2023 Kentucky Derby Prep Race Recap: Louisiana Derby and Kingsbarns

Kentucky Derby prep race recap of the 2023 Louisiana Derby and winner Kingsbarns.
Kentucky Derby prep race recap of the 2023 Louisiana Derby and winner Kingsbarns. / Alexander Barkoff / Associated Press

The Championship Series races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby featured eight major prep races that awarded 100 points to the winner and a spot in the starting gate for the May 6 Kentucky Derby.

The super slow pace of the Louisiana Derby on March 25 was won by Kingsbarns (9/2) over upcoming Kentucky Derby runners Disarm and Jace's Road. It was Kingsbarns' stakes debut, and he's now 3-for-3 entering the Kentucky Derby will all wins as a 3-year-old. Kingsbarns won the Louisiana Derby with jockey Flavien Prat riding, but Prat will ride Risen Star Stakes and Arkansas Derby winner Angel of Empire in the Kentucky Derby.

Two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher has not yet named a jockey to ride Kingsbarns in the Run for the Roses. But Jose Ortiz is the leading candidate and was aboard him for his recent morning work at Churchill Downs. From seven mounts in the Kentucky Derby, Jose Ortiz has finished sixth or better on five occasions with a pair of in-the-money finishes on Good Magic (2018) and Tacitus (2019). Last year, Ortiz finished fourth aboard 35/1 longshot Simplification.

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Kinsbarns Kentucky Derby Contender

Kingsbarns is a pace presser who should be a factor at mid-stretch in the Derby. Can he hold off leading favorites ForteTapit Trice and Practical Move in the 2023 Kentucky Derby and capture the roses?

According to FanDuel Racing odds, the top-2 finishers in the 1 3/16 mile Louisiana Derby posted the fastest final 3/8 mile times of any horses in their final Kentucky Derby prep race. Kingsbarns was the fastest coming home in 36.51 seconds with a winning time of 1:57.33.

Nine of the last 11 Kentucky Derby winners and 19 of the last 25 finished the final three furlongs of their final prep race in less than 38 seconds.

The race known as the Louisiana Derby has been run since 1894 at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Two winners of the Louisiana Derby have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby with Grindstone (1996) the only winner over the past 99 years. The 1988 winner Risen Star went on to become a "Dual Classic Winner" by winning the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Six-time Grade 1 winner Gun Runner won the 2016 Louisiana Derby and finished third in the Kentucky Derby.

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