Florida Derby Winner Forte Formally Listed As Kentucky Derby Favorite

Written By Steve Schult on May 1, 2023
Forte Kentucky Derby favorite

Horse bettors in the Sunshine State are familiar with the favorite for this year’s Kentucky Derby.

Forte, a three-year-old colt, staged an exciting comeback to win the 2023 Florida Derby. This year, the Kentucky-bred horse ran two races thus far, both at Gulfstream Park.

Florida horse racing enthusiasts likely saw both at the South Florida racetrack. Before he won the Florida Derby, Forte crossed the finished first in the 2023 Fountain of Youth.

The two races this year gave Forte seven career races. He won seven of them. In other words, Forte is the epitome of dominance.

As a result, most racebooks are listing Forte at 3-1 odds. He’s by far the favorite in the field. Florida bettors can use the FanDuel Racing app to place a wager from their homes.

Where Forte is in the post positions

The 2023 Kentucky Derby post positions were drawn on Monday afternoon. Forte is in the 15th spot, which means he’s closer to the outside of the pack than the inside rail.

He will line up with Angel of Empire on his left and Raise Cain on his right. Angel of Empire is among the other favorites in the field at 8-1.

Tapit Trice, another horse with Florida ties, is currently listed at 5-1. If it weren’t for Forte, Tapit Trice would be the favorite. However, Tapit Trice is closer to the inside, which could be a slight advantage for him.

Here’s a look at the complete draw for Saturday’s race:

  1. Hit Show (30-1)
  2. Verifying (15-1)
  3. Two Phil’s (12-1)
  4. Confidence Game (20-1)
  5. Tapit Trice (5-1)
  6. Kingsbarns (12-1)
  7. Reincarnate (50-1)
  8. Mage (15-1)
  9. Skinner (20-1)
  10. Practical Move (10-1)
  11. Disarm (30-1)
  12. Jace’s Road (15-1)
  13. Sun Thunder (50-1)
  14. Angel of Empire (8-1)
  15. Forte (3-1)
  16. Raise Cain (50-1)
  17. Derma Sotogake (10-1)
  18. Rocket Can (30-1)
  19. Lord Miles (30-1)
  20. Continuar (50-1)
  21. Cyclone Mischief (AE) (30-1)
  22. Mandarin Hero (AE) (22-1)
  23. King Russell (AE) (50-1)

Kentucky Derby conditions favor Forte

The Kentucky Derby is run every May in Louisville at Churchill Downs. The racetrack is a 1-1/4 mile oval with a dirt surface.

The Florida Derby is 1-1/8 mile with a dirt surface. It’s nearly identical to the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Furthermore, Forte ran all seven of his races on dirt surfaces. Beyond that, each one of his races got progressively longer.

First, he ran a five-furlong race at Belmont Park last May. Then, he stepped up to six and seven-furlong races in Saratoga before wrapping up 2022 with 1-1/16 mile races at Keeneland.

Moreover, as his races got longer, his Beyer Speed Figures increased. He tied a career-best 102 mark during his win at the Florida Derby.

Historically, Florida Derby winners perform well at Churchill Downs. While Forte may not win the race, it’s unlikely he won’t be in contention.

Photo by AP / Brynn Anderson
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Steve Schult

As Managing Editor of PlayFL, Steve will stay on top of all things related to the Florida gaming industry. He is also a veteran of the gambling world. The native New Yorker started covering high-stakes tournaments in 2009 for some of poker's most prominent media outlets before adding the broader U.S. gaming market to his beat in 2018.

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