Courtesy of: Saratoga Living

The 2023 Kentucky Derby

Don your finest hats and snazziest suits; we are headed to Churchill Downs!  The races will begin on May 6th, 2023, starting at 9:00 AM.  Horse trainers from all over the world will bring their thoroughbreds and designated jockeys to Louisville to compete in various races.  The biggest and most anticipated of all is the Kentucky Derby.

Started in 1875 by Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. (the grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition), the Derby had ten thousand attendees, with fifteen thoroughbred colts.  The first-ever winner of the Derby completed with a time of 2:37:75, by an African American jockey by the name of Oliver Lewis with his horse, Aristides.  At the time, there was no extravagant rose garland placed over the winning horse.  Roses wouldn’t appear at the Derby until 1896 when the winner, Ben Brush, was given a bouquet of roses as a congratulation.  Eight years later, red roses would become symbolic of the Kentucky Derby.

Over time, the Kentucky Derby became known as how it is today.  Traditions picked up, the singing of the ballad “My Old Kentucky Home” when the horses are loading into their positions, and the famous mint juleps*.  And, we must not forget the famous trumpet fanfare, “Horse Race Call To Post,” honorably played within five to ten minutes of the race starting.

Here is a list of this year’s thoroughbreds and their odds (please note that horses might be scratched and odds might change before 6:57, Saturday evening):

  1. Hit Show: 30-1
  2. Verifying: 15-1
  3. Two Phil’s: 12-1
  4. Confidence Game: 20-1
  5. Tapit Trice: 5-1
  6. Kingsbarn: 12-1
  7. Reincarnate: 50-1
  8. Mage: 15-1
  9. Skinner: 20-1
  10. Practical Move: 10-1
  11. Disarm: 30-1
  12. Jace’s Road: 30-1
  13. Sun Thunder: 50-1
  14. Angel of Empire: 8-1
  15. Forte: 3-1
  16. Raise Cain: 50-1
  17. Derma Sotogake (JAPAN): 10-1
  18. Rocket Can: 30-1
  19. Lord Miles: 30-1
  20. Continuar (JAPAN): 50-1
  21. Cyclone Mischief: 30-1
  22. Mandarin Hero (JAPAN): 20-1
  23. King Russel: 50-1

(Courtesy of Churchill Downs)

One famous jockey we will not be seeing is Mike E. Smith, a four-time Triple Crown winner.  His most recent Triple Crown win was in 2018, with Justify as his horse, trained by Bob Baffert.  We will also not be seeing Baffert at the Derby for the second time.  He was banned after the 2021 Kentucky Derby after a failed post-race drug test done on his horse, Medina Spirit, who was then disqualified.  Baffert faced a two-year ban from Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.  But CBS News says that Baffert “is eligible to run horses at the Preakness and Belmont Stakes this year.”  We shall see if the legendary and controversial trainer will be making an appearance then.

In the end, I am excited for this year’s Derby!  If you are so inclined, feel free to leave a comment on which horse you hope to win.  As for myself, I’m rooting for Forte and Angel of Empire.  So whether you pick your horse and place your bets** by their creative name or by their odds (I tend to keep both in mind when I’m choosing my horse/horses), enjoy the Kentucky Derby.  Rider’s up!




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