Front Runners In The 2023 Kentucky Derby

Published Date   28th Apr. 2023, 06:15 am Sadi
Front Runners In The 2023 Kentucky DerbySource: Pexels

Author: Lindsay Griffin

There’s an old racing adage that has held true generation after generation: pace makes the race.

It’s certainly the case in the Kentucky Derby as well. The predicted pace scenario is one of the most common factors handicappers use to analyze the field prior to placing bets. 

The reasoning behind this is fairly simple. If a single horse gets to the lead early in the race, they can effectively control the race. If challenged early on, the lead horse can simply sprint away; if not challenged, said lead horse can simply slow the pace down to conserve their own energy for the later stages of the race.

However, if a bunch of horses in the race naturally vie for the early lead, they are likely to burn out each other’s energy and surrender the lead later on to a horse coming up from behind.

The frantic early fractions in 2005, 2009, and 2022 tore each of those editions of the Kentucky Derby apart, allowing for deep closers in Giacomo, Mine That Bird, and Rich Strike to pick up the pieces. On the other hand, Spend a Buck, Winning Colors, and Go for Gin all sprinted clear of the competition and controlled the 1985, 1988, and 1994 Kentucky Derbies from gate to wire.

Who are those horses who are most likely going to vie for the early lead? 

If you are unfamiliar with horse racing and the odds you can check TwinSpires guide here: 


Now, let’s take a look.

  1. Kingsbarns

Kingsbarns, a horse who could be any trainer’s “horse of a lifetime,” has been relatively forgotten among Todd Pletcher’s 2023 Kentucky Derby offerings. He is the stablemate to both Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old and likely Derby favorite Forte and Grade I Blue Grass Stakes winner Tapit Trice. A son of leading sire Uncle Mo out of the Grade III-placed Tapit mare Lady Tapit, Kingsbarns did not start in a race until January 14th of this year.

However, when he did start, he showed that he was worth the wait. Instead of going straight to the lead, he stalked the pace and won by 1 ¾ lengths in a one-mile maiden race at Gulfstream Park.

He returned on February 12th at Tampa Bay Downs in an allowance optional claimer at one mile and 40 yards, where he lay closer to the pace and took over after six furlongs. This time, as he turned for home, he poured on the speed and ended up crushing the rest of the field by nearly eight lengths.

From there, Pletcher chose to launch his colt into graded stakes competition. He had several tough rivals in the Grade II Louisiana Derby, most notably graded stakes winners Curly Jack and Instant Coffee.

This time, Kingsbarns powered to the front immediately and never looked back. He was never seriously challenged and eventually won by 3 1/2 lengths over Disarm, which earned him 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points and a berth in the Derby starting gate.

2. Derma Sotogake

Derma Sotogake began his career in Japan racing over their grass surface. Trained by Christopher Lemaire, he ran sixth, fourth, and third in maiden races at Hanshin and Kokura before being switched over to the dirt surface at Chukyo.

He was apparently thrilled with the change, breaking his maiden before winning the Mochinoki Sho and the Zenippan Nisai Yushun over Continuar. The latter victory placed him atop the leaderboard for the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby. 

From there, Lemaire chose to have his superstar take his show on the road. On February 25th, Derma Sotogake faced an international field of three-year-olds in the Grade III Saudi Derby at King Abdulaziz Racecourse.

There, the Bob Baffert-trained colt Havnameltdown denied Derma Sotogake the early lead, and both were passed in the stretch by the locally-trained Commissioner King. 

Undeterred, Derma Sotogake proceeded to the Grade II UAE Derby in Dubai. There, he put on a complete tour de force. Not only did he lead gate to wire and win by open lengths, he headed a Japanese trifecta, as Dura Erede finished second and Continuar was third.

That race earned Derma Sotogake 100 points on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, meaning that he would qualify even without the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby invitation. As such, Continuar, as the second-place finisher in that series, was able to accept the invitation and will be joining Derma Sotogake in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

Derma Sotogake is by Mind Your Biscuits, a New York-bred horse who made his name as a sprinter, but had enough stamina to win the Grade III Lukas Classic Stakes at 1 ⅛ miles. His dam, Amour Poesie, is by the successful Japanese sire Neo Universe, who is in turn a son of Kentucky Derby winner Sunday Silence. 

Don’t Miss To Follow SuperbHub For More Updates On Celebrity BiographyArticles,  News, and  Entertainment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy Preference Center




wordpress_55744e494f42348a63852c4bb0d2d393, wordpress_55744e494f42348a63852c4bb0d2d393, wordpress_logged_in_55744e494f42348a63852c4bb0d2d393, wordpress_test_cookie, wp-settings-1, wp-settings-time-1