Top pick: #5 (Tapit Trice) (5-1) - Four straight wins for this long-striding colt, the last two at 1 1/8 and 1 1/16-miles. A win at the 1 1/8 mile Blue Grass last month on dirt has primed this horse for the 1 1/4-Kentucky Derby. Tapit Trice doesn't get out of the gate fast, preferring patience to avoid logjams, but is a powerful late runner. At the Blue Grass, he went from eighth to fourth in just 40 yards with a Beyer speed number of 99. All of that works in the horse's favor in this crowded field.
2nd pick: #14 (Angel of Empire) (8-1) - The stock is rising on this 3-year old colt winning three of four races with one second-place finish. Angel of Empire impressed last month at the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby winning by 4 1/4 lengths. Previously, Angel of Empire won the 1 1/8-mile Risen Star topping third-place Two Phil's, who is also in the Kentucky Derby. Angel of Empire has experience triumphing in a field of 20 and trainer Brad Cox said, "The older he's getting, the better he's getting."
3rd pick: #15 (Forte) (3-1) - Forte has won five in a row, all on dirt, with the last four at 1 1/16-miles or more. He was the favorite the last time out, winning the Grade 1 Florida Derby, though he needed a late surge winning by one-length over 10-to-1 Mage. Forte had the No. 11 slot in the 12-horse race, but the field is far more packed for the Kentucky Derby. Over the last 22 years, six horses have won the Florida Derby then went on to win the Kentucky Derby. Forte has great speed and will be in it much of the way but, despite the odds, is not a sure-thing to be wearing roses.
4th pick: #3 (Two Phil's) (12-1) - This horse's 101 Beyer Speed Figure is the second-fastest among three-year-olds. In the last four races, Two Phil's has finished third and second, along with a pair of victories at the 2022 Street Sense and the 2023 Jeff Ruby Stakes in March. At the Jeff Ruby Stakes, Two Phil's topped Derby hopeful Major Dude, the favorite, by five and a quarter lengths. He also hit the highest speed number in his last race of all the horses in the entire current Kentucky Derby lineup.