Skip to main content

2023 Kentucky Derby horses: Mage reigns supreme at 149th Derby

The Kentucky Derby horses are the rockstars at the highly anticipated race that goes down on the first Saturday of May each year.

Close to 150,000 people packed into Churchill Down Racecourse to get a look and see which wins the first leg of the prestigious 2023 Triple Crown trilogy of races. Just like any other major sporting event, fans also love to put their hard-earned money on various wagers for the race.

Related: Kentucky Derby FAQ – Everything you need to know about the 2023 race

In 2022, a record $179 million was placed on bets for the race. Let’s take a look at some of the horses competed in the 2023 derby won by 17-1 under dog Mage.

Horses at Kentucky Derby 2023

kentucky derby horses
Credit: USA Today Network

There were just 18 horses vying for the honor of being called the derby champion after five were scratched in the week before the race, including favorite Forte. Let’s look at some of the talented three-year-olds that ran in the 2023 Derby.


Kingsbarns was a fascinating choice in the race. While not one of the favorites, the colt was clearly seen as one in striking distance with 10-1 odds. The Todd Pletcher-trained horse had won all three of its races heading into the event, including the Louisiana Derby over a couple of Kentucky competitors.

Odds: 10-1


Brad Cox trained horse Verifying is the offspring of Justify and Diva Delite and the Kentucky Derby was the colt’s seventh race. While Verifying has reached the winner’s circle in two previous appearances before the race, the last came in January. Since then, the horse had finished second and fourth.

Odds: 17-1

Angel of Empire

Pennsylvania thoroughbred Angel of Empire was one to watch at the derby. The horse trained by Todd A. Pletcher had only competed in three races but had taken home over a million in winnings after landing in the winner’s circle at the Arkansas Derby Risen Star S earlier in 2023. Angel was a popular pick heading into the race.

Odds: 9-2

Tapit Trice

Tapit Trice was one of two horses in the race trained by Hall-of-Famer Todd A. Pletcher, and both were favorites heading into the event. The horse entered the Derby red-hot after winning four straight and had built a reputation as a strong finisher, a characteristic that always comes up big in such high-pressure races.

Odds: 9-2

Two Phil’s

Larry Rivelli’s Two Phil’s is one of the more experienced horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby. The colt had been in six races but only won in two. The most recent of which came on a synthetic surface at Turfway Park in March. With race favorite Forte scratched, Two Phil’s became a dark horse in the 2023 Derby.

Odds: 7-1

King Russell

King Russell was one of the biggest underdogs heading into the race at 32-1. That should be a non-starter for most bettors, however, that was still better odds than the 2022 Kentucky Derby winner. Rich Strike took home the victory that year despite having 80-1 odds. You just never know.

Odds: 32-1

Derma Sotogake

Derma Sotogake was one of the Japanese invites for this year’s event. The Hidetaka Otonashi-trained thoroughbred had competed in just two races thus far but scored first-place finishes in both. The most recent being a victory at the UAE Derby in March. With five horses scratched from the race, Derma quickly rose into a race favorite.

Odds: 7-1

Odds for Kentucky Derby 2023

kentucky derby horses
Credit: USA Today Network

Here are the horses that competed in the 2023 Kentucky Derby and the betting odds for each before the race.

  • Two Phil’s – 7-1
  • Derma Sotogake – 7-1
  • Tapit Trice – 9-2
  • Angel of Empire – 9-2
  • Kingsbarns – 10-1
  • Reincarnate – 13-1
  • Confidence Game – 16-1
  • Mage – 17-1
  • Verifying – 17-1
  • Mandarin Hero – 21-1
  • Disarm – 24-1
  • Hit Show – 26-1
  • Rocket Can – 27-1
  • Sun Thunder – 30-1
  • Raise Cain – 30-1
  • Jace’s Road – 32-1
  • King Russell – 32-1
  • Cyclone Mishief – 33-1

Odds via KentuckyDerby.com

2023 Kentucky Derby winner

kentucky derby horses
Credit: USA Today Network

Despite horses like Tapit Trice, Forte, and Angel Empire getting much of the credit heading into the race, it was Gustavo Delgado-trained horse Mage that won the 2023 Kentucky Derby. The thoroughbred laid in wait for much of the race and made an incredible push down the home stretch to overcome Two Phil’s to get the historic victory.

Mage had won just one of its three previous races heading into the event at Churchhill Downs.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: