Here’s How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby

FanDuel racing expert Todd Schrupp has tips for Saturday's mane event

May 5, 2023 6:25 am
The running of the 148th Kentucky Derby.
No one predicted Rich Strike would win the 148th Kentucky Derby.

You’ve got your preppy duds ironed, your limited-edition bottle of bourbon cracked open and your mint julep ingredients at the ready — now comes the important part of preparing for the Kentucky Derby: placing your bets.

With wagering on the Derby open as of this morning at Churchill Downs and remotely via FanDuel in states that allow legalized betting on horse racing, the odds on tomorrow’s race are starting to crystalize but will continue to fluctuate until race time. So, while the odds on the 20 horses were estimated earlier this week when their post positions were drawn, those opening odds won’t necessarily hold until post time on Saturday evening (6:57 p.m. EDT). “Through Friday and Saturday, bettors can watch the odds fluctuate based on the wagers coming in before the race,” FanDuel explains. “Final odds are determined by how much has been bet on each horse once the gates fling open.”

Before we get to tips for betting the ponies with advice from FanDuel horse racing expert Todd Schrupp, here are the post positions, trainers, jockeys and the opening odds, which may have already changed, for each horse in the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

Horse / Post PositionTrainerOpening Odds
Forte / 15Todd Pletcher3/1
Tapit Trice / 5Todd Pletcher5/1
Angel of Empire / 14Brad Cox8/1
Practical Move / 10Tim Yakteen10/1
Derma Sotogake (JPN) / 17Hidetaka Otonashi10/1
Two Phil’s / 3Larry Rivelli12/1
Kingsbarns / 6Todd Pletcher12/1
Verifying / 2Brad Cox15/1
Mage / 8Gustavo Delgado15/1
Jace’s Road / 12Brad Cox15/1
Raise Cain / 16Ben Colebrook15/1
Rocket Can / 18William Mott15/1
Confidence Game / 4Keith Desormeaux20/1
Skinner / 9John A. Shirreffs20/1
Hit Show / 1Brad Cox30/1
Disarm / 11Steven Asmussen30/1
Sun Thunder / 13Kenneth McPeek30/1
Lord Miles / 19Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.30/1
Reincarnate / 7Tim Yakteen50/1
Continuar (JPN) / 20Yoshito Yahagi50/1

Now, without further ado, here are Schrupp‘s thoughts on…

The Favorite

At 3-1, Forte is a solid favorite. He drew post 15, which has not been a bad post over the years. His owner Mike Repole said he feels like he’s like Michael Jordan in his prime and he’s just better than everybody else. This would be the first Kentucky Derby winner for Repole. He had a horse many years ago called Uncle Mo that he hoped could be in the Kentucky Derby. It never worked out for him, but he still had a really good career and now he’s one of the most popular sires in the world. At 12-1, Kingsbarns is a son of Uncle Mo and could end up beating Forte. So,  Repole may have owned the horse that sired the horse that beats him.

The Other Favorite

Tapit Trice (5/1) is one of the most expensive horses in the field. Horses purchased for over a million dollars haven’t done particularly well in this race. Tapit Trice is one such horse. He’s one of three for trainer Todd Pletcher. Pletcher also has Forte. I think Tapit Trice is being overlooked because those of us in the horse racing bubble tend to overthink things. Tapit Trice has had a phenomenal spring and hasn’t lost. Even in his own barn, he’s being overshadowed by Forte, but I think he’s got as good a shot as anyone.

A Riser

Angel of Empire’s (8-1) win in the Arkansas Derby was fantastic. He had a big win prior to that down in Louisiana. Angel of Empire is trained by Brad Cox. He also has Hit Show, Verifying and Jace’s Road. As a side note, you can make future bets on the Kentucky Derby, and one of my friends was able to get Angel of Empire at 112-1 early in the season. At 8-1, Angel of Empire has a legitimate shot to win the race. If you’d bet him early, you could have gotten 112-1. That’s how good of a spring he’s had and how low the expectations were coming in.

A Midrange Option

Forte is the favorite because he’s peaked all spring, but there’s a real possibility he has run his best race and the horses that have been finishing behind him could improve and beat him under the circumstances at the Derby. One of those horses is Mage (15-1). He came in second in the Florida Derby behind Forte. While I concur Forte had trouble in that race and overcame it, I was still impressed by Mage. Coming out of the final turn, he swooped by the entire field to take the lead and Forte had to come and get him. Mage is very lightly raced and is far away from his ceiling. He can make another move forward and 15-1 looks great if he does.

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Another Midrange Option

Skinner (20-1) was in the Santa Anita Derby last time out, which was won by Practical Move. Practical Move is 10-1. Over the last 30 years, horses that had their final prep race in Santa Anita have won the Derby six times. That’s more than any other race. Skinner threatened Practical Move, but he couldn’t quite get there. He has been doing that all spring. He reminds me of a horse that his trainer sent out in 2005. Giacomo was one of those horses who would always threaten to win during the spring and wouldn’t get there. Then on Kentucky Derby Day, everything went his way and he pulled off a shocking upset. So I look at Mage and Skinner very similarly. They threaten to win and haven’t done it, but I could see them stepping up on Kentucky Derby Day and pulling it off. I love what he’s done. I think he’ll be more like 30-1 at posting time.


Disarm (30-1) ran in the Lexington Stakes, which is the last prep race of the season. It’s very rare to have a horse run in that race and come back and win the Kentucky Derby. One exception would be Charismatic, who almost won the entire Triple Crown in 1999. If you’re going to set that aside and make a case for Disarm, his workouts and how he’s looked in the mornings at Churchill Downs have been phenomenal. He’s looked great if you’re just going by the eye test. A horse I think you can make a case for at 50-1 is Reincarnate. He’s had a very disappointing spring, but sometimes you have to remember what you thought about these horses to begin with. Just like any athlete, horses have ups and downs and cycles in their form. If you believe Reincarnate was one of the top prospects at the beginning of the season, then you have to acquiesce to the idea he has a race he can run that could make him competitive at 50-1.

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