2023 Kentucky Derby Update

Kentucky Derby Update: Scratches and Suspensions Shake Up the Field

After releasing my initial thoughts on the Kentucky Derby, there has been significant changes to the race. First, trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. has been suspended by Churchill Downs after two of his horses suddenly died at the racetrack. As a result of the suspension, the stewards have scratched the 19 horse – Lord Miles. Saffie Joseph is appealing the suspension and claiming that the track is making him a scapegoat for several recent horse deaths at the track. Regardless, Lord Miles is a scratch.

There have been 3 other scratches of horses ahead of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. The 20 horse – Continuar was scratched by his trainer after poor training leading up to the race. The 10 horse – Practical Move and the 9 horse – Skinner have scratched due to running fevers. Both of these horses being two that I liked to factor in the race.

Late Thursday night, rumors began to circulate that two of Todd Pletcher’s horses, Forte and Kingsbarns were injured and would scratch on Friday morning. As of this writing, neither horse has scratched and Pletcher made a statement that would indicate that both horses are healthy and intend to run. Video has circulated of both horses working on the main track on Friday morning and neither appeared to have any issues.

With these scratches, all of the also eligibles have now drawn into the race. I already touched on Mandarin Hero in my initial article. This horse is live and I will be using him in exotics.

Cyclone Mischief – This horse has been beaten by other horses in this race in his last 3 starts, including to Forte in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby. Joel Rosario is listed as the jockey but Rosario is also scheduled to ride Disarm so we will have to see which horse he actually rides. Either way, I do not expect to use Cyclone Mischief.

King Russell – This horse hadn’t shown much of anything before a surprising 2nd place at the Arkansas Derby, although was still beaten badly by Angel of Empire who was running away. I think 50-1 is generous on the morning line. Pass for me.

Updated picks:

Even with the injury rumors, I still like Forte to win. At 3-1 or better, I will have a win bet on Forte.

15-14 exacta box
15-14-6 tri box
15-14-6-22 (Mandarin Hero) superfecta box

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