The 2023 Kentucky Derby marks the second year that horse trainer Bob Baffert is not allowed to enter a horse in the Run for the Roses. Baffert came under fire after his horse, Medina Spirit, had to be stripped of his 2021 Kentucky Derby victory due to testing positive for betamethasone. The six-time Kentucky Derby winner was suspended from racing a horse at Churchill Downs and had to hand the horses he was training last year over to fellow trainer Tim Yakteen. Yakteen returned this week with his own horses, Practical Move and Reincarnate, for the Kentucky Derby 2023 which has a post time of 6:57 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Practical Move was scratched from the race earlier in the week, while Reincarnate is a 13-1 longshot in the latest 2023 Kentucky Derby odds. Does Yakteen’s horse have what it takes to beat favorites in the 2023 Kentucky Derby odds such as Tapit Trice (9-2), Angel of Empire (9-2), Two Phil’s (7-1) or Derma Sotogake (7-1)? Before making any Kentucky Derby 2023 predictions, you’ll want to see elite horse racing handicapper Jody Demling’s 2023 Kentucky Derby picks and analysis.
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 five 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, Demling has handicapped the 2023 Kentucky Derby field, made his picks and constructed his bets. Click here to see them.
2023 Kentucky Derby predictions for Tapit Trice, Angel of Empire
One surprise: Demling is fading the most expensive purchase in the race, No. 5 Tapit Trice (9-2). Trained by Todd Pletcher, Tapit Trice does his best running late and tends to do his best running from the outside. In both of his recent wins, the Tampa Bay Derby and Blue Grass Stakes, he made a wide trip with his closing kick. In a field with 18 horses, it’s likely he won’t have the opportunity to do the same until it might be too late.
Demling believes experience will be a factor as well as he notes: “Still needs to show some improvement — especially mentally — in my mind to face an 18-horse field.” While his jockey Luis Saez is among the more accomplished North American jockeys, he has yet to get himself a Kentucky Derby victory. In 2019, Saez crossed the wire first with Maximum Security, only to be later disqualified for interference. Tapit Trice’s best opportunity might be in the Belmont Stakes against fewer horses and a longer stretch to chase down horses that might be tiring in the mile and 1/2 race. See who else to fade here.
Demling has also locked in his 2023 Kentucky Derby picks for Angel of Empire, one of the co-favorites at 9-2. The 3-year-old colt has the shortest odds of the Kentucky Derby horses trained by Louisville native Brad Cox, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2021 with Mandaloun. He will also be raced by veteran jockey Flavien Prat, who has placed in the top three in four of his five previous Kentucky Derby appearances.
Angel of Empire enters the 2023 Kentucky Derby field following back-to-back wins including a first-place finish at the Arkansas Derby on April 1. The Arkansas Derby has been won by notable Derby competitors in the past including 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and is considered one of the most important Kentucky Derby prep races. See where Angel of Empire finishes here.
How to make 2023 Kentucky Derby picks, bets
Demling is especially high on a big longshot who “has looked outstanding training at Churchill Downs and will be there with a shot in the end.” Anyone who backs this horse could hit it big. He’s sharing which horses to back only at SportsLine.
Where do Tapit Trice, Angel of Empire and every other horse finish in the 2023 Kentucky Derby? And which enormous longshot is a must-back? Check out the Kentucky Derby odds 2023 below, then visit SportsLine to see Demling’s picks for the Kentucky Derby, all from the expert who has nailed 10 Derby-Oaks doubles in the last 14 years.