A Look at the Leading Horses, Jockeys, and Trainers in Kentucky Derby 2023


The Kentucky Derby is happening this May 6, 2023, and fans are excited to know which horse will win and embark on the journey toward earning the Triple Crown title.

Bettors, in particular, are now extensively studying the participating horses’ stats and the records of the jockeys and trainers in the race. If you find the task too demanding, we have compiled the information on Kentucky Derby’s leading horses, jockeys, and trainers, so you don’t have to.

Leading Horses

Twenty thoroughbreds will be competing in the Runs for the Roses. As early as now, few names are popular in multiple leaderboards generated by experts and bookies like Fanduel Derby 2023, among many others.


Forte has been topping many polls on Kentucky Derby’s prospective winners. This brown colt was an offspring of Violence and Queen Caroline. Forte has achieved many wins as a two-year-old thoroughbred, including the Grade I Hopeful Stakes, Breeders’ Futurity, and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

As a three-year-old, the colt won the Florida Derby, which earned him 100 qualifying points and a spot at the Run for the Roses.

Angel of Empire

In his two-year-old debut on August 9, 2022, Angel of Empire won the Horseshoe Indianapolis. His three-year-old debut at Smarty Jones was successful, finishing second in the said race. Moreover, it was a qualifying race for the Derby, where she secured four points.

He also competed in Grade 2 $400,000 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds and earned 50 qualifying points in the Derby. Last April 1, he conquered the Grade 1 $1.25 million Arkansas Derby, earning him another 100 qualifying points in the Derby.

Two Phil’s

This three-year-old colt has already won multiple stakes, including the 2022 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes (LS), 2023 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), and the 2022 Street Sense (G3). He is an offspring of Hardspun and Mia Torri. Two Phil’s earned 100 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby in $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks last March 25 at Turfway Park.

He can run in different types, whether dirt like the Churchill Downs or synthetic surfaces like the one in the Jeff RUby Stakes. This is his edge in the competition, making him one of the toughest horses in the Derby.

Leading Jockeys

Let’s now move on to the navigators of the race— the jockeys. Fans of the Derby know that the race only features the most promising, if not the most experienced, riders today. Let’s get to know them below!

Irad Ortiz Jr.

Ortiz is a Puerto Rican jockey from a family of riders. His brother Jose Ortiz, uncle Ivan Ortiz, and grandfather with the same name, Irad Ortiz, were all jockeys.

Last December, he broke the record of the late Hall of Famer Garrett Gomez with 76 single-season North American Stakes Victory and made his 77th stakes victory with Dr B in the $200,000 Gof for Wand at Aqueduct.

In 2022, he earned 80 stakes win ad broke the single-season earnings record with $37,075,772. He will be riding Forte in the Kentucky Derby this year.

Flavien Prat

Prat is a jockey who has competed in different races around the globe. He has jockeyed in Italy, Germany, France, and the US. His father was a trainer, which probably made him interested in riding horses. In the 2022-2023 season, Prat was awarded international recognition as a jockey of Flightline, who won six of his races with unbeatable margins. His last was the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, where he set the 21st century’s fastest record of any thoroughbred in North America. He will be atop Angel of Empire in the 2023 Run for the Roses.

Jareth Loveberry

Lovberry will mount Two Phil’s in the Derby. He won his first graded stakes at Arlington Stakes and became a leading jockey at Arlington Park, Chicago. To date, Loveberry has 1,753 career wins in 12,782 races and has made over $34 million.

Leading Trainers

Another crucial factor that influences the performance of the horses in the Derby is their trainers. To give you an idea of which trainers have the best reputation in the Derby, refer to our list below.

Todd Pletcher

Todd Pletcher has a degree in Animal Science and was a trainer’s son, making him suitable to pursue the same career. Starting with seven horses, Pletcher opened his own stable in 1995. He won the Eclipse Award’s Trainer of the Year six times. He has two Kentucky Derby champions, Super Saver and Always Dreaming, in 2010 and 2017, respectively.

Brad H. Cox

Cox trained many legendary horses like Monomoy Girl, Covfefe, Knicks Go, Mandaloun, and Essential Quality. But, he earned the 2020 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer when his four horses won the 2020 Breeder’s Cup. In the following year, he won the same award after Knicks Go won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Essential Quality’s win in the Belmont Stakes.

Larry Rivelli

Rivelli won his first graded stakes in Hawthorne Derby in 2008 with Strait of Mewsina. Other tough horses under Rivelli’s drilling are The Tabulator, Cocked and Loaded, and Jean Elizabeth. He is also the trainer of Two Phil’s, one of the leading horses in the Kentucky Derby.


Betting isn’t purely a game of chance. As a serious bettor, you must read experts’ reviews on horses, jockeys, and trainers. Additionally, refer to the latest news on the weather and injuries encountered by thoroughbreds and jockeys. This way, you will know which competing horses will most likely prevail and wear the garland of roses in the Derby.