Most Underrated Kentucky Derby 2023 Sleepers

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The 2023 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for May 6 on the first Saturday of the month. This year’s field features several notable contenders, including Forte and Tapit Trice. However, is there an underdog that could surprise everyone? You never know what could happen.

Last year was a reminder to pay attention to the Kentucky Derby sleepers. Rich Strike, a late entry, won the race against improbable odds. This edition could bring us another unlikely winner, so I review the best 2023 Kentucky Derby sleepers in this post.

If you’re more interested in a mainstream preview focused on the favorites, check out my main Kentucky Derby 2023 predictions article.

Derma Sotogake

  • Odds to Win: +1000
  • Age: 2
  • Trainer: Hidetaka Otonashi

Derma Sotogake is the most underrated horse competing at the 2023 Kentucky Derby. He’s got an impressive record that includes four victories in his past five races. Derma Sotogake also won the Grade 2 UAE Derby back in March with the fastest time in five years.

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Only two horses bred in Japan have competed in the Kentucky Derby. They include Master Fencer (6th in 2019) and Crown Pride (13th in 2022). The number will increase in 2023 because Derma Sotogake is among two Japanese competitors this year (Continuar is the other).

In terms of preparation, Derma Sotogake has shown positive signs. He’s already recorded his first practice at Churchill Downs, which went smoothly. Keep in mind that workouts for every horse are starting to pick up.

Unfortunately, no horse that’s competed in the UAE Derby has gone on to claim the Kentucky Derby. The best finish by a horse coming out of that was from Master of Hounds, who finished fifth in 2011.

Derma Sotogake is still a fascinating choice. The two-year-old colt has shown improvement since winning the Maiden race at Chuckyo in 2022. Overall, the numbers suggest that Derma Sotogake could pull off the upset.

Lord Miles

  • Odds to Win: +5000
  • Age: 3
  • Trainer: Saffie Joseph, Jr.

Here’s another one of my favorite sleepers for the Kentucky Derby in 2023. Lord Miles delivered an incredible finish in the Grade 2 race at the Wood Memorial. It was his first victory in months, and he completed one of the largest upsets in the qualifying circuit.

Lord Miles’ victory at the Aqueduct Race Track was much-needed, to say the least. After finishing out of the money in three stakes races, things were looking bleak. However, trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. was always confident his horse would get back on track.

Preparation for the Kentucky Derby will ultimately make or break Lord Miles. Winning won’t be impossible if he gets off to a strong start as he did in the Wood Memorial. Lord Miles has also proven that he can rally and maintain his stamina.

The momentum is certainly favoring Lord Miles at the moment. He currently sits in sixth place on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. His victory in the Wood Memorial was amazing, but will he be ready for Churchill Downs? Overall, the three-year-old colt is improving rapidly, and the odds of +5000 make it a solid choice for a small wager.


  • Odds to Win: +1200
  • Age: 3
  • Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Bettors should also be paying attention to Kingsbarns. This horse has gained a lot of favorability leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Kingsbarns has won every race in which he’s competed, which includes the 2023 Louisiana Derby.

I’m honestly surprised that Kingsbarns is receiving so long odds to win at Churchill Downs. He’s looked impressive in all three races that he’s won. Kingsbarns often finishes strong while maintaining his stamina from beginning to end.

Kingsbarns deserves the recognition of a front-runner in the race. Although he’s only run three times in his career, he should be in peak form entering the Kentucky Derby. The odds of +1200 are higher than the horse deserves with his performances.


  • Odds to Win: +4000
  • Age: 3
  • Trainer: Tim Yakteen

Consistency has been a point of emphasis for Reincarnate over the past year, and the three-year-old colt has also pulled off some incredible victories. This includes a blistering finish at the Sham Stakes, where he survived a duel against Newgate.

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Reincarnate has delivered a pair of third-place performances since his last victory. He was in a position to win the Arkansas Derby but was overtaken in the final stretch. A slow start in the Rebel Stakes would also net Reincarnate a finish outside the winner’s circle.

Learning a lesson in adversity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Ultimately, Reincarnate is a battle-tested horse and among the most underrated 2023 Kentucky Derby sleepers. He’s also never finished outside the podium in his career and always races with a ton of energy.

Two Phil’s

  • Odds to Win: +2500
  • Age: 3
  • Trainer: Larry Rivelli

I also believe that Two Phil’s is among the top Kentucky Derby sleepers for 2023. His recent victory at the Jeff Ruby Steaks was massive. It earned him a 101 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest among any horse in the Kentucky Derby field.

The Jeff Ruby Steaks features a Tapeta surface, which isn’t true dirt. However, Two Phil’s also won the Grade 3 Street Sense Stakes last year, which takes place at Churchill Downs. He’s improved overall and sits in fifth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.

If Two Phil’s can emulate his performance from Jeff Ruby, he could easily win at Churchill Downs. He won at Turfway Park by five and one-quarter lengths, which is seriously impressive.

I’m not sure why the odds for this sleeper are +2500 at BetOnline, while other leading horse racing betting sites offer +1500. The second price is more accurate, so a small bet makes a lot of sense.