Al Bernstein

Mage’s Derby win sets up potential for more magic at 2023 Preakness Stakes


It’s Triple Crown season, and the horses we are dealing with are three-year-olds. With this group of thoroughbred racehorses, sometimes promise leads to greatness, and sometimes it leads to disappointment and a failure to move forward in their growth. We entered Kentucky Derby week feeling that Forte was a deserving favorite who would deliver his usual solid performance. Instead, he didn’t even make it to the starting gate, as Kentucky state veterinarians felt that a bruise to his right front hoof was serious enough to order him scratched.

Then, there was the pace issue, with so many experts saying there was no speed in the race. Instead, we got a sub-46 second half mile that set the race up for closers and cooked most of those who were on the pace. How about the disappointment factor? Some of the perceived best horses in the race simply did not move forward. To name a few of them, Tapit Trice, Derma Sotogake and Verifying were all beaten by eight lengths or more.

Who was left to deliver a strong performance? How about Mage, who was an X-factor horse in the race – He entered the Kentucky Derby with only three starts in his career, and his final prep in the Florida Derby was a second-place finish to Forte where he only lost by one length. That race was a big improvement over his second start in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, where Forte beat him by nearly seven lengths. Also, he had shown progressively better speed figures in those three starts, a pattern which indicated that improvement was a strong possibility in Louisville. He ran a great race under the guidance of veteran jockey Javier Castellano, and he was a deserving winner. Praise should also go out to the second-place finisher, Two Phil’s, who was the only horse from the front of the pack who remained to be a factor at the wire. I was among many handicappers who dismissed his win in the Jeff Ruby Steaks because they doubted the quality of the field and the fact that the race was run on a synthetic surface. He proved himself to be a solid runner who will earn a good deal of money under the guidance of trainer Larry Rivelli.

RELATED: Mage leads 2023 Preakness Stakes odds as post positions are announced

Before moving on to the Preakness, it is necessary to acknowledge and discuss the equine fatalities that happened at Churchill Downs leading up to and including Kentucky Derby day. Since that day, casual fans and non-fans have approached me, and the first question they ask is about those fatalities. This is a discussion that should be broken into two parts. The first part is the deaths of two horses trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr., both of whom died suddenly and inexplicably, either within a race or just after it. Kentucky officials suspended the trainer from running horses at Churchill until results of a necropsy on those horses became available. This was done citing caution — if there was a condition within that barn, or in the feed for the horses that led to these deaths, it was safer to not have his horses run there as the facts are awaited. The decision led also led to the scratch from the Derby of Joseph’s Wood Memorial winner, Lord Miles.

The other fatalities were the result of injuries that occurred either during racing or training. Churchill Downs is generally known for having properly groomed racing surfaces, but they are further investigating whether track conditions were a factor. Finally, there is the overall issue of safety in the sport. On a national basis, equine fatalities are down significantly. Santa Anita, as an example, has gone from a track which had a string of incidents a few years back to the most statistically safe major track in the country. As recent weeks have reminded us, there is much work still to be done to minimize the inherent risks of a sport where horses move at almost 40 mph while being ridden by a human being, but we should also recognize major strides forward that have been made in equine medicine and equine safety. No equine deaths are like the mathematical universe that will never be fully achieved, but the sport is moving forward with the best of intentions and implementing changes that have helped. This is a tough period for racing, and time and investigations will hopefully provide answers to the unfortunate circumstances of the past couple of weeks at Churchill Downs.

Key Storylines for 2023 Preakness Stakes

Discussion of the Preakness Stakes must begin with Mage, the Kentucky Derby winner. He was simply the best horse in Louisville, enduring a wide but winning move. Given the fact that Two Phil’s and Angel of Empire, who finished second and third in the Derby, are not moving on to Baltimore, it can be said that Mage holds a significant speed figure advantage over the rest of the Preakness field. He is a horse that has shown his best running from off the pace, but under the deft handling of Hall of Fame jockey Castellano and the experienced management of trainer Gustavo Delgado, he should be adaptable in a smaller field this time around. It will take a significant step forward for others in the Preakness field to challenge Mage if he continues his pattern of improvement from race to race.

RELATED: How to watch the 2023 Preakness Stakes

The likely second choice in the Preakness is the Brad Cox-trained First Mission. His last start was a winning one in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. Similar to Mage, he is lightly raced, as the Lexington was only his third career start, so he has a license to improve. That said, he had a golden trip in the Lexington, sitting behind a slow pace and powering by the front runners in the final furlong.

Bob Baffert has won the Preakness seven times, and he will enter National Treasure in the race. A highly regarded two-year-old who finished third last year in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he has disappointed and not shown significant improvement since then. The Santa Anita Derby was his last start, and he finished fourth, beaten by nearly three lengths. The Baffert name will draw attention to him, but at this point in time, I don’t feel he matches up to Mage.

There are two other really interesting candidates in the Preakness Stakes in the form of Blazing Sevens and Perform. Blazing Sevens, like National Treasure, has followed up a solid year as a two-year-old with minimal improvement since he turned three. He was third to Tapit Trice last time out in the Blue Grass Stakes, but he was beaten by six lengths. Trainer Chad Brown felt that he didn’t have him as ready as he would’ve liked for the Kentucky Derby, so he waited for this race. Both Preakness wins by Chad Brown (Cloud Computing in 2017 and Early Voting in 2022) came with horses that made their Triple Crown debut in the Preakness, a pattern that he is repeating with Blazing Sevens. In the hands of a lesser trainer, I would give less attention to Blazing Sevens, but Brown, the four-time Eclipse Award winner, is handling this horse in a way that has twice led to Preakness victories. Blazing Sevens has to be given a credible chance in the Preakness.

RELATED: Mage’s Kentucky Derby win: A salve for horse racing’s wounds

Finally, in my world, there are few trainers that I respect more than Hall-of-Famer Shug McGaughey. He is entering the Preakness with Perform, a son of 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic. This is an unusual entry, as the horse was not originally nominated for the Triple Crown, and his owners had to pay a supplementary entry fee of $150,000. Clearly, they were inspired to pay this fee after his most recent race in the Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel, a race whose winner gets an automatic invite to the Preakness. Perform may not have speed figures to compare with the top horses here, but his win in the Tesio was a wild ride. Jockey Feargal Lynch had to overcome so much trouble in that trip that it seemed he was steering Perform like a Formula One race car. Despite a stumble at the start and being repeatedly blocked, Lynch managed to weave through the pack with Perform and get up to win by a head at the wire. Again, I don’t know if Perform is fast enough to win here, but he showed toughness that is necessary in Triple Crown races. He’ll have to run the best race of his life, but he’s already proven that he can handle adversity.

This Preakness may not have the unpredictable elements of an 18-horse field in the Kentucky Derby, but it’s shaping up as quite a horse race. Mage will be a deserving favorite, and if he wins, he’ll have a legitimate shot at the Triple Crown. On the other hand, while the win in Louisville was impressive, there are several players in this field who enter with a legitimate chance to win. Once again, these are three-year-olds, and race-to-race improvement, in steps big and small, can happen when they step on the track. That is the unknown factor that often leads to upsets in the Triple Crown races.

How to watch the 2023 Preakness Stakes

  • Date: Saturday, May 20th
  • Time: Coverage begins at 1pm ET
  • TV Network: Coverage begins at 1pm ET on CNBC before moving to NBC at 4:30pm ET
  • Streaming: Peacock,, the NBC Sports app
  • Additional weekend racing: Coverage of the Black Eyed Susan airs Friday at 4:30pm ET on Peacock

Kentucky Derby 2023 Storylines: Forte, Todd Pletcher, the search for a longshot and more

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In 1939, Winston Churchill referred to the Soviet Union and its motivations as “A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. The same type of phrase can be used each year to describe the complexity of the Kentucky Derby and its many story lines.  So, for those who haven’t looked closely yet at this year’s race, a good starting point might be to summarize some of the key story lines.

1. Todd Pletcher’s three horses

The biggest money-winning trainer in the history of North American racing does not have great percentages in America’s greatest race. From a record 62 entries, he has won twice, finished second twice, and been third four times. It should be noted, however, that many of these horses were longshots that didn’t have much of a chance, and the shortest-priced horse Pletcher has ever entered was his 2017 winner, Always Dreaming, who was a lukewarm favorite at $4.70-to-1.

This year is not a typical year for Pletcher horses in the Kentucky Derby. The leader of his brigade is Forte (#15, ML Odds: 3-1), who is virtually certain to be the favorite, with odds of around 5-2 or 3-1. He’s earned his status, with wins in six of seven races, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Florida Derby. He’s far from a certainty to win, but he is clearly the most accomplished horse in the field, and he overcame a difficult trip to win the Florida Derby. After that race, his multiple-Eclipse Award winning jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., said: “He just keeps coming. I mean it’s his heart. He just likes to win.” That effort is looked on with admiration by some in terms of how he overcame a wide trip from an outside post, but those who look at speed figures do not consider Forte to be unbeatable. They note that he had a higher figure in his final two-year-old race (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile) than he did in both of his winning efforts this year.

RELATED: Handicapping the 2023 Kentucky Derby

A likely second choice in the race is Tapit Trice (#5, ML Odds: 5-1), a $1.3 million yearling purchase who is the most fascinating horse in the race. The big grey with the outstanding pedigree is a horse who takes a while to get going but is running fastest of all in the stretch. He overcame a moderate pace to win the Blue Grass Stakes in a tough stretch battle with Verifying, but his truly breathtaking effort was in the Tampa Bay Derby. In that race, he was in eighth place in the middle of the stretch, about five lengths off the lead. Then, he inhaled the field in the final furlong, going on to win by two lengths. His pedigree and his running style say that the extra distance of the Kentucky Derby is made to order for him, but he will need a fast pace to close into, or he may get shuffled back too far to make up the deficit.

Consider this:  Pletcher’s third-string horse in the race is the only undefeated horse in this year’s Kentucky Derby! Kingsbarns (#6, ML Odds: 12-1) is three for three, but no one seems to know how good he really is. His Louisiana Derby win was achieved on the front end because it was one of those races where no one really seemed to want the lead, and jockey Flavien Prat took the initiative and scored from wire-to-wire. However, Kingsbarns seems to be better suited for a stalking trip, and that’s the trip he’s most likely to get in Louisville. Improvement is the key here, as his figures have gotten better with each race, but he will have to run significantly faster than he did in the Louisiana Derby to get the job done.

2. The Brad Cox factor

The Louisville native has taken the industry by storm, averaging over $21 million in purse earnings in the past 5 years. In that span, he has attracted some of the top owners in the industry, and he has clearly produced results for them. He will have four horses in the gate, two of whom are regarded as strong contenders, and two who will be longer prices.

Most notable is Angel of Empire (#14, ML Odds: 8-1), whose win in the Arkansas Derby was considered by many to be the most impressive performance in this year’s Kentucky Derby prep races. He overtook the field with an impressive turn of foot in that race, and his mid-pack running style should work in his favor. Pedigree-wise, his sire (Classic Empire) was fourth in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, and his grand-sire (Pioneerof the Nile) was second in the 2009 edition. He’s shown improvement in each successive race, and if that pattern continues, he should be a major factor in the stretch.

RELATED: Kentucky Derby 2023 post positions

Also held in high regard from the Cox contingent is Verifying (#2, ML Odds: 15-1), the horse who was a dynamic second to Tapit Trice in the Blue Grass Stakes. A $775,000 yearling purchase, this son of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify seems to be maturing at just the right time. His efforts as a 2-year-old were spotty, including a sixth-place finish to Forte in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but he seems to have gained maturity. If he moves forward after his race in the Blue Grass, he could be a winner at a reasonable price on the board.

Another Cox horse who seems to be maturing at the right time is Hit Show (#1, ML Odds: 30-1), who was second by a nose in the Wood Memorial. He has posted improving speed figures in each successive race, but he’s never faced a field like he will face in Louisville. I would not be surprised if he ran well and finished in the top four in the Kentucky Derby.

Finally, Cox has the longshot Jace’s Road (#12, ML Odds: 15-1). He seems overmatched here, but he will be a factor in the early going. If there’s not a fast pace, he could have the ability to stick around in the final stages of the race. He shows four efforts on a fast track, and each time he has finished no worse than third.

RELATED: How to watch the Kentucky Derby 2023

3. What to make of the horses from Japan?

In recent years, Japanese horses have been successful at the Breeders’ Cup, Royal Ascot, and in the Middle East (Japanese horses won this year’s Dubai World Cup and Saudi Cup), and have made no secret of their desire to win the Kentucky Derby.

The key contender in this race is Derma Sotogake (#17, ML Odds: 10-1), whose best race to date was not in Japan, but in the UAE Derby in Dubai. Many experts view this as the fastest of all the Kentucky Derby prep races this year, and his ability to stay on or near the front end makes him dangerous in a race that shapes up with not a lot of speed horses.

The second Japanese runner is Continuar (#20, ML Odds: 50-1), from trainer Yoshito Yahagi, who won two races in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup. He has been beaten four times by Derma Sotogake, most recently losing by 10 lengths to him while finishing third in the UAE Derby. He seems to be overmatched here.

4. The Asmussen drought

This February, Steve Asmussen became the first North American trainer to post over 10,000 career wins. However, the Kentucky Derby has been a problem for him, as he has never won the race. His overall record is 24 starters, no wins, three seconds (including Epicenter in 2022), and two thirds.

This year, Asmussen presents Disarm (#11, ML Odds: 30-1), who has a pedigree that screams for the Derby distance, being by Gun Runner from a Tapit mare. He seems to be a closing sort who needs a fast pace, and he ran into slow to moderate fractions in each of his last two starts. If he shows improvement and gets a good pace to run into, Disarm could be a longshot to fill out someone’s superfecta ticket. If he wins, expect an emotional winner’s circle with the Asmussen family and friends.

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5. John Shirreffs repeats a pattern

When the John Shirreffs-trained Giacomo was the 50-1 winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby, he entered the race with one win in seven starts. His last two efforts before he went to Louisville were a fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby and a third-place finish in the San Felipe Stakes.

This year, he presents another late-closing horse in Skinner (#9, ML Odds: 20-1). Skinner enters with a record of one win in six starts. His most recent efforts were third place finishes in the Santa Anita Derby and the San Felipe Stakes.

Frankly, I don’t know what to make of the prep races that were run in California this year. Practical Move (#10, ML Odds: 10-1), who won the two prep races that Skinner was in, is a solid and consistent horse, but I don’t feel his usual race will make him a winner in Louisville. Skinner, however, fits the profile of a late-maturing closer who might relish the extra distance of the Kentucky Derby. I rate him ahead of Practical Move, but I don’t know if he’s as strong as some of the other top horses in the field.

6. Finding a “live” longshot

The most likely longshot to draw attention will be Mage (#8, ML Odds: 15-1), from the barn of the always dangerous trainer Gustavo Delgado. This horse finished second in the Florida Derby, defeated by Forte by one length. In the Kentucky Derby, Forte is the likely favorite, while the lightly-raced Mage will be around 15-1 or 20-1. Players looking for value will see Mage as a horse who is clearly worth spending on in their wagers.

The other horse I am considering in this category is likely to go off at a huge price, and his name is Raise Cain (#16, ML Odds: 50-1). If you are curious about him, I recommend viewing his last two races. In the Gotham Stakes, he came from far back on a sloppy track and blew away the field, winning by over seven lengths. In the Blue Grass Stakes, he faced major adversity and still was closing at the end to finish fifth.  The chart notes on his race read as follows: “Raise Cain brushed with an outer rival at the start, raced far back two wide, attempted a five wide gain outside of foes around the far turn, fanned to the seven path entering the lane, and moved up.” A lesser horse would not have had the class to continue forward, and I feel that this horse could be sitting on a big effort. His trainer, Ben Colebrook, is one of the rising trainers in the sport, and he has shown an ability to score with “under-the-radar” horses of this type.

RELATED: Kentucky Derby food 2023

7. Who can’t win the race?

The hardest part of betting a 20-horse field is eliminating half of them, at the least. In 2019, I tried to bet a $1 exacta box of 10 horses, which cost me $90. The last horse I eliminated from my bet was the 65-1 shot Country House, who ended up winning on the DQ of Maximum Security. It was a result that made a bundle of money for some friends of mine and left me kicking myself.  In alphabetical order, here are some of the horses who won’t be on my tickets:

Confidence Game (#4, ML Odds: 20-1), Continuar (#20, ML Odds: 50-1), Hit Show (#1, ML Odds: 30-1), Jace’s Road (#12, ML Odds: 15-1), Lord Miles (#19, ML Odds: 30-1), Reincarnate (#7, ML Odds: 50-1), Rocket Can (#18, ML Odds: 30-1), Sun Thunder (#13, ML Odds: 50-1), and Two Phil’s (#3, ML Odds: 12-1). How I will break down the puzzle from there will require further deliberation.

Finally, you might wonder who I think are the true top contenders? I begin with Forte, who the late, great Pete Axthelm would’ve referred to as a MOTO, which stands for “master of the obvious.” He is simply the most accomplished horse in the race and cannot be ignored on any ticket. Next is Tapit Trice, who might be the most talented horse here, but he needs the right pace scenario. Angel of Empire’s final prep race and the final prep race of Derma Sotogake were both outstanding, and I would not be surprised if either horse won. Of the remaining group, Verifying is maturing and has the style and pedigree to get the job done.

The Kentucky Derby is a race that is designed for us to bet more heavily than we usually do and have fun doing it. If your calculations give you a nice winner, throw a party for your friends. On the other hand, if you don’t cash a ticket, you are in good company, so move on and wait for the first Saturday in May of 2024.

How to Watch the 2023 Kentucky Derby

NBC is home to the 149th Kentucky Derby, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live on TV and streaming on, the NBC Sports app and Peacock before, during and after. The 2023 Kentucky Derby will air on May 6th from 12 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC, and will also be available for live stream on Peacock, and the NBC Sports app.

NBC will also broadcast the 2022 Kentucky Oaks, Preakness Stakes, and Breeders’ Cup.

Pace and value in odds are key factors in handicapping the Kentucky Derby


Outside the U.S., it is a pretty commonplace occurrence for a major race to have a huge field. Historically, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe had a record 30 horses go to the post in 1967, and the Grand National Steeplechase had a record 66 runners in the 1929 edition. It should be noted, however, that most European turf courses are quite wide and can handle a large field.

The tighter dirt oval of Churchill Downs is not as forgiving of crowding. For years, the U.S. did not have a starting gate capable of handling more than 14 horses, although that situation changed in 2020.  Prior to that point, Kentucky Derby fields of 20 horses required two side-by-side starting gates.  The 2020 race marked the debut of a 20-horse gate at Churchill Downs. It was a gate that was manufactured in Australia, where races with large fields are more commonplace.

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Whether they come from one gate or two, a field of 20 horses in America’s most important race leads to a proliferation of good and bad trips. As an example, Epicenter did everything right in last year’s race, but a great ground-saving trip by Rich Strike led to a huge upset at 80-1 odds. Joel Rosario on Epicenter placed his horse behind a fast pace, and when the speed horses ran out of gas, he emerged with the lead. Sonny Leon knew that Rich Strike was not speedy from the gate, so he relaxed his horse near the back of the field and worked his way toward the rail as they came into the stretch. It was a huge upset, made possible in part because Epicenter had to be “used” to sit behind a fast pace. When Rich Strike came up the rail, his momentum was so strong that Epicenter could not counter his charge. Good or bad trips can be a consequence of a great ride or a mistake by a jockey, and field size makes the task of working out a good trip in the Kentucky Derby into a difficult task.

On the importance of pace in the Kentucky Derby

How do we anticipate the pace of a race? Will the field be spread out, with a pace-setter or a few pacesetters making the task of the come-from-behind horses easier? Or will the field be bunched up, often making it difficult for a jockey to maneuver a clear path for their mount? I know of no greater expert on pace analysis than NBC’s own Randy Moss, whose pace figures are a standard of the industry.  First, I asked him about how this year’s race shapes up from a pace perspective. He said that Derma Sotogake’s race in the UAE Derby was the top wire-to-wire effort posted in a prep race, and he feels that the relative lack of pace among the other prospective runners makes him a top contender. He pointed out that although Kingsbarns won the Louisiana Derby in wire-to-wire fashion, it seemed like the others did not want to challenge him, and he got away with softer fractions.

RELATED: What to know about the 2023 Kentucky Derby

Next, I asked him how some Kentucky Derby races shape up on paper as devoid of speed, and then a speed duel might develop. Most times, he said, that is a factor of jockeys looking at the form and figuring that although their horse might not be a front-runner, they will try to “steal” the race on the front end. If three or four jockeys have the same idea, that could produce an unexpected hot pace.

What about Kentucky Derbies where the front-runners went too fast, and the race presented opportunity for an upset from a closer? Moss says there were several of these in recent years, including last year’s race, which had the fastest opening quarter mile in history and set things up for the late-closing upset of Rich Strike. Another notable example was 2001, when Monarchos came from over 15 lengths back to win by nearly 5 lengths. According to Moss, the race favorite, Point Given, who went on to win the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, may have been a victim of a miscalculation in Louisville. After he won the Santa Anita Derby running close to the pace, Moss feels that trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Gary Stevens may have kept him too close to a fast pace in the Kentucky Derby. He finished fifth, and then he went on to dominate in the next two legs of the Triple Crown. A few other Derby winners he says may have benefitted from a fast pace in recent years included Giacomo in 2005, Super Saver in 2010 and Orb in 2013.

Asked for a few examples of horses who benefitted from running near the front in a slower pace, he mentioned War Emblem in 2002, Authentic in 2020 and Medina Spirit in 2021. Moss says there is one notable example in recent years of a horse who, despite being on or near the pace in fast early fractions, went on to dominate the race, and that was 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify.

Finally, I asked Moss for fractional times that would indicate if the race is developing with a hot pace or not. He said that a quarter mile of 22.60 would be one such marker. A lower number would lean in the direction of a hot early pace, and a higher number would point in the other direction. He said that fraction is fast because the first quarter mile is a straightaway, where horses tend to run faster. His other marker numbers were 46.60 for a half mile and 1:10.60 for six furlongs.

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Other key factors in handicapping the Derby field

Pace, however, is only part of the equation when trying to figure out who will win the Kentucky Derby. For an expert opinion on how to handicap the race, I went to my good friend Ken Seeman. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should mention that I owned horses jointly with Ken for over 15 years, and we are close friends to this day. How good a handicapper is he? Let me start by mentioning that he just qualified for the National Horseplayers Championship for the 16th year in a row. There are about 800 entries to the event, and you must place near the top of a qualifying tournament to earn your way in, as you can’t purchase an entry. Six times in the previous 15 years, he has placed in the top 30. In 2023, he finished 28th, which was good for $17,000. In 2021, he finished 1st in Horse Tourneys “The Big One” event, and that is just the tip of the iceberg of his record of success in tournaments.

On the tournament circuit, Ken Seeman is known as a longshot specialist. He says that he looks for live longshots who show the ability, on their best day, to run comparable to the top choices in a race. Kenny says that in a 20-horse field, post position and trips matter more than in a smaller field. While he follows the prep races for the Kentucky Derby, he doesn’t try to handicap the Derby based solely on performances in the prep races. He waits until the week of the race, after posts are drawn, to seriously attempt to handicap the field and visualize how the race will be run.

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As far as I am concerned, Ken’s greatest strength is finding value on the odds board. He says that if you see a 3-1 shot as the best horse in a race, with a 10-1 shot as your close second choice, don’t let the favorite scare you. “A 3-1 shot can lose as easily as a 10-1 shot of comparable abilities,” he says, so he always goes for the value horse.  He explained this concept in relationship to this year’s Kentucky Derby.  “There’s no doubt that Forte is the most accomplished horse in the field, and the way he overcame adversity in the Florida Derby was a great lesson to learn going into Louisville,” Seeman told me. “I know how good he is, but if another horse in the race represents better value, I will try to beat Forte.”

Casual friends and people in his workplace will often ask Ken Seeman, “Who do you like in the Derby?”  He responds, “Are you asking me who will win, or who am I betting on?” There is no greater puzzle in American handicapping than trying to figure out the complexities of a 20-horse field in the Kentucky Derby. Just like most of us, Ken looks at speed figures and eliminates horses that aren’t fast enough to get the job done. What separates him from many others is the ability to show the restraint to objectively look at past performances, visualize how the race will be run, and look for value on the odds board. For many years, I’ve watched him work his magic and find logical reasons just beneath the surface that gave him long odds winners. I’ve never stopped learning from him, and I hope that his words of advice can help you come up with the winner of the 149th Kentucky Derby.

How to watch the 2023 Kentucky Derby

The 149th Kentucky Derby is on Saturday, May 6. Coverage is on NBC, Peacock, and the NBC Sports app at 12 p.m. ET and will run until 7:30 p.m. ET.