2023 Kentucky Derby by the numbers

May 6th, 2023

Todd Pletcher pupil Forte will attempt to become just the third Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner to claim the Kentucky Derby (G1) when the three-year-old colt faces a field of 19 other sophomores in the 149th Run for the Roses.

While the champion two-year-old has been formidable along the Kentucky Derby trail, scoring victories in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) this season, he’s not the only win contender from Pletcher’s barn.

Below we look ahead to the latest edition of the Run for the Roses with these fast facts and figures related to the 2023 Kentucky Derby field, along with the history of the most exciting two minutes in sports.


The number of horses that have won when breaking from post 17 in the Kentucky Derby. In the race's history, horses running from gate 17 own a 43-0-1-2 record, with Forty Niner (second, 1988) the most recent runner to finish in the money.


The number of unbeaten horses in the 2023 Kentucky Derby field. One of Forte's stablemates, Kingsbarns, is a lightly raced Uncle Mo colt with a 3-3-0-0 record. The three-year-old won on debut Jan. 14 in a maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park, but Kentucky Derby history does not favor sophomores who did not race at age 2. In the 149-year history of the event, Apollo (1882) and Justify (2018) are the only horses to win the Derby after making their first career start at age 3.

1 1/4

The distance of the Kentucky Derby, a 1 1/4-mile dirt race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds.


The number of Derby entrants sired by first-crop sire Good Magic, who finished 2022 as the second-leading freshman sire of the year behind Bolt d'Oro. The champion two-year-old of 2017 sired both Sham (G3) hero #7 Reincarnate (50-1 morning line odds) and Florida Derby second-place finisher #8 Mage (15-1).


The number of horses in the 2023 field conditioned by 2019 Kentucky Derby winner Brad Cox. Among his contingent are #1 Hit Show (30-1), #2 Verifying (15-1), #12 Jace's Road (50-1), and #14 Angel of Empire (8-1).


The number of consecutive graded stakes Forte has won ahead of his Kentucky Derby start. Since his fourth-place finish in the Sanford (G3) in July 2022, the son of Violence has won five straight graded stakes, including the Hopeful (G1), Breeders' Futurity (G1), Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Fountain of Youth, and the Florida Derby.


The number of post-time favorites who have won the Derby since 2013, the year the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system was introduced. Since then, the post-time favorite has won six straight races, from Orb in 2013 to Justify in 2018. In 2019, Improbable finished fourth as the 4-1 favorite. In 2020, Tiz the Law was bested by Authentic and landed in second place as the 0.70-1 favorite; in 2021, Essential Quality finished third as the 2.90-1 favorite; and in 2022, Epicenter, at 4.10-1, placed second to 80-1 longshot Rich Strike.


The post time for the 2023 Kentucky Derby is 6:57 p.m. ET. NBC will begin live race-day coverage at noon ET on Saturday, May 6.


The total number of bay-colored colts in the main 20-horse field. More bay horses (56) have won the Derby than any other color. There are four gray/roan horses in the 2023 field, plus also-eligible King Russell, as well as five chestnuts. Confidence Game and Forte boast a dark bay or brown coat color, along with also-eligible Mandarin Hero.

The number of Derby victories by coat color are as follows:

  • Bay: 56
  • Chestnut: 49
  • Brown: 17
  • Dark Bay/Brown: 11
  • Gray/Roan: 8
  • Black: 4
  • Dark Bay: 3


Thirteen Kentucky Derby-winning horses have a name starting with a "C," tied with "B" for the second-most Derby victories. This year, Confidence Game and Continuar plus also-eligible Cyclone Mischief represent the runners whose names start with a "C." Verifying and Kingsbarns will become the 37th starters whose names start with the letter "V" and "K," respectively. Only two horses starting with the letter "V" and two with the letter "K" have won the Derby.


According to the forecast at Weather.com, the high temperature for race day will be 74 degrees Fahrenheit, with a 24% chance of rain. On May 2, 1959, the Derby experienced a record high temperature of 94 degrees. The Derby reached a record low temperature of 36 degrees Fahrenheit on May 4, 1940 and May 4, 1957. 


The number of 2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points earned by Forte, the leader in the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings. Practical Move finished second along the Derby trail with 160 points, followed by Angel of Empire (154) and Tapit Trice (150).