Kentucky Derby 2023 Betting: Three Longshots Worth Your Money
With a full field of 20 set to compete in the 149th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, bettors will have no shortage of horse race betting longshots to consider.
Few considered Rich Strike a serious contender last year, yet the largest price in the field pulled off one of the most shocking upsets in Derby history. One potential storyline this year is bettors won’t get anything close to 80-1 on any long shot this time around due to Rich Strike’s performance in 2022.
That remains to be seen. Regardless, given the size of the field, betting value won’t be hard to find in the opening jewel of the 2023 Triple Crown.
Here are three long shots to consider in Saturday’s Run for the Roses, all of which are 12-1 or higher on the morning line:
Verifying (15-1 morning line)
Verifying ran in two Derby prep races this year and didn’t win either. That doesn’t mean he should be dismissed.
Take a closer look at those two races. In the Rebel Stakes in February, Verifying was close to a fast early pace in which late closers swept the first three places. Verifying hung around for fourth, the only horse near the early pace who was still running late.
In his most recent start in the Blue Grass Stakes, Verifying took the lead in deep stretch, but was outfinished in the final strides by Tapit Trice, who surged past to win by a neck. It was nearly six lengths back to the third-place finisher. Tapit Trice is the second choice on the Derby morning line at 5-1. Verifying is 15-1, a far better value.
A case can be made that the Derby’s extra furlong favors Tapit Trice over Verifying. But an equally compelling case can be made that Verifying will have a more advantageous, ground-saving trip. Verifying is far more tactical, should be forwardly placed and able to avoid traffic issues if he breaks alertly. That’s a running style that has produced more than its share of Kentucky Derby winners.
Two Phil’s (12-1 morning line)
Two Phil’s posted the fastest speed figure of any horse in a Kentucky Derby prep. That alone makes him worth a serious look at double-digit odds.
The 101 Beyer speed figure was earned in the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park, which has a synthetic surface, unlike the dirt track at Churchill Downs. Perhaps synthetic is Two Phil’s preferred surface, but he also has run more than credibly on dirt.
In three-grade stakes on dirt tracks prior to the Jeff Ruby, Two Phil’s has a win, a second and a third. The victory was in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs, making him one of the few horses in the field to have a win over the track.
While not as tactical at Verifying, Two Phil’s should find a position in the first half of the field around the first turn. It’s not hard to envision him saving ground most of the way, making his move around the final turn and then trying to hold off the closers.
Skinner (20-1 morning line)
With one victory in six career starts, Skinner is not exactly a win machine. But he has a few factors in his favor, including generous morning-line odds of 20-1.
Skinner is moving in the right direction — he showed improvement in each of his last three races. He was third in his two Southern California preps, first finishing 3 3/4 lengths behind Practical Move in the San Felipe, then only a half-length behind him in the Santa Anita Derby. Skinner’s speed figures are only slightly below the best in the Derby field. Another step forward makes him a serious contender to hit the board.
Like Rich Strike last year, Skinner needed help to make the Derby field. A catastrophic training injury to Wild On Ice last week allowed Skinner to move up from 21 to 20 on the points leaderboard. Trained by John Shirreffs, Skinner is a late-running colt with a similar profile to a previous Shirreffs-trained Kentucky Derby winner. In 2005, long shot Giacomo rallied in deep stretch to win the Roses after running fourth in the Santa Anita Derby.
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