There are seven big stakes races Friday at Churchill Downs including the Kentucky Oaks. On Saturday, nine more big stakes are headlined by the 2023 Kentucky Derby. 2023 Kentucky Derby winner picks longshotPlenty or races and ways to bet, and some of my colleagues and connections in racing pass along their insight, picks and analysis. 

My bets for the Kentucky Derby are keyed on the Japanese horse Derma Sotogake and Tapit Trice. We'll try to beat the favorite Forte. However, I will have additional inclusions and exotic bets looking for more value as well on Kingsbarns, Skinner and Two Phil's. My early Kentucky Derby fixed odds win bets were on Kingsbarns, Reincarnate and Derma Sotogake.

I receive additional insightful horse racing analysis from a number of contacts, including from a top handicapper and horseman in California. I also receive Horse Racing Nation (HRN) and it’s Super Screener big stakes race analysis and provide other handicappers some coverage with their race and sports picks. The HRN Super Screener is a detailed racing report with insight into the horses with time-tested, robust research methodology. These guidelines are based on a powerful set of "benchmarks of performance," while evaluating "how" a horse has been running and improving leading up to the Kentucky Derby. 

The Super Screener lists this year's top 'A' horses and Kentucky Derby win contenders as:
- Tapit Trice
- Forte
- Derma Sotogake
- Two Phil's
- Skinner
- Angel of Empire

Watch and wager as interested, and note that Santa Anita Derby winner Practical Move was scratched from the Kentucky Derby Thursday.

Looking for another Kentucky Derby score and top payout. It's Japan's time to break some long-standing losing streaks, and for Derma Sotogake to win the Run for the Roses.

You can bet on it.

FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and recognized as one of the sports industry's insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at and on Twitter @FairwayJay for more betting updates and insights. 

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