How to Pick a Winning Horse in the 2023 Kentucky Derby


The Kentucky Derby is an annual prominent and exciting horse race event held every first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. As the 2023 Derby race is just a few months away, many bettors are aiming to achieve winning bets through keen eyes for top horses and improved ability on horse race betting.

Picking a winning horse in the Kentucky Derby can be challenging, as many factors can influence the race’s outcome. But with enough knowledge and know-how of the race, surely the process can be much easier than expected.

Excited to place your wager on the most exciting 2-minute race? Here are some factors you may need to consider first before picking a winning horse in this year’s Kentucky Derby.

Check the Contenders

It is essential to do your own little homework before betting on the Kentucky Derby. This process can help you decide which horse to bet on, leading to higher winning chances. Know that the Derby qualifies horses using qualifying points from the prep races. This score will identify contenders for the year’s race, consisting of only 20 horses in the final lineup.

These prep races will also help you understand better and have enough information about the horse’s performance on the racetrack. This can be done by watching recap videos of their latest performances or reading strength and weakness analyses by prominent horse racing experts and professional punters.

Other things you can also check to know more about the contenders may include the following:

  • Race History. Check the horse’s race history record and look for patterns of wins and losses. This way, you can have an overview of how the horse has performed in previous races, its stats, and other information you can use to create winning bets.
  • Track Distance and Surface. Horse racing tracks may come in different length distances and track surface conditions. These surfaces can be dirt, turf, or synthetic. The Kentucky Derby, particularly, uses a dirt surface and a distance of two kilometers. That said, you can look for horses that have performed well on a similar surface and distance so you know what to expect during the race.
  • Trainers and Jockeys. Horse performance relies not only on their natural ability to run with speed and strength. Trainers and jockeys play a vital role in ensuring horses’ health, condition, and strength on the track with efficient training and control before, during, and after the race.

Checking on this information will help you get a glimpse of the approaches and preparations these horses undergo before the race.

Commonly, the information about the horses in the Kentucky Derby entries is all found in the race program. Wherein the Derby racing program outlines the basic information of the horses, including those mentioned above.

Check the Odds

In whichever sports betting you undertake, checking the odds has always been helpful when picking a winning horse.

Odds provide you with the probability of a horse winning the race. These odds also come with the possible winning. Simply put, odds will present you the expected payout in every amount wagered. The higher odds a horse has, the higher possibility of a winning bet.

Odds in horse racing will also help you identify the favorites and the longshots. Favorites are the horses with the highest odds are expected to win the race, while the longshots will show lower odds and are the least expected to win the race. Although keeping your eyes on the Derby favorite may give you a higher chance of winning the bet, keep in mind that this does not automatically equate to wins.

If you are in for a more challenging option, trying on longshot bets will provide higher payouts if the bet succeeds. Additionally, you can consider horses with at least favorable odds, even if they’re not the most popular pick on the list, as long as they show great performance stats and race history.

Watch Out for the Latest Leaderboards

While odds provide you with winning possibilities, leaderboards, on the other hand, present fans and bettors with the current ranking of top contenders heading to the Kentucky Derby 2023. As mentioned, the Derby uses total point scores to qualify horses for the race, commonly requiring at least 40 points.

Leaderboards will provide this information with the horse’s name, total qualifying points, and stakes earnings. Therefore, this will give you more choices and allows you to focus more on the top rankers on the list. This leads to a significant choice filter and eventually ease in deciding which horses will most likely bring home the victory title in the Derby race.

The latest leaderboards can be found in online sportsbooks or are officially provided by the Kentucky Derby’s official leaderboard. The total qualifying score can change anytime, and so will the rankings. Thus, make sure you consistently check these leaderboards, especially before the actual race.


Horse racing is complex and unpredictable, and there is no guaranteed way to pick a winning horse. While applying and considering the factors mentioned above is vital in the process, know that there are still more things you can apply, be it personal or adopted strategies, to ensure you get even higher chances of achieving a winning bet.