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It's been four years since a favorite won the Kentucky Derby and many expected that Forte might end the drought on Saturday in the 149th Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs. However, news came down the morning of the 2023 Kentucky Derby that Forte had been scratched because of a minor hoof injury and now horse racing handicappers are going back to the drawing board. Post time is scheduled for 6:57 p.m. ET and after a total of five scratches so far, there are expected to be a total of 18 horses in the Kentucky Derby 2023 field.

Tapit Trice and Angel of Empire are now the 9-2 co-favorite in the 2023 Kentucky Derby odds, while Derma Sotogake and Two Phil's are next on the board at 7-1. Kingsbarns is next at 9-1 with Reincarnate at 13-1 and Verifying, a son of Triple Crown winner Justify, priced at 16-1. Florida Derby runner-up Mage is at 17-1 along with Confidence Game. Every other horse is priced at 20-1 or longer. Before making any Kentucky Derby 2023 predictions, you'll want to see elite horse racing handicapper Jody Demling's 2023 Kentucky Derby picks and analysis.

A fixture in the horse racing world who has been writing about, talking about and betting on races for years, Demling enters the 2023 Kentucky Derby having nailed the winner of the Belmont Stakes four of the last five years, including an exacta in 2022 with Mo Donegal and Nest. He also nailed Flightline's win at the Breeders' Cup Classic last November.

Demling is at his best in the biggest horse races in the world like the Kentucky Derby 2023. In fact, he has hit 10 of the last 14 Derby-Oaks doubles at Churchill Downs. That means he held a ticket with the winners of both races all but four times in the last 14 years. He's also called nine of the last 18 Preakness winners, keenly understanding when the Kentucky Derby winner was poised for victory or a massive upset, and nailed the 2022 Preakness trifecta. Anyone who has followed him is up huge.

Now, Demling has handicapped the 2023 Kentucky Derby field, made his picks and constructed his bets. Click here to see them.

2023 Kentucky Derby predictions for Tapit Trice, Angel of Empire

One surprise: Demling is fading Tapit Trice, despite the Todd Pletcher-trained horse entering as one of the co-favorites. The Bluegrass Stakes winner drew the No. 5 post position for the 2023 Kentucky Derby, a spot which has produced 10 race winners. His jockey, Luis Saez, is accomplished, but he has yet to notch a win at Churchill Downs. Furthermore, while Pletcher is a Hall of Fame trainer, he has managed to win the Kentucky Derby just twice in 62 starts.

Tapit Trice has been victorious in his last four starts, but Demling is questioning how he will fare against an 18-horse field. "Tapit Trice still needs to show some improvement -- especially mentally -- in my mind to face a field this large," Demling told SportsLine. See who else to fade here.

Demling has also locked in his 2023 Kentucky Derby picks for Angel of Empire, one of the co-favorites. The son of Classic Empire -- a Grade I winner who finished fourth at the 2017 Kentucky Derby -- Angel of Empire enters Churchill Downs off two impressive prep races. He won the Risen Star Stakes in February and then the Arkansas Derby in April, defeating two fields which had multiple Kentucky Derby 2023 starters.

However, the horse's Beyer Speed Figure (94) is well below the other major contenders in Saturday's race. And while his connections in jockey Flavien Prat and trainer Cox, respectively, won the Kentucky Derby in 2019 and 2021, neither saw their horse cross the finish line first in either race and only elevated to first following disqualifications. But a win's a win, and the two are hoping that them uniting provides a less controversial victory than what each experienced before. See where Angel of Empire finishes here.

How to make 2023 Kentucky Derby picks, bets

Demling's top choice is huge underdog who "has a big shot to win." Anyone who backs this horse could hit it big. He's sharing which horses to back only at SportsLine.

Where do Tapit Trice, Angel of Empire and every other horse finish in the 2023 Kentucky Derby? And which enormous longshot is a must-back? Check out the Kentucky Derby odds 2023 below, then visit SportsLine to see Demling's picks for the Kentucky Derby, all from the expert who has nailed 10 Derby-Oaks doubles in the last 14 years.

2023 Kentucky Derby odds, horses, post draw

HorseOddsProgram #Projection
Tapit Trice9-25SEE PICKS
Angel of Empire9-214SEE PICKS
Derma Sotogake7-120SEE PICKS
Two Phil's 7-13SEE PICKS
Kingsbarn9-16SEE PICKS
Reincarnate13-17SEE PICKS
Verifying 16-12SEE PICKS
Mage17-18SEE PICKS
Confidence Game17-14SEE PICKS
Mandarin Hero21-122SEE PICKS
Disarm25-111SEE PICKS
Hit Show26-11SEE PICKS
Rocket Can27-118SEE PICKS
Raise Cain30-116SEE PICKS
Sun Thunder30-113SEE PICKS
Cyclone Mischief31-121SEE PICKS
Jace's Road32-112SEE PICKS
King Russell32-123SEE PICKS
Practical MoveSCRSCR
Lord MilesSCRSCR