Kentucky Derby Field Size

Kentucky Derby Field Size

By US Racing Team

As much as the Kentucky Derby has stayed the same and replicated decades worth of traditions, perhaps the biggest change overall may be the actual field size, or actual numbers of runners who will be trying to make the gate on the first Saturday in May.

The Kentucky Derby field has been limited to 20 starters since 1975, the year after 23 horses contested the 100th anniversary of the Derby. Until 2022, at least 20 horses were entered the race every year since 2004, and in 21 of the last 23 years. Overall, there has been a field of 20 horses on 21 occasions, the first happening in 1923 when 21 horses went to the post, and there has been at least 16 starters in 22 of the last 23`1`1 years. There were 15 runners in 2020.

Largest Field: 23 in 1974 (100th running)

Smallest Field: 3 in 1892 and 1905

Total Starters: 1,938 from 1875 through 2020

Avg. Field Size: 13.3 from 1875 through 2019

Fields of 20 or More: 21

Fields of 15 or More: 71

Fields of 14 or Less: 78

Churchill Downs reintroduced the also-eligible rule in 2012. Up to 24 horses may be entered in the race on Wednesday of Derby Week, including four horses that can remain eligible to compete beyond the official time of entry. One or more of the “also eligible” horses could be allowed to run in their respective race if members of the original field scratch from the race prior to the official “scratch time” of 9 a.m. ET on Friday (Kentucky Oaks Day), which is the official opening of advance wagering on the  Kentucky Derby. Last year, Rich Strike drew in from the also-eligible list and won.

Horses with the highest point totals in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” races would “draw -in” to the field first. The same rules apply for the Kentucky Oaks, which has a maximum field size of 14. An eight-horse also-eligible list was instituted in 1983 and 1984, but advance wagering on the Kentucky Derby was negated because of refunds after late scratches. Although the 20-horse limit for the Kentucky Derby has been in existence since 1975, 21 horses were permitted to contest the 1981 Derby due to a “legal issue.”

Kentucky Derby 2023 Odds

PP Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Odds
1 Hit Show Franco Brad H. Cox West, Gary and Mary 30-1
2 Verifying Gaffalione Brad H. Cox Poulin, Jonathan, Westerberg, Magnier, Mrs. John, Smith, Derrick and Tabor, Michael B. 15-1
3 Two Phil’s Loveberry Larry Rivelli Patricia’s Hope LLC and Sagan, Phillip 12-1
4 Conficence Game Graham J. Keith Desormeaux Don’t Tell My Wife Stables 20-1
5 Tapit Trice Saez Todd A. Pletcher Whisper Hill Farm, LLC and Gainesway Stable (Antony Beck) 5-1
6 Kinkngbarns J. Ortiz Todd A. Pletcher Spendthrift Farm LLC 12-1
7 Reincartnate Velazquez Tim Yakteen SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Masterson, Robert E., Stonestreet Stables LLC, Schoenfarber, Jay A., Waves Edge Capital LLC and Donovan, Catherine 50-1
8 Mage Castellano Gustavo Delgado OGMA Investments, LLC, Restrepo, Ramiro, Sterling Racing LLC and CMNWLTH 15-1
SCR Skinner Hernandez John A. Shirreffs C R K Stable 20-1
SCR Practical Move Vazquez Tim Yakteen Amestoy, Jr., Pierre Jean, Amestoy, Leslie A. and Beasley, Roger K. SCR
9 Disarm Rosario Steven M. Asmussen Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC 30/1
10 Jace’s Road Geroux Brad H. Cox West Point Thoroughbreds and Albaugh Family Stables LLC 15-1
11 Sun Thunder Hernandez Jr Kenneth G. McPeek R.T Racing Stable and Cypress Creek Equine 30-1
12 Angel Of Empire Prat Brad H. Cox Albaugh Family Stables LLC 8-1
13 Forte I. Ortiz JR. Todd A. Pletcher Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable 3-1
14 Raise Can Corrales Ben Colebrook Warren, Andrew and Warren, Rania 15-1
15 Derma Sotogake Lemaire Hidetaka Otonashi Hiroyuki Asanuma 10-1
16 Rocket Can Alvarado William I. Mott Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, Inc. 15-1
SCR Lord Miles Lopez Todd A. Pletcher Vegso Racing Stable 30-1
17 Continuar Sakai Yoshito Yahagi Lion Race Horse Co. Ltd. 50-1
18 Cyclone Mischief J. Rosario D. Romans Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Castleton Lyons. 30-1
19 Mandarin Hero Kazushi Kimura Terunobu Fujita Hiroaki Arai. 20-1
20 King Russell Rafael Bejarano Ron Moquett Hiroaki Arai. 50-1
Posted on