The first Saturday in May has arrived and racing fans have spent weeks scrutinizing every prep race, every workout and every statistic from trainer, rider and post position. Now it’s time to place your bets!

As usual, it’s a 20-horse field for the Derby, the 150th edition, and there are two colts who will take a lot of the betting support: FIERCENESS (5-to-2), the two-year-old champion of 2023 and pace runner and the once-beaten SIERRA LEONE (3-to-1). The two colts have two very different running styles as Fierceness is a speed runner while Sierra Leone comes from far back. Indeed, getting past either of these two colts will be tough for the other 18 starters.

Fierceness won the Florida Derby (G1), the most successful of the Derby prep races, by 13 1/2 lengths with a 110 Beyer Speed Figure from Daily Racing Form. Only one other horse in the field has earned a triple-digit Beyer Figure and that is MYSTIK DAN, who posted a 100 when he rode a favourable rail path in the slop to win the Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park.

Sierra Leone, a $2.3 million yearling purchase and son of  top young sire Gun Runner, is a nose away from being unbeaten in all four races. He blew past his rivals in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in his last start and likely just needs clear sailing to have a good chance at victory.

Here are a slew of historical statistics to consider before you narrow down your choices:

The Derby Preps

Take note of this little piece of trivia; there have been 24 Kentucky Derby winners since the year 2000 and 16 of them have won either a 50- or 100-point prep race.

Here is a look at the big prep races and how many of those winners/starters have won the Derby

Chart of prep race winners.

The Derby Posts

Derby winners have won from every post but #17 (this year, STRONGHOLD starts from that post) with more winners coming from the inside half of the gate. With such a long run to the first turn of the 1 1/4 mile classic, posts don’t mean too much, at least not as much as the size of the field has an affect on horses.

Historical post position chart.


What are the Odds?

The average win payoff of Derby winners since 2000 is over $34. And for such a famous and important race, it is surprisingly that on four occasions, the winner paid over $100. There have been plenty of favourites to win the Derby, but there is little value in betting to win on the public’s choice. That is why the exotic wagers such as exactas, trifectas and superfectas are so popular when betting on the famous race.

The Derby Trainers

A good horse can make any trainer look good, but here are some statistics (winners from starters) on the trainers in this year’s Derby:

Steve Asmussen  0/25
Chad Brown  0/7
Saffie Joseph  0/2
D Wayne Lukas  4/49
Todd Pletcher  2/64
Bill Mott  1/12
Ken McPeek  0/9
Brad Cox  1/7
Danny Gargan  0/1

All other trainers are making their Derby debuts.

Horse-By-Horse Comments

THE FIELD for the 150th KENTUCKY DERBY: May 4, Post time 6:57 p.m.

Post / Horse / Trainer / Jockey / Odds

1. Dornoch / Danny Gargan / Luis Sáez / 20-1
Full brother to ’23 Derby winner Mage, strategy will be to send to lead; unlikely factor

2. Sierra Leone / Chad Brown / Tyler Gaffalione / 3-1
Immensely talented stretch runner has unappealing ‘paddling’ stride but he’s made it work

3. Mystik Dan / Kenny McPeek / Brian Hernandez Jr. / 20-1
Had a dream trip in his Southwest win, not best trip in Arkansas Derby

4. Catching Freedom / Brad Cox / Flavien Prat / 8-1
Stretch runner won the La. Derby, still improving

5. Catalytic / Saffie Joseph Jr. / José Ortiz / 30-1
Miles behind Fierceness in Florida Derby

6.  Just Steel / D. Wayne Lukas / Keith Asmussen / 20-1
Rugged colt has two sprint wins, has been modest 2nd in two Derby preps

7. Honor Marie / Whit Beckman / Ben Curtis / 20-1
‘Wise guy’ horse is a stretch runner making the often key, 3rd race off the layoff

8. Just a Touch / Brad Cox / Florent Géroux / 10-1
Lightly raced son of Triple Crown winner Justify is a speed type, vulnerable at distance

9. Encino Brad Cox Axel Concepción 20-1 (WITHDRAWN)

10. T O Password / Daisuke Takayanagi / Kazushi Kimura / 30-1
Canada’s top jock gets mount on two-for-two Japanese colt who could be a speed runner

11. Forever Young / Yoshito Yahagi / Ryusei Sakai 10-1
Japan’s best hope is unbeaten, won in Dubai in a race that has awful record in Derby

12. Track Phantom (b) / Steve Asmussen / Joel Rosario / 20-1
Blinkers on front running colt who will find distance tough

13. West Saratoga / Larry Demeritte / Jesús Castañón / 50-1
Best Beyer is 85, in way too tough

14. Endlessly / Michael McCarthy / Umberto Rispoli / 30-1
Won both races this year on Tapeta surface, dirt workouts have been modest

15. Domestic Product / Chad Brown / Irad Ortiz Jr. / 30-1
Gets full marks for his workouts and appearance Derby week; has current champion jock Irad Ortiz

16. Grand Mo the First / Víctor Barboza Jr. / Emisael Jaramillo / 50-1
Four 3rd place finishes in succession. Distance a challenge

17. Fierceness / Todd Pletcher / John Velázquez / 5-2
Best horse in the race but vulnerable with any type of crowding of trouble early

18. Stronghold / Phil D’Amato / Antonio Fresu / 20-1
California colt has been 1st or 2nd in all races but low Beyer Figures

19. Resilience / Bill Mott / Júnior Alvarado / 20-1
Has made a great impression Derby week, won modest Wood Memorial in New York

20. Society Man (g) / Danny Gargan / Frankie Dettori / 50-1
Was 106-to-1 when 2nd to Resilience without gaining ground

Also eligible
21. Epic Ride (ae) John Ennis Adam Beschizza 30-1
Drew into field Tuesday; 3rd in Blue Grass; Rich Strike won ’22 Derby off also eligible list

22. Mugatu (ae) Jeff Engler Joe Talamo 30-1
Needs a scratch and was far back in Blue Grass

Derby Wagers

$1 Exacta Box:  2, 3, 4, 7, 17, 21 – $30.00
The two favourites with #3 Mystik Dan, #4 Catching Freedom, #7 Honor Marie and the also-eligible, #21 Epic Ride
$10 Win #7

Good luck with your bet365 wagers!