Most Exciting Contenders For The 2023 Triple Crown Season

The new year brings with it new hope for horse racing fans, and all eyes will already be cast to the opening Triple Crown of 2023 at Churchill Downs as this year’s crop of the three-year-olds lines up in the Kentucky Derby. 

The opening Triple Crown is followed by the Preakness Stakes two weeks later before the Belmont Stakes will take place in early June. All connections will be dreaming of winning all three races, but no horse has achieved that feat since Justify in 2018. 

So, who are some of the most exciting contenders bidding for Triple Crown glory in 2023 according to the odds in every popular horse betting app?


Todd Pletcher will be looking for another win in the Kentucky Derby in 2023, and Forte looks set to be his most likely contender. The three-year-old enjoyed an excellent two-year-old campaign, which ended with Breeders’ Cup glory at Keeneland in the Juvenile. 

Forte has won four from five starts, with his only defeat coming in the G3 Sanford over six furlongs at Saratoga. 

This three-year-old looks like one that is set to improve over an extended distance, and we could be set to see him re-appear on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in the G2 Fountain of Youth in March. 

Arabian Knight

It could be argued that the best potential Kentucky Derby hope that we saw at the Breeders’ Cup didn’t even run in a graded race. Arabian Knight made his debut on track on the undercard to the Championship races, and he won by a sound seven lengths from Determinedly. 

That was a stunning display by the Derby hope, which achieved a speed rating of 105. Of course, there will need to be a change of yard if he is going to bid for Derby glory at Churchill Downs, as Bob Baffert remains banned from making entries at the track. But, without doubt, he could be the horse to follow in 2023. 

Extra Anejo

Steve Asmussen thought his long wait for Derby win was going to come to an end in 2022 with Epicenter. However, the leading contender was shocked at Churchill Downs by 80/1 outsider Rich Strike. But, he could hold another solid chance in 2023 with a $1.3 million purchase. 

Extra Anejo is sired by Into Mischief and he made a pleasing debut on the track in October. On that occasion, he stormed clear in the maiden special weight over seven furlongs to win in a very eye-catching fashion. It will be extremely interesting to see how the Asmussen runner fares when stepped up in grade in the early months of 2023. But, there is every sense that he could be one that may go toward the top of the betting at some stage before the Kentucky Derby. 

Victory Formation

Course form could be an essential factor to consider for the Kentucky Derby this year, and recent re-appeared Victory Formation does appear to be one going under the radar slightly. The runner from the Brad Cox yard won over six furlongs at Churchill Downs in November to land an allowance optional claimer with a speed figure of 95. That run was followed up with a renewed effort over a mile on his previous start on New Year’s Day, as he landed the Smarty Jones Stakes. 

That success over Angel of Empire was a solid outing, and it looks as though he could have more left in the tank. His Churchill Downs form is also playing out very well, as Lugan Knight finished third in that race before landing Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct from Arctic Arrogance in January. It will be fascinating to see how this contender performs when stepped up in trip once again in graded company next month.

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